Putting Rights into Practice (Policy and Practice in Health and Social Care)
By Dr Sam Smith (C-Change Scotland CEO)
I have written a book: Human Rights and Social Care: Putting Rights into Practice (Policy and Practice in Health and Social Care), which was published last month.
The book draws inspiration from the following famous Eleanor Roosevelt quote.
Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood (s)he lives in; the school or college (s)he attends; the factory, farm, or office where (s)he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger ).
I have taken the audacious liberty of slightly amending the quote (in brackets) to address the gender-specific nature of the original statement. The book aims to act as a counter balance to the notion of human rights, and human rights law, as the preserve of lawyers, court rooms and judges. This is not to say that the legal profession and the court of law are not important in the realisation of human rights. They are, and careful attention has been paid in each chapter to significant case law that has contributed to the development of human rights jurisprudence.
The focus of the book is, however, on the universality of human rights and the role of the citizen in manifesting and bringing these rights to life, in the living breathing reality of our day-to-day lives. Its aim is to contribute to a growing understanding of the power and potential of human rights in the many different roles citizens fulfil daily, as family members, as colleagues, as those in receipt of additional support and as professionals working in the field of social care. Human rights are, if understood, owned and exercised, a set of shared values and aspirations that form a common lexicon of oneness in our humanity, that transcends age, gender, race, religion, disability and sexual orientation. In that, they can be the source of great inspiration, power and solidarity and act as a catalyst for meaningful progressive social change.
A formal launch of the book is planned for late August and I will talk more about this as we near the date.
Human Rights and Social Care: Putting Rights into Practice (Policy and Practice in Health and Social Care) is available now via amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Human-Rights-Social-Care-Practice/dp/1780460678
 Excerpt from a speech at the presentation of ‘In Your Hands: A Guide for Community Action for the Tenth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, Thursday, 27 March 1958, United Nations, New York. As head of the Human Rights Commission, she was instrumental in formulating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which she submitted to the UN General Assembly with these words: ‘We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere.’