Link Between Social Work and Human Rights

Topics: Human rights, United States, Ethics Pages: 2 (694 words) Published: December 22, 2012
Social work is linked to three approaches – Social needs, Social justice, and human rights. All three approaches are valuable in the social work field; it is impossible to purely focus on one approach in the profession. According to the NASW’s Code of Ethics, social work is a profession that is built on “the pursuit and maintenance of human well-being. Social work aims to maximize the development of human potential and the fulfillment of human needs” (NASW, 2008). The Code of Ethics goes on to state several key values. Two of these main values and principles of the social work profession are “human dignity and worth”; and “social justice”. Human dignity and worth means that a human being has an inborn right to respect and ethical treatment. Social justice involves the fulfillment of basic needs; fair access to services and benefits; and acknowledgment of individual and community rights. In order to fulfill these key ethical values of the social work profession, social workers are to follow and adhere to the human rights expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United States Bill of Rights. Human rights are a high priority justified claim of a basic level of decent treatment we can expect from society and our government; these rights belong to all strictly because we are human. Every human being—man or woman, rich or poor, adult or child, healthy or sick, educated or not—holds human rights; which is also referred as universality (Orend, 2002). Human rights are often categorized as first, second and third generations. First generation rights are civil and political rights. Examples of civil and political rights are: freedom of speech, the right to vote, freedom from discrimination, fair trial etc. Second generation rights are economic, social and cultural rights; for instance, housing, the right to health, education and social security. Third generation rights are collective rights, such as the right to self-determination,...
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