The Role of Human Rights in Social Work: Vorträge
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The Role of Human Rights in Social Work: Vorträge

Im Rahmen der International Talks im Wintersemester 2021/22 unter dem Titel „Human Rights – Interdisciplinary perspectives and challenges“ war jetzt die EvH Gastgeberin. Das Thema der Veranstaltung lautete: „The Role of Human Rights in Social Work and the Global Social Work Ethics“ mit Ass. Prof. Dr. Luqman Saleh Karim (Kurdish Region of Iraq) und Prof. Dr. Kristin Sonnenberg (EvH Bochum).

Human Rights lie at the heart of social work
The third topic in the series International Talks “The Role of Human Rights in Social Work and the Global Social Work Ethic” was presented by Prof. Dr. Kristin Sonnenberg (EvH Bochum, Germany) and Ass. Prof. Dr. Luqman Saleh Karim (UoS, Kurdish Region of Iraq), around 50 participants from Kosova, Germany and KRI joined.

Within the International Dialogue on Human Rights, there is a need to focus on human rights as a universal value in social work and to analyze how it affects so called developing and developed countries from the Global South and the Global North. By discussing similarities and differences, the light was shed on professional ethics and its reflection on policies and legislation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), as well as the role of social work in promoting ethical principles and ethical challenges for social workers in practice and the workplace in the KRI and Germany.

Why human rights matter for social workers
Prof. Dr. Kristin Sonnenberg states that social workers in their role as advocates or mediators between different interests are “defenders” of human rights. Social workers are experts in fair and just decision-making. They need to address inequalities and support the realization of human dignity, social rights and the empowerment of persons during their work. A major focus of social work is to advocate for the rights of people on all levels, and to facilitate outcomes where people take responsibility for each other’s wellbeing, realize and respect the inter-dependence among people and between people and the environment.

Human Rights and Human Dignity are of high relevance in all countries all over the world, even if the concrete topics might vary. A broad exchange about implications of this rights-based approach in professional practice and a situated ethics of social justice, as Sarah Banks suggests, have to be continuously reflected within social work in interdisciplinary teams. A transnational perspective can help to see understand the broad contexts of global social problems and their impact at local levels.

Every year in March, there is the World Social Work Day. It is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to advance a common message globally. This year it highlights Ubuntu: I am Because We Are. It aims at Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness. This is the first theme of the recent Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development (2020 to 2030). It is a concept and philosophy that resonates with the social work perspective of the interconnectedness of all peoples and their environments. It speaks to the need for global solidarity and also highlights indigenous knowledge and wisdom.

Social Work and Human Rights in Germany
Students learn about Human Rights during their BA Studies of Social Work, for example due to modules of ethics, law, professional action, supervision and politics. A specialization on Human Rights can be gained in post graduate Master programs, that are offered for instance in Berlin: "Social Work as a Human Rights Profession" (MA-SWHR).

To show actual discussions on Human Rights Prof. Sonnenberg had chosen a governmental and non-governmental perspective: On governmental level the German Institute for Human Rights, Reported in 2020 reported and recommended among others: Young Persons with Disabilities have to be recognised in vocational training rather than following “Special Paths”. That means, that Germany should change the system of vocational training with the existing two parallel systems, that are highly exclusive for these receiving special educational support and instead offer one inclusive regular training system for all trainees. Now less than ten percent of the 50.000 school leavers begin in-company training.

A second perspective is the non-governmental one, from the Human Rights Watch, the 2021 Report names for example: Discrimination and intolerance: Racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, including violent hate crime, remain a problem. Women’s Rights: In April, the government-supported national helpline for violence against women documented a 20 percent increase in requests for consultation related to domestic violence. This increase persisted in subsequent months, according to the helpline. This is also labeled as “Gender Based Violence” (Amnesty International).

Barriers from Birth
Ass. Prof. Dr. Luqman Saleh Karim gave an insight to political and demographic aspects in KRI. He drew attention to women and men in honour related conflicts and the problem of undocumented children in KRI. The report ‘Barriers from Birth’ found that children born under IS rule were issued birth certificates by the group that are considered invalid in the eyes of the Iraqi government. Others lost their documentation as they fled. Without a valid birth certificate, one health official reported that newborns are unable to receive vaccinations in some areas, raising fears of new diseases. Children’s enrolment in Iraqi schools also requires ID. Sitting exams or obtaining graduation certificates is often not allowed without civil documentation. As they reach adulthood, these children risk being denied state recognized marriages, owning property or even being formally employed.

Social Work and Human Rights in KRI
With respect to Human Rights in Social Work in Kurdistan, these topics are integrated at lecture level. Ass. Dr. Luqman Saleh Karim as a researcher, conducts many research’s, with regard the situation of IDPs, Refugees and host communities, in terms of legal services and access to attorney, service map and referral pathway. Conducting evaluation on organization program impacts on displaced people and their human right. Conducting many researches on child marriage and honour killing in KRI.

Examples for Humanitarian setting and human right in Iraq and KRI are excessive force against protesters; justice for worst ISIS Abuses; arbitrary detention; fair trial violations. Torture and Other Forms of Ill-Treatment. Collective Punishment. Women’s Rights, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Morality Laws; Death Penalty, according to global and local reports of human rights and showing some statistical facts with regard human right violation.

At the end, he took a look at the Iraq national strategy of human rights 2021-2025, and asked, if this is time for hope, or time for despair. A tool implemented is the training manual on human rights from 2017. This guide provide training materials and education can help trainers, activist and advocators on the human right fields in Iraq in order to prepare special programs to protect vulnerable peoples, and it can be used for university. The manual is focusing on the below points: Complain submission mechanism, minority rights training, gender rights and marginalized groups and monitoring and documenting human rights. In addition there are seven aims within the national plan of human right plan. Its realization will be observed.

The next International Talk:
13.12.2021; 5-6.30 pm CET: Every child has a right to religion: Religious education as human rights perspectives from Kosovo and Germany (Prof. Dr. Hamiti, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Kosova; Prof. Dr. Katja Baur, EH Ludwigsburg#) - registration via: