Psychologists for Human Rights
Keywords:human rights, psychology, psychological associations, education, trauma, climate change
AbstractRecently an increased interest among psychologists in the topic of human rights can be observed. We aim to raise awareness about the contribution psychologists can have in protection of human rights with the goal of supporting psychological well-being of individuals as well as of communities. So in this article we review the roots of human rights-based psychology in social psychology and applied fields of psychology, examine how psychological associations tackle human rights and present some examples of intersection of psychology and human rights in practice. The role psychologists have can be pursued at the individual level, in everyday implementation of psychological knowledge and skills, and more globally. Professional bodies of psychologists can have a stronger voice in society while advocating for human rights from the psychological perspective while also supporting their members in the promotion of human rights. In recent years more initiatives can be seen among psychological associations in their recognition of their role in upholding human rights. We describe the results of a survey that explored to what extent psychological associations addressed human rights in their work. The sample comprised 31 psychological associations from 29 countries worldwide. Most of them replied that they had undertaken activities related to human rights and mentioned human rights in their Codes of Ethics. Five of them have established a human rights section/committee/group. About half of the associations stated that they had some mechanisms for reporting about human rights violations within organisation, although fewer have developed procedures that relate to human rights reporting organisations in their countries. Further, human rights education for psychologists is tackled in the paper as the crucial step in linking the theory and practice. Finally, two areas of work are discussed, in which psychologists can address human rights: trauma and the climate and environmental crisis.