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To: CORU, the regulatory body for Social Work in Ireland.

Reinstate ‘Human Rights’ into the CORU Social Work Code of Professional Conduct & Ethics

Reinstate ‘Human Rights’ into the CORU Social Work Code of Professional Conduct & Ethics. CORU is the regulatory body for Social Work in Ireland, to which all Social Workers in Ireland are required to be registered.

Why is this important?

In 2019 all references to 'Human Rights' were removed from CORU’s Code of Professional Conduct & Ethics for Social Work, the legally binding document which governs Social Work practice in Ireland, and which Social Workers must adhere to. No explanation has been provided by CORU for the removal of human rights from the code.

CORU’s previous 2011 Social Work Code contained six separate references to ‘Human Rights’, recognising its fundamental nature to the Social Work profession. The foreword to the 2011 Code noted: “Social Work is a profession based on principles of Human-Rights and Social Justice”.

In 2021 the membership of the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) voted overwhelmingly in favour of initiating a campaign to have the term Human Rights reinstated to the Code. This petition forms part of that campaign, please support us.

Advocating and upholding Human Rights and social justice is a core Social Work value. The International Federation of Social Workers’ (IFSW) 2014 Global Definition of Social Work states: "Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to Social Work".

The IFSW’s definition is a beacon to Social Work practitioners across the world, many of whom tenaciously hold onto the values embodied in this definition. This definition has been adopted globally, including by the IASW, and has been translated into 28 languages.

Human Rights feature centrally in the Codes of Ethics of Social Work organisations in countries across the world, including England, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Japan, and South Korea. The Australian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics refers to Human Rights thirteen times. Similarly, the British Association of Social Work (BASW) Code of Ethics for Social Work features Human Rights a total of twelve times in its 15-pages.

Removing the phrase ‘Human Rights’ from the Code effectively alters the narrative and meaning of Social Work, and has implications for how we, as Social Workers, both individually and collectively, understand, frame and practice our profession.

It is imperative that Human Rights is included within CORU’s Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Social Work in Ireland.

We call on CORU to reinstate all references to ‘Human Rights’ from the 2011 Code to the current Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Social Work.

For more information:



2022-03-29 19:46:52 +0100

500 signatures reached

2022-03-15 11:02:04 +0000

100 signatures reached

2022-03-15 08:50:59 +0000

50 signatures reached

2022-03-13 18:40:12 +0000

25 signatures reached

2022-03-11 19:24:54 +0000

10 signatures reached