Monday, April 22, 2013

3rd Ensact Conference in Istanbul-Reflection by Cristina Martins, President of IFSW Europe

Dear Colleagues,
Dear Friends,

I can not find enough words to express how much thankfull I feel to the Turkish Association of Social Workers for the wonderful way they have hosted us all during this conference.

We are all here in the 3rd Ensact Conference united for Social Action in Europe and together embrassing the aims of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development fighting specifically this year against economical inequalities therefore Promoting Social and Economical Equalities!

IFSW Europe is well aware and very concerned about the austerity measures that are affecting the social work practice in many European countries.

For example social work associations from countries like Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Italy and Ireland met recently with the European Commissionaire of Social Affairs to present a statement against austerity measures that are affecting social services across Europe.

IFSW Europe promotes human rights and social justice through meetings, symposiums and that has happened during this Conference with the IFSW Europe Symposium on  “Human Rights- Theory and Practice for Social Workers. The Symposium gave an excellent opportunity to discuss the possibilities of building a network in Human Rights in the European Region.

There were theoretical contributions about the framework and complaints mechanism of human rights. Other contributions showed the several realities in different countries practicing and projects in view of human rights realization.

I would like to highlight the experience from the Spanish Association of Social Workers defending the public and qualified system of social services in Spain. They showed in an impressive way how the campaign “Orange Tide” is fighting for the social rights of all citizens.

Today I am also wearing an orange shirt and I invite all social workers in Europe to join me in this campaign against austerity measures. We strongly believe that austerity measures can never be a solution for solving the economical crisis in Europe and cutting services can only contribute for a much higher economical inequality, so I invite you all to join IFSW Europe raising your voices against social injustice and cuts in social services.

As Social Workers we have a lot of knowledge and contribution to help politicians making the best decisions in finding better ways of dealing with the economical crisis without affecting the rights of citizens.

IFSW Europe is supporting this kind of initiatives. Social workers have a responsibility to promote social justice, in relation to society generally and in relation to the people with whom they work. Human rights are inseparable from social work theory, values, ethics and practice. Advocacy of such rights must therefore be an integral part of social work.

It’s time to come out, been seen and been heard.
It’s time to react and intervene.
Thank you for your attention.

Cristina Martins
President of IFSW Europe

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