Bulletin – January 2021

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Forward

Welcome to the January 2021 issue of the GNPHR Bulletin. The Bulletin is the official news outlet of the GNPHR, and is posted  once a month with news about human rights issues, activities and events around the world.

In this issue we begin a new section in the Bulletin – “opportunities for action”. This section has two parts – reports on psychologists whose human rights have been violated, and reports on human rights issues on which psychologists are taking action.

We encourage readers to see this Bulletin as your voice – please contribute with articles and news; and please send information about issues or events in your region of the world for listing under “International and Regional News”

Highlights

Human Rights Day, December 10: Max Richter’s Voices was broadcast in 36 countries. https://www.maxrichtermusic.com/albums/voices/ 

Description on the Voices Website: “VOICES is 56 minutes of orchestral, choral and electronic music with solo performances on the piano and violin as well as soprano singers. The orchestra is a radically reimagined ensemble called a “negative orchestra”. As the world has been turned upside down, so have the proportions of this orchestra. It is nearly all basses and cellos. In addition to readings by a narrator, hundreds of readings of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights in dozens of languages have been sourced from all over the world. These readings are the aural landscape that this music flows through: they are the VOICES of the title.

The opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in 1948, are “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” These inspiring words are a guiding principle for the whole declaration but, looking around at the world we have made in the decades since they were written. It is clear that we have forgotten them. The recent brutal events in the US, leading to the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as countless other abuses around the world, are proof of that. At such times it is easy to feel hopeless but, just as the problems of our world are of our own making, so the solutions can be. While the past is fixed, the future is yet unwritten, and the declaration sets out an uplifting vision of a better and fairer world that is within our reach if we choose it. VOICES is a musical space to reconnect with these inspiring principles. ”

https://www.maxrichtermusic.com/albums/voices/

GNPHR News

Psychologists’ Human Rights Violations and Actions by Psychologists

In this section, we report on claims of human rights violations of psychologists and on claims of human rights violations relevant to psychology/psychologists.

Human Rights Violations of Psychologists

  • Report from Amnesty International: The Chilean police punish us for daring to protest. My life changed completely on 8 November last year. I’m a psychology student from Santiago, Chile, and university was basically my life. When I wasn’t studying I liked to play basketball, ride my bike and play the bass. But that day, while I was participating in a mass social demonstration, Carabinero officers – members of the Chilean National Police – shot me in both eyes, leaving me completely blind. Why did they shoot me? For exercising my right to protest. (Amnesty International,Gustavo Gatica, October 2020)
  • Report from the BBC: Karima Baloch, a psychology student and activist: Karima Baloch, a Pakistani human rights activist living in exile in Canada, was found dead. Police say they have no reason to suspect foul play, but Karima’s family and supporters say her death at least warrants closer inspection. The BBC spoke to her family about a woman they called “a mountain of courage”. Karima Baloch, a 31-year-old psychology student, was a political activist in Balochistan. In 2008, Karima Mehrab – known as Karima Baloch – was standing in front of a judge in a Pakistani court on charges connected to her activism. The judge told her he was minded to give her a more lenient sentence because she was a woman. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55434925

Human Rights Issues on Which Psychologists are Taking Action

  • Psychologists in Europe call for a revision of the European detention policy against refugees – psychological consequences are destructive for everyone. The treatment of refugees violates Human Rights, dehumanizes refugees and endangers European values and security. Presented in an Open Letter to Dr Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and the heads of the governments of the EC states and other European leaders.
    This still can be signed by sending an email to Prof. em. Dr Ulrich Wagner, Marburg, Germany, wagner1@uni-marburg.de , Phone: Germany 0171 380 8830 (see attachment) You can access the text and signatories of the open letter here

 

Human Rights in Times of Covid19

Children’s Rights

Children deprived of liberty remain an invisible and forgotten group in society notwithstanding the increasing evidence of these children being in fact victims of further human rights violations. Countless children are placed in inhuman conditions and in adult facilities – in clear violation of their human rights – where they are at high risk of violence, rape and sexual assault, including acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/StudyChildrenDeprivedLiberty/Pages/Index.aspx

Children are being detained at a younger and younger age and held for longer periods of time. The personal cost to these children is immeasurable in terms of the destructive impact on their physical and mental development, and on their ability to lead healthy and constructive lives in society.

  • A court makes it harder to prescribe puberty blockers to children. The ruling in London will further stir up global debate about trans rights. (Keira Bell, The Economist, December 2020).

A court has ruled that children under 16 in England and Wales will have to prove they are mature enough to take puberty blockers that are likely to damage their fertility and sexual function as adults. The ruling was in response to a judicial review brought by Keira Bell, a 23-year-old woman from Cambridge, who previously identified as a boy and was given puberty blockers at the age of 16 by the Tavistock clinic in London, which houses Britain’s only specialist gender-identity centre for children. She was then given testosterone at 17 and went on to have a double mastectomy at 20. But she soon regretted the change and launched the judicial review to challenge the way the Tavistock had handled her case. https://www.economist.com/britain/2020/12/01/a-court-makes-it-harder-to-prescribe-puberty-blockers-to-children?utm_campaign=the-economist-today&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_source=salesforce-marketing-cloud&utm_term=2020-12-01&utm_content=article-link-5&etear=nl_today_5

Human rights Education for Psychologists

The movement to ‘decolonise’ university curricula has leaped into the political and educational mainstream in the wake of George Floyd’s death, dividing opinion on campus and beyond. Anna McKie examines how scholars are handling difficult discussions and where the agenda goes next.

  • Consider giving the gift of human rights education with The Human Rights Game©by The Brainery.  Built around the foundation of the 30 Articles of the UDHR, and the three pillars of the United Nations FreedomEquity, and Dignity, The Human Rights Game aims is to make a positive difference by teaching children and teens about the rightsfreedoms, and responsibilities.

Academic freedom

    • UK universities “perpetuate institutional racism” and vice-chancellors should undergo training to improve racial literacy as part of a sector-wide crackdown, according to a report. Universities UK (UUK), which represents 140 institutions in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, calls on senior leaders to admit where there are problems of racism at their institutions and to improve understanding and awareness among staff and students of racism, racial micro-aggressions, white privilege and white allyship. The report, Tackling Racial Harassment in Higher Education, comes after an inquiry by the government’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that universities were failing to address tens of thousands of racist incidents every year. (The Guardian, November 2020)

Forced migration

Research with people in situations of forced migration poses particular ethical challenges because of unequal power relations, legal precariousness, extreme poverty, violence, the criminalization of migration, politicized research contexts, the policy relevance of our research and/or dependence on government and non-governmental services and funding. However, Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are not always aware of these particular ethical issues; some countries and institutions do not have REBs; and some kinds of research are not subject to REB approval. In this context of heightened risks of research, and uneven institutional accountability for research ethics, the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) hereby proposes this code of ethics for research with people in situations of forced migration.

This study investigated if Rohingya refugee people resettled in camps in rural Bangladesh and urban locations in Malaysia had different levels of trauma, mental health and everyday functioning. The study also examined if direct and indirect exposure to traumatic events could predict PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety, and everyday functioning in the two groups separately. An attempt was also made to see if the relations between trauma and mental health were different across the two settings.

Conclusion

The recently experienced direct and indirect trauma have impaired mental health and everyday functioning among the Bangladeshi cohort. However, only indirect trauma was active to cause PTSD in the Malaysian cohort as direct trauma was weakening due to the time elapsed since migration. We discuss the results in the context of the current theories of trauma and mental health and suggest therapeutic interventions for the refugee population.

This article is available as ‘Online First’:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00127-020-01962-1

Refugees and Migration

You are destined to go
Today, tomorrow,
or the day after.
No one can halt the heavy wheel of destruction
running over life’s body.

It’s all in vain
no last-minute savior will come
and rescue the world’s body.

It’s all in vain
no flash of light,
to scare away the darkness.
Everything is dying:
Time. Language.
Screams. Dreams.
Songs. Love. Music.
All in vain.
Everything is gone,
except a violent vacuum
dead bodies wrapped in melancholic silence
and a heavy downpour of destruction.

  • Hunderttausende Flüchtlinge sind noch traumatisiert. Er leistet Pionierarbeit: Professor Jan Ilhan Kizilhan, Traumapsychologe von der Dualen Hochschule Villingen-Schwenningen, behandelt Menschen, denen Krieg, Gewalt und Verfolgung schwerste innerliche Wunden geschlagen haben. Sie kommen vom Balkan, aus Tschetschenien, aus Ruanda und immer wieder aus dem Nordirak, wo auch Kizilhan seine Wurzeln hat. Dort, in Dohuk, hat Kizilhan als Gründungsdekan mit Unterstützung des Landes Baden-Württemberg und des Bundesaußenministeriums das Institut für Psychotherapie und Psychotraumatologie aufgebaut, das deutschen Standards folgt und einen entsprechenden Masterstudiengang anbietet. (Schwäbische – Panorama).https://www.schwaebische.de/ueberregional/panorama_artikel,-hunderttausende-fluechtlinge-sind-noch-traumatisiert-_arid,11305654.html
  • Missing Migrants Project tracks incidents involving migrants, including refugees and asylum-seekers, who have died or gone missing in the process of migration towards an international destination. 3,208 migrant fatalities recorded worldwide in 2020. https://missingmigrants.iom.int/
  • Migration as a Claim for Reparations. Migrants are nowadays criminalized to the point that the term “migrant” itself amounts to an insult. Within certain circles of volunteers, all migrants are called “refugees” out of respect, as if one needed to escape death to be entitled to cross borders. As if only refugees – who can prove they are such – are worthy of the Western world’s largesse. The refugee is seen as a passive and weak body pushed across borders; and the immigrant a profiteer, a thief attracted by the irresistible glow of running water and mass consumption. It is necessary then, and even urgent, that we deconstruct migrant categories, their tacit rankings, and the “white ruler” arbitrariness they carry within them. (Lea Coffineau, Public Seminar, December 2020) https://publicseminar.org/2020/12/migration-as-a-claim-for-reparations/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&%23038;utm_campaign=migration-as-a-claim-for-reparations#038;utm_medium=rss&%23038;utm_campaign=migration-as-a-claim-for-reparations
  • Migration as a Claim for Reparations; The connections between political agency and migration. (Lea Coffineau, Public Seminar, December 2020).

At a time when the “migration crisis” is on everyone’s lips, migrants’ motivations for border-crossing and their choice of destination country are too often misconstrued and fantasized, if not simply disregarded. Yet these motivations matter because they might help us to recognize the African migrant as a fully political agent, a conscious human actor, a person responsible for and master of their own fate – and not just one more nameless, disposable body washed ashore by the sea. As suggested by Hussein’s apology, could the individual practice of migration from Africa to Europe be thought of as a claim for reparations—a claim for justice and a fair share of the spoils of colonialism? What would be the implications of such a perception for the migrant’s political status in contemporary public discourse? https://publicseminar.org/2020/12/migration-as-a-claim-for-reparations/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&%23038;utm_campaign=migration-as-a-claim-for-reparations#038;utm_medium=rss&%23038;utm_campaign=migration-as-a-claim-for-reparations

Racism

    • Racism literally ages Black Americans faster, according to our 25-year study. Stress due to racism can wear and tear on the body – literally ‘getting under the skin’ to affect African Americans’ health. (Sierra Carter, The Guardian, December 2020).

    I’m part of a research team that has been following more than 800 Black American families for almost 25 years. We found that people who had reported experiencing high levels of racial discrimination when they were young teenagers had significantly higher levels of depression in their 20s than those who hadn’t. This elevated depression, in turn, showed up in their blood samples, which revealed accelerated ageing on a cellular level. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/07/racism-ages-black-americans-faster?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

    • New ways of measuring “The Talk”: Considering racial socialization quality and quantity. Raising children is a challenging task for anyone; however, unique socialization factors, including confidence and skills, are needed to competently raise Black children in a society plagued with racial strife. Racial socialization—or the process by which caregivers convey implicit and explicit messages about the meaning of race as well as how to cope with racial discrimination—has been described as the most critical parenting practice undertaken in Black families to safeguard their children’s well-being. In 2020, “The Talk”—a colloquial name for racial socialization—made the news after the violent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others. (article by Riana Elyse Anderson, Shawn C. T. Jones, and Howard Stevenson in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology)

International and Regional Human Rights news

We began 2019 expecting humanitarian needs to be similar to those of 2018. We were wrong. Climatic shocks, the unexpected spread of infectious disease, and the impact of protracted and often intensifying conflicts have combined to drive needs to unprecedented levels this year.

Over the course of the year, I met people suffering through these crises in more than 10 countries, among them Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I heard from families whose lives had been changed forever by the Ebola virus outbreak, with loved ones lost – a situation only made worse by decades of insecurity, conflict and chronic poverty. In the Bahamas, I saw firsthand the devastating impact a severe hurricane – made more intense by climate change – can have on homes and livelihoods across nearly an entire country.

Regional News

Europe

FRA/ FRP

 

Conferences, Events, Education and Grants

Human rights conferences, please send information.

  • At the 32nd International Congress of Psychology (ICP2021), Prague, Czech Republic, 18-23 July 2021. https://www.icp2020.com/, several symposia, keynotes and round tables will be dedicated to human rights and psychology
  • ICP2021-Virtual: October 22-24, 2021 – www.icpweb.org/icp-2021

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