The social work profession must make its voice heard and take a
stand against the war in Iraq, the annual meeting of the British
Association of Social Workers was told, writes Janet
Ruth Stark, BASW professional officer for Scotland, said social
care professionals in this country should make their views heard
via the International Federation of Social Workers, which has close
links with the United Nations. BASW is one of its largest member
“We need to be saying very firmly that we are committed to
promoting the human rights of the people currently undergoing some
horrendous experiences as a result of this war,” she told
BASW members at the Cardiff International Arena.
“It’s important to focus on what happens afterwards
and ensure reconstruction is done in the spirit of working with the
Iraqi people, and not dominated by the US or UK
BASW director Ian Johnston added that he felt deeply depressed
and frustrated over the current turn of events. “Words almost
fail me over what to say about Iraq. I’m very sad that
we’re associated with what’s happening there…. people
seem to be suffering in a way that’s avoidable.”
He urged the meeting to support a resolution expressing profound
sadness over the war and calling on the UK and US governments
“to realise that healthy communities can only be developed by
involvement of a committed public and supportive international
community,and that the reconstruction of Iraq is best pursued under
the aegis of the UN.”
The motion was agreed unanimously.
David Jones, the European vice-president of the IFSW, which
represents 450,000 social workers across 78 countries, said the
organisation has taken a strong stance against the war and would be
lobbying to ensure that social work principles informed the
reconstruction of Iraq.
The IFSW is one of more than 90 non-governmental organisations
to sign a declaration condemning what they call “the illegal
invasion” of Iraq by the USA and the UK and expressing
concern that resources desperately needed to fight poverty are
being diverted to the war effort.
The federation argues that social workers should be at the
forefront of the anti-war movement as they are among the
professionals who see at first hand the effects of war on the most
vulnerable as well as the link between war and poverty.
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to vote on whether you think organisations such as BASW and the
Association of Directors of Social Services should voice the
sector’s opposition to the war in Iraq.