World’s social workers gather in Panama

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By LatAm Reports Editor

The event will discuss issues such as poverty and inequality, domestic violence, gender-based violence and the eradication of child labour.

The Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development has been taking place since Thursday in Panama, making the country a bridge of proposals to begin the construction of a fairer, more equitable and inclusive society in all stages of life. 

The president of the Association of Social Workers of Panama, Kenya Batista, gave welcome words during the inauguration of the activity to be held until April 7, under the motto: Respecting diversity through collective actions.”

This conference has been held worldwide since 1928 and is the second time it has been held in Latin America, so it is a wealth at the level of the region in academic fields, experiences and an important economic injection for Panama, as host country.

The specialist pointed out during the inauguration programme that the world congress will serve to renew efforts and talents with clear objectives that will move towards the protection of vulnerable populations to which development and civilization have turned their backs on them.

During the event, a variety of topics will be addressed by thousands of specialists in Social Work and other disciplines in the social sciences, including migration, poverty and inequality, domestic violence, gender-based violence, eradication of child labour, social impact of climate change, democracy, human rights and social justice.

Batista during his speech, he acknowledged that the topics to be analyzed show that there is a debt to global society, since they are recurring problems that destroy lives and drive away hope from a more just world that respects human rights.

“Precisely our country, experiences one of the most dramatic situations in the concept of human rights on its border with the sister Republic of Colombia, in the province of Darién,” he said.

He recalled that tens of thousands of migrants from various countries defy the dangers of a fierce jungle that has claimed the lives of human beings who, in the face of the economic and social crisis of their countries, are launching into an adventure, dreaming of a better future for their families, often frustrated by the criminal organizations that profit from these people, committing abominable and perverse crimes.

He stressed that this picture, which is sometimes dantesque, makes it clear that not only in the American continent, poverty, hunger and lack of opportunities are fighting human beings; the same is true in Europe where migration denotes a lack of responses to great social needs.

“These humanitarian crises are present around the world; Haiti, Congo, Palestine and many other places where capitalism is imposed on human life and crushes; something totally inexplicable in the 21st century,” he explained.

The expert in social work said that it is time to come to action, to propose profound changes in public policies that aim at human dignity, to reverse hunger, marginalization and unemployment, with opportunities that empower populations to move towards integral development, in which education, access to health, decent housing and decent work is the common denominator and not the privilege for specific sectors of society.

“The challenges are colossal, however, in these four days of work we will leave the leading and transformative role held by social workers in a social dynamic that requires a profound transformation that generates social peace in the world,” he said.

Batista pledged with all the social workers in the world to continue in this unwavering struggle for the defense of human rights and the diversity that is proper to all human beings who interact on this earth. 

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Panama America