How Social Workers Preserve Equality, Justice and Human Dignity?

On December 10 every year, Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the international human rights day. The recognition was consolidated in the United Declaration of human rights by the general assembly of the United Nations. In brief it was asserted “recognition of inherent dignity and of the equal inalienable rights of all members of the human family is a foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.

This year’s theme is; “Lets Stand for Equality, Justice and Human Rights”

The universal declaration of human rights empowers us all and the principles in the declaration are still as relevant today as in 1948. We therefore need to stand up for our own equality, justice and dignity and those of others and action should be taken to uphold them.

Despite the agreements in the 1948 declaration, there is violation of human rights everyday against millions of people in the world. In Uganda police and the army are ranked first as one of the governmental organizations that violate human rights through illegal arrests, torture of prisoners, abduction and many others.

Human rights are condensed into two words, the struggle for human dignity and fundamental freedoms which allow human development.

In order for social workers to preserve equality, justice and human dignity there should be adherence to social work values and principles which include the following;

• Every human individual has a unique value which justifies moral consideration for that person.
• The right to self fulfillment to the extent that it doesn’t encroach upon the same right of others and has an obligation to contribute to the wellbeing of the society.
• A commitment to the principle of social justice, every person has a right to protection and to equal protection under the law, where the laws have been violated every person has a right to fair trial and objective judicial authority and those convicted are entitled to human treatment whose purpose is to secure reform and social re-adoption of the person.
• Social workers should pay regard to principles of privacy, confidentiality and responsible use of information in their professional work. N.B There is need for confidentiality even when the country’s legislation is against it.

• Social workers are expected to provide the best possible assistance without unfair discrimination on the basis of Gender, color, language, sexual orientation, status or social class.
• Social workers are expected to work with their clients, working for the best interests of the clients but paying due regard to the interests of others involved. Clients are also encouraged to participate as much as possible and should be informed about the risks or benefits of a particular course of action they are taking.
• Social workers have to let clients generally take responsibility of determining courses of actions of the problems affecting their lives.
• Social workers should preserve integrity as a core principle by making ethically justified decisions and stand by them and also paying due regard to the ethics of social work principles and standards.

It should be noted therefore, as the rest of the world is standing up for Equality, Justice and Human dignity the principles of social workers in carrying out their responsibility to help people with social problems, place a special responsibility on the social work profession to help advance human rights in areas where they are violated and all social workers should embrace them.

By Aidah Nanyongo
NASWU Program Intern

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