Human Rights and Autonomy
Human dignity and worth are important values for social workers, and these values are enshrined in many social work codes of ethics around the world. This often translates into discussions about human rights and service user self-determination, otherwise referred to as autonomy. Human rights have become a significant part of the global landscape. Given the fact that people live in plural societies, we need better ways to account for issues of rights, autonomy, difference and diversity with respect to equality and social justice. This chapter explores human rights and social work and considers the role that social work can take in relation to the potentials and limits of human rights instruments and agreements. Second, the chapter explores a related concept—autonomy—from liberal, Kantian and feminist perspectives. The centrality of autonomy as a socially and politically constituted phenomena is examined in relation to implications for social justice and human rights.
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