International Human Rights Day 2016

The central theme of the 2016 International Human Right Day calls for people to 'Stand Up for Someone’s Rights Today', a reminder of the human rights’ violations that are happening right now over the globe.

News - December 10: International Human Rights Day: Psychologists play important role

EFPA urges all psychologists and their associations, to join the United Nations and to stand up for Human Rights!  Psychologists can be the mediators between human rights, persons and policy makers in order for people to be able to enjoy their fundamental rights.

The central theme of the 2016 International Human Right Day calls for people to “Stand Up for Someone’s Rights Today”, a reminder of the human rights’ violations that are happening right now over the globe. The message, however, is not enough.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, states: “It’s time for each of us to step up for human rights. There is no action that is too small: wherever you are, you can make a difference. Together, let’s take a stand for more humanity.”

Psychologists and their associations can make a real difference for humanity. By knowledge, experience and skills, psychologists have an obligation to assist in protecting people from discrimination, hate speech and exclusion. They can and should encourage them to re-find their identity and dignity, to enhance their resilience and to find their place in our societies. 

More concretely, as non-state actors, psychologists and their associations should:

  • stand up for human rights and speak out when those rights are under threat to be violated;
  • give special attention to vulnerable groups like children;
  • make absolutely clear to their clients (if needed by interpreters) that privacy is a fundamental right and that psychologists are bound to this;
  • help make policies to connect people instead of dividing them; 
  • stand up against discrimination in words as well as in deeds, institutional as well on a daily base.

It starts with each of us. Step forward and defend the rights of a refugee or migrant, a person with disabilities, a LGBT person, a woman, a child, indigenous peoples, a minority group, or anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence. We psychologists need to make a commitment to defend human rights values, engage more actively in societal life, and promote the ratification and implementation of the various EU treaties on human rights. Together, we can take a stand for more humanity. The time for this is now.

For more information consult the website of the EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology:  

For research data on human rights violations and promoting evidence based approaches to improving social cohesion consult the website of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency