Creating a Human Rights Culture

Website for Dr. Joseph Wronka

Professor of Social Work, Springfield College, Massachusetts USA
Representative to the United Nations in Geneva for the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)
Fulbright Scholar in Social Justice, Poverty, and Human Rights

In democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not its taste, but its effect...  - Former U.S. Senator William J. Fulbright

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Examples of Students' Works

Here is an excellent student project which looked at an Advanced Generalist Approach from a human rights/social justice perspective to tackle the problem of Violence Against Women.  They also developed an excellent PowerPoint presentation which addressed substantive points in their social action project. This social action project followed the guidelines in my curriculum for a course called Policy Implementation: Social Action in the Struggle for Human Dignity.
        Also, students in a social action class have worked on a
project for the United States of America to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  Presently, the USA is the only country in the world that has not ratified that document (apart from Somalia, which does not appear to have the governmental capacity to do so).  Reasons are varied, but generally, a major argument is that the US feels that the family, rather than government has the duty to provide for children's needs and well-being.  The US also has also not officially adopted the notion, substantively accepted in international human rights law and policy making that rights are interdependent and indivisible as stated in the Definition and Relevance  page of this website.  Presently, we are very fortunate to have a President, Barack Obama, who said that is shameful that the US has not ratified that document.  In that spirit, the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, strongly endorses ratification.  it appears then that the time is ripe for ratification.

 As Permanent Representative to the Human Rights Council for IASSW, I gave the US representatives before the Human Rights Council in March of this year, 2012 on March 16th, International Social Work Day (that is, the third Thursday in March) a booklet, which summarizes and makes a persuasive argument why the US should ratify the CRC.  There was a push to have the US ratify that document on November 20th, 2012, Children's Rights Day.  However, that time came and went.  But we can still try. We hope that anyone reading this document will join in our struggle.  Unfortunately, more than one year later in May 2013, the only thing I received back from the US government was a form letter which said in essence that the US government was thankful for me and my students' following Dr. Susan Rice's work at the United Nations.

The link to my students work is on Facebook.  They have called their group: The Student Coalition for Children's Rights (SCCR):

Here is their Social Action Project that is a Booklet Urging Ratification of the Rights of the Child.  I hope you will take a look at it.  Better yet, I hope you will continue to  engage in coalition building to persuade our legislators to ratify that important document so that its values become integrated into our educational system and governmental bodies.