Newsletter April 2020

EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology Newsletter

Year 4 Edition 4 – April 2020

The 4th edition of the 2020 Newsletter of the EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology, is also mainly dedicated to Human rights in a time of Covid-19

Human rights in a time of Corona 

In this time of Corona, fundamental rights are under pressure. In the 3d edition of this Newsletter, Dr.  Sveaass explains in Basic human rights in situations of emergency, the threat to human rights and the conditions under which some rights may temporarily be set aside. She also warns to take care of the rights of vulnerable people. 

The Covid-19 disaster affects all of us, but in different ways. For instance, vulnerable people experience more adverse effects. Just one example: we do not know the influence of a long-lasting lack of physical affection specifically on elderly people. The need to be touched, a hunger for tactile stimulation, has been well described in the research on children in foster homes, little is known how elderly people in institutional care cope with their isolation. 

The pandemic places special demands on the profession of psychology. Next to hygienic prescriptions on consultations with clients and the privacy issue of online therapy, the current crisis stimulates to reflect on the impact on (mental) health and wellbeing, now and in the future; even so on more systemic issues in policies and politics. Is the choice between economy and health care, as some politicians want us to believe, a real choice or is it possible to organise society in such a way that we never ever have to choose between the two? According to Amartya Sen, it is not the GNP of a nation that determines its wealth, but whether health care and education are available to ALL. As we add to these two, concern about climate, how can psychology –after COVID-19- contribute to quality of life and enhance dignity, inclusion, and equity?

Michael Sandel and Ross Douhat provide some interesting thoughts:


APA launches on Wednesday April 29, a campaign #EquityFlattensTheCurve at 1.00 PM EST. The goals are:

  • Connecting the voices of health equity advocates and professionals to educate policymakers and leaders regarding equity-enhancing practices and policies;
  • Promoting social cohesion, inclusion, and equity as necessary to help mitigate the virus’ spread; and,
  • Promoting policies and practices that reduce inequity and address public health needs of diverse populations over short- and long-term.

 Covid-19 international

António Guterres said heightened solidarity is needed if the world is to defeat the crisis, which he called the "gravest test since the founding of this Organization", with Governments already struggling to address rising unemployment and economic downturn.

"But the pandemic also poses a significant threat to the maintenance of international peace and security -- potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease", he warned, later stating that the Council’s engagement will be critical to mitigate these implications.

 Covid-19 and climate


Everything that makes the current corona crisis so tricky in terms of health and constitutional policy seems to come together in the topic of freedom of assembly. If everyone has to stay at home, if the concentrated physical presence of bodies in the public space is exactly what must not happen – what remains of that fundamental right? Well, nothing, is the answer of not a small part of the security apparatus in most countries: in the crisis we all have to stand together by not standing together. Not even in protest. Not even to protest against the ban on standing together. (Verfassungsblog, 21-04-2020)

  •  SAR: Educating for Academic Freedom in Turbulent Times
  • Kamila Hyat (The News): Covid-19 and conspiracy. At our present moment in history, more lies are possibly being told than at any other time outside a period of major war.
    Protect human rights and public health in fighting COVID-19. The FRA report Coronavirus pandemic in the EU: fundamental rights implications looks at the measures EU Member States use to address the pandemic to highlight rights-respectful approaches that other Member States can learn from. It focuses on four issues: Daily life - Vulnerable groups - Racism – Disinformation and Data Protection.
  • IASC, WHO: COVID-19: Focus on persons deprived of their liberty, March 2020
  • IASC (Inter-Agency Standing Committee): My hero is you. How kids can fight Covid-19
  • OHCHR: Advice of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture to States Parties and National Preventive Mechanisms relating to the Coronavirus Pandemic (adopted on 25thMarch 2020)
  • Hong Kong Free Press: If we learn anything from the virus outbreak, it should be the importance of free speech
  • Advice of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture to States Parties and National Preventive Mechanisms relating to the Coronavirus Pandemic (adopted on 25th March 2020).
    What is clear is that it is already having a profound effect on all members of society and will continue to do so for a considerable time to come. The SPT and NPMs must be conscious of the ‘do no harm’ principle as they undertake their work. This may mean that NPMs should adapt their working methods to meet the situation caused by the pandemic in order to safeguard the public, detention staff, detainees and themselves. The overriding criterion must be that of effectiveness in securing the prevention of ill-treatment of those subject to detaining measures.
  • Benjamin Novak and Patrick Kingsley, NY Times: Hungary’s Leader Grabbed Powers to Fight the Virus. Some Fear Other Motives. Veil of Silence. Many doctors are now reluctant to speak out publicly about specific problems, individual hospitals have been barred from releasing information, and journalists are warier of publishing it.
  • Dispatch live: Apartheid jail time has helped me cope with lockdown, says Saths Cooper
  • Corona Virus Monitor: The poor have a more resilient psychological make-up to deal with Covid-19. Saths Cooper. “The gaps between the haves and have-nots will continue. But the have-nots have greater psychological strength because the deprivation of things taken for granted will impact the haves more than ever before in society.”

Vulnerable groups



Domestic violence


Disability rights




Covid10 and wealth disparities

  • Rich Europeans Flee Virus for 2nd Homes, Spreading Fear and Fury. Unlike the second-home-owning class, many Europeans face the likelihood of spending weeks in quarantine in cramped spaces. Some have been laid off while others must continue to work, sometimes with limited protection, in low-paying jobs like supermarket cashier or delivery that require contact with people. ‘The ever widening gap between the rich and the poor.”


Actions and initiatives:

  • Share your suggestions, thoughts, articles and good initiatives!


EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology

  • Meeting of the EFPA BHR&Psy: 15 May online.
  • Human rights education for psychologists. Editors: Polli Hagenaars, Marlena Plavsic, Nora Sveaass, Uli Wagner, Tony Wainwright. See and order  


75 years of liberation of Auschwitz

              In this uncertain time, one of the many challenges facing teachers around the world is the question of how to continue teaching their classes remotely. This collection of educational resources, spanning the range from audio-visual testimony, searchable encyclopedias, and themed lessons, may help.

  • Five additional resources focusing specifically on this topic can be found here: Five resources for teaching and learning about the Roma Genocide.
  • The Holocaust Explained is a website created by The Wiener Library  which aims to answer common questions in an accessible, reliable and engaging way. The content has been designed for learners from the age of 13 to 18, and is organized across nine clearly defined topic areas.
  • EHRI Online Course on Holocaust Studies This online course in Holocaust Studies, created by the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, is open to anyone who would like to learn more about the Holocaust. The course specifically aims to provide teachers, lecturers and students with source material and background information in order to give them an overview of recent trends in the historiography
  • What Were the Origins of the Holocaust?
    1880-1945 by Gotz Aly, translated by Jefferson Chase, Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company.
  • The Lost Diaries of War, by Nina Siegal and Josephine Sedgwick. Volunteers are helping forgotten Dutch diarists of WWII to speak at last. Their voices, filled with anxiety, isolation and uncertainty, resonate powerfully today.



  • weeklies 30 March - 4 May (doc 2)


UN News / WHO


Scholars at Risk (SAR) / NCH

  • Academic media review March 27 - April 02 (doc 3)
  • AMR April 10-17 (doc 4)
  • SAR: Educating for Academic Freedom in Turbulent Times ttps://


Rights of Indigenous peoples


Climate and migration


Press, articles, books

 A Spanish court on Friday partially accepted Google's appeal against a ruling ordering it to erase news articles about a psychologist accused of sexual abuse, but said the search engine must show stories about his acquittal first.


Conferences, Education, Grants, and Events

  • WEBINAR - Birth registration and the prevention of statelessness in Europe; Thursday 7 May (11.00 - 12.00 CET) Register your place for a free webinar organised by the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) in collaboration with the European Parliament Intergroup on Children's Rights
  • Academic freedom is a fundamental value in modern higher education and research (MOOC). On this course, you’ll find out how we can use academic freedom to ask critical questions and contribute to a democratic society. You’ll explore the importance of free and open research, and how it relates to core higher education and societal values. Dangerous Questions: Why Academic Freedom Matters
  • Call for Applications: Eight AiE (Academy in Exile) Fellowships at Freie Universität Berlin. Find the complete call here.
  • 32nd International Congress of Psychology (ICP2020), Prague, Czech Republic. Postponed to 2021.
  • IACCP2020. Postponed to 2021. 25th International Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. Olomouc/ Czech Republic.
  • CRCP2020, November 16-20 2020, Caribbean Resilience: Psychology’s Response to Historical and Contemporary Disasters, saint Croix, US Virgin Islands.
  • CCAP 13-17 December 2020 Cancun
  • International Council of Psychologists 78th annual conference. Human rights, dignity and justice: Intersectionality and Diversity. ICP2020 will be held online through an interactive virtual conference platform. December 10, Evening – Welcome Event; December 11- 12 – Scientific Program, Breakout Chat Rooms, Poster Sessions, Discussions
  • EUPHA 16th World Congress on Public Health, 12 – 17 October 2020, Rome,