EFPA’s role regarding ‘Human Rights’ 


Considering the ongoing threat to human rights in the world, the EC proposes that EFPA more strongly articulates psychologists’ responsibilities and develops a policy for counteracting human rights violations based on the following points:

1. Human rights are of crucial importance to everyone in the world, psychologists included.

2. EFPA, like any professional organization, shall do what is within its scope and capabilities to:

  • raise awareness of human rights and (risks of) human rights violations
  • prevent human rights violations
  • alleviate the effects of human rights violations

3. EFPA intends to develop a policy that will enable it to take action to pursue these aims based on the unique expertise and competence of psychology. This policy shall concentrate on what psychology can add to what other social actors bring to bear.
4. The policy shall inspire to actions including, but not limited to:
  • collecting and publishing evidence, and issuing statements that draw attention to the psychological dimensions of human rights violations – at the side of victims as well as that of perpetrators and social systems;
  • collecting and publishing information about the incidence of human rights violations in which psychological aspects are manifest; and issuing recommendations and guidelines for signaling the risk and occurrence of such violations;
  • stimulating research into the impacts of human rights violations and the way in which they can be prevented, contained, remedied and repaired;
  • educating psychologists about human rights, their possible implication in human rights violations, and their professional responsibilities; articulating human rights aspects in the ethical codes of Member Associations; and informing the public about this;
  • helping psychologists to obtain the professional knowledge and tools needed to assist victims of human rights violations in obtaining remedy and reparation;
  • issuing recommendations and guidelines for preventing human rights violations at an institutional or societal level (e.g. “institutionalization”, intolerance, interrogation, torture, etc.) with due attention for potential groups of victims (such as children, patients, detainees etc.) and perpetrators;
  • supporting psychologists who in the capacity of health professionals or human right defenders are exposed to injustice, risk, or violations of their own human rights.


The EC recommends that:

- a Task Force Human Rights and Psychology be established that will develop proposals regarding the activities that EFPA may develop to raise awareness of human rights and (risks of) human rights violations, prevent human rights violations, and alleviate the effects of human rights violations, considering the observations in the document ‘EFPA’s role regarding Human Rights’ 2013

- the Task Force operate according to the terms of reference for EFPA Task Forces;

- the Task Force liaise with the Board of Ethics and the Standing Committee on Crisis and Disaster (Victims of Terrorism);

- the Task Force submit its first working plan (2014) to the EC for by December 1 of 2013


The working plan contains:

1) drafting a proposal for EFPA’s policy and action in the area of Human Rights, to be presented at the General Assembly 2015;

2) developing a view as to how Human Rights can best be anchored in EFPA, with involvement of all Boards, Standing Committees and Task Forces;

3) exploring possibilities for cooperation with European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), and the Regional Representative for Europe of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.