Human Rights / Health

Social work experts: The fight against anti-LGBTI discrimination is our responsibility!

Monday, January 19, 2015
Social Workers Association: “We are deeply concerned that we lack a social policy aimed at fighting anti-LGBTI discrimination.”
Istanbul Pride, 2014. Photo credit: Aktivist Kamera
The Social Workers Association Headquarters has issued a written statement following Eylul Cansın’s suicide, explaining that they are deeply troubled by the lack of a social policy concerning the fight against anti-LGBTI discrimination in Turkey.
The highlights of the text — the Association’s first statement concerning the social rights of LGBTI persons — are as follows:
“The fight against discrimination is our professional responsibility”
“In order that LGBTI individuals may receive all the psychosocial support services they need, we look forward to them seeking assistance from social workers, who serve at most public institutions, particularly the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Health; as well as from the Social Workers Association.
“As people know, the social work profession is a profession based on human rights and social justice. [We are] aware that within this context, we have a responsibility, as a necessity of human rights, to fight against every kind of discrimination that prevents a person from being treated like a human being, particularly with respect to race, ethnic and national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political viewpoint, religious belief, and psychological or physical disability:
“We are open to every kind of collaborative effort”
“We are deeply concerned by our country’s lack of social policy aimed at fighting LGBTI discrimination, which is becoming a more widely discussed issue on account of the suicide of a trans individual, something that we know has not happened for the first time in our country, but in recent days it has become the focus of superficial media attention. We remind everyone that it is a public duty to produce social policy based on human rights for all and we demand law-makers and their executors that they create social policies aimed at preventing anti-LGBTI discrimination and at removing all barriers that prevent LGBTI persons from living in society in accordance with their sexual orientations. So that our demand may be realized, we wish to share with both public institutions and non-governmental organizations that, in addition to the work we have previously supported, we will, as a professional association, carry out professional work, particularly work on a societal level, and training programs aimed at increasing the capacity of members of the profession to provide support to LGBTI individuals; we wish to share that we are open to every kind of collaborative effort.
“We wish to state that despite the fact that, for lack of a policy, the public services that will be given to them are limited, our LGBTI fellow citizens may have recourse to the social workers who serve at most public institutions, in particular the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Health, as well as to our association; and that for the protection and development of their rights, social workers will be able to provide assistance within the framework of their professional responsibility, so that our LGBTI citizens can obtain all the psychosocial support services they need, until a model is developed that aims at preventing LGBTI individuals from being subject to discrimination.”
Translation: LGBTI News Turkey 
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