BULLETIN – February 2021


  • March 8 – International Women’s Day
  • Libraries in Afghanistan promoting women’s rights and education
  • Will American ideas tear France apart? some of its leaders think so
  • New Mental Health and Human Rights Resource
  • New Blog Series
  • Human rights in times of Covid19
  • Genocide, trauma and health
  • Human rights education
  • Academic Freedom / Higher Education
  • Indigenous people’s rights
  • Rights of persons with disabilities
  • Elderly persons
  • Refugees / migration / forced migration / Statelessness
  • Racism



March 8 – International Women’s Day – Women’s Rights are Human Rights

Women’s rights are the fundamental human rights that were enshrined by the United Nations for every human being on the planet nearly 70 years ago. These rights include the right to live free from violence, slavery, and discrimination; to be educated; to own property; to vote; and to earn a fair and equal wage.
2021 these – “Women in Leadership: achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.  The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also aligned with the priority theme of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”, and the flagship Generation Equality campaign, which calls for women’s right to decision-making in all areas of life, equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end all forms of violence against women and girls, and health-care services that respond to their needs.

They Built Libraries to Honor Loved Ones, Women Felled by Bombings. (Fatima Faizi and Rod Nordland, February 21, 2021, NY Times). Two young women were killed in bombing attacks. Their soon-to-be fiancées build public libraries memorializing the women they had lost.
As a student, Ms. Hussaini was so determined to succeed that she walked an hour and a half each way to and from her high school while also teaching part time, said her sister Maryam.  She did extraordinarily well, an impressive accomplishment for a person from Afghanistan’s poorest province, Daikundi, in the central highlands — especially in a country where women and girls are marginalized by an education system often closed off to them by their families and Afghanistan’s patriarchal society.
Today, those libraries — one in Kabul, the capital, and the other in Daikundi Province — stand as symbols of the progress made toward gender equality and access to education in Afghanistan, where as many as 3.5 million girls are enrolled in school, according to a recent U.S. watchdog report, and where, as of 2018, one-third of the nation’s teachers were women.

DISCUSSION Blog: Will American ideas tear France apart? some of its leaders think so. (Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times, February 9, 2021) [Lire en français]. Politicians and prominent intellectuals say social theories from the United States on race, gender and post-colonialism are a threat to French identity and the French republic.
The threat is said to be existential. It fuels secessionism. Gnaws at national unity. Abets Islamism. Attacks France’s intellectual and cultural heritage. The threat? “Certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States,’’ said President Emmanuel Macron. French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and journalists are warning that progressive American ideas — specifically on race, gender, post-colonialism — are undermining their society. “There’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities,’’ warned Mr. Macron’s education minister.Emboldened by these comments, prominent intellectuals have banded together against what they regard as contamination by the out-of-control woke leftism of American campuses and its attendant cancel culture.
Pitted against them is a younger, more diverse guard that considers these theories as tools to understanding the wilful blind spots of an increasingly diverse nation that still recoils at the mention of race, has yet to come to terms with its colonial past and often waves away the concerns of minorities as identity politics.
Disputes that would have otherwise attracted little attention are now blown up in the news and social media. The new director of the Paris Opera, who said on Monday he wants to diversify its staff and ban blackface, has been attacked by the far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, but also in Le Mondebecause, though German, he had worked in Toronto and had “soaked up American culture for 10 years.”
The publication this month of a book critical of racial studies by two veteran social scientists, Stéphane Beaud and Gérard Noiriel, fueled criticism from younger scholars — and has received extensive news coverage. Mr. Noiriel has said that race had become a “bulldozer’’ crushing other subjects, adding, in an email, that its academic research in France was questionable because race is not recognized by the government and merely “subjective data.’’
The fierce French debate over a handful of academic disciplines on U.S. campuses may surprise those who have witnessed the gradual decline of American influence in many corners of the world. In some ways, it is a proxy fight over some of the most combustible issues in French society, including national identity and the sharing of power. In a nation where intellectuals still hold sway, the stakes are high.


New Resource: Mental Health and Human Rights.  GNPHR is collaborating with the Mental Health Human Rights Inde (MHHRI) to include their resource on psychology and mental health, with a focus on human rights/mental health and war, disaster, and torture. Read an introduction to the resource, which is also featured in the content area section Mental Health.

A new series of Blogs about the human rights involvement, experiences and work of fellow psychologists. Next time, your story?

Read the first Blog by Debbie Stiles: Why a psychologist might want to become a Human Rights fellow.




In this section, we collect information, relevant for psychology as well as for psychologists.

  • Support Academic Freedom for Boğaziçi University Students and Faculty. Petition: [Read here] Support Academic Freedom for Boğaziçi University Students and Faculty
    First published on January 8, 2021. Click here to view and sign the live petition, which contains a list of individual and institutional signatories.
  • APA’s Apology to Black, Indigenous and People of Color for its support of structural racism in psychiatry. (18 January 2021)
    Today, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the oldest national physician association in the country, is taking an important step in addressing racism in psychiatry. The APA is beginning the process of making amends for both the direct and indirect acts of racism in psychiatry. The APA Board of Trustees (BOT) apologizes to its members, patients, their families, and the public for enabling discriminatory and prejudicial actions within the APA and racist practices in psychiatric treatment for Black, Indigenous and People of Color(BIPOC). The APA is committed to identifying, understanding, and rectifying our past injustices, as well as developing anti-racist policies that promote equity in mental health for all. https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/apa-apology-for-its-support-of-structural-racism-in-psychiatry Historical addendum to APA’s apology to Black, Indigenous and People of Color for Its support of structural racism in psychiatry. Historical Addendum to APA’s Apology to Black, Indigenous and People of Color


Human rights in times of Covid19

  • NEVER AGAIN. The Holocaust Stole My Youth. Covid-19 Is Stealing My Last Years. A Holocaust survivor reflects on what it means to survive the pandemic. (Toby Levy, January 3, 2021, NY Times)  
  • It Takes Your Breath Away,’ the High Rate of Deaths of American Indians. High rate of deaths of American Indians. (NY Times, January 16 2021)
    STANDING ROCK RESERVATION, N.D. — The virus took Grandma Delores first, silencing an 86-year-old voice that rang with Lakota songs and stories. Then it came for Uncle Ralph, a stoic Vietnam veteran. And just after Christmas, two more elders of the Taken Alive family were buried on the frozen North Dakota prairie: Jesse and Cheryl, husband and wife, who died a month apart.
    “It takes your breath away,” said Ira Taken Alive, the couple’s oldest son. “The amount of knowledge they held, and connection to our past.”
    One by one, those connections are being severed as the coronavirus tears through ranks of Native American elders, inflicting an incalculable toll on bonds of language and tradition that flow from older generations to the young.
    “It’s like we’re having a cultural book-burning,” said Jason Salsman, a spokesman for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in eastern Oklahoma, whose grandparents contracted the virus but survived. “We’re losing a historical record, encyclopedias. One day soon, there won’t be anybody to pass this knowledge down.”

  • From Preproduction to Coproduction: COVID-19, whiteness, and making black mental health matter.  (The Lancet, Psychiatry, Vol. 8 February 2021, online November 2020)
    Medical training that dismisses the importance of cultural values, assumes scientific objectivity, and practises coded racialised diagnostic values, shows no accountability to the lived experience of Black people, including the many who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Current medical practise might be seen as a colonial biomedical knee analogous to that which killed George Floyd, because it fails to see how it denies the life of Black people. Unfortunately, as Gillard and Kingsuggest, we remain in tribal zones and cultural camps that rarely share the power of racialised realities to address cultural myths promoted by Whiteness inside psychiatry, and hence help the profession to liberate itself from its colonial past.
  • APA to Congress (February 3, 2021): “The pandemic highlighted long-standing systemic health and social inequities that put many racial and ethnic minorities at increased risk of contracting the coronavirus and of becoming ill and dying from COVID-19,” APA CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, said in written testimony submitted Wednesday to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. “Research documents that even when these groups can access care, a variety of factors – including providers’ implicit biases and the inequitable distribution of health care resources – contribute to a lower overall quality of care and worse outcomes for these groups relative to white patients.” 

Genocide, trauma and health

  • Years after a massacre, Yazidis finally bury their loved ones. (NY Times, February 7, 2021) They had waited years to bury the remains of their husbands, sons and brothers. Cradling fresh earth draped in Iraqi flags, the Yazidi women called out as if their loved ones could still hear them. On Saturday, the remains of 103 victims, members of the Yazidi ethnic minority group, were returned to the village where, seven years earlier, ISIS rounded up and shot them, dumping their bodies into mass graves. The massacre became synonymous with the group’s campaign of genocide against the small religious minority.

Human rights education

  • Human rights education: what works? (Danish Institute for Human Rights, 8 February 2021). Brief reviewing existing literature on human rights education for children, presenting an overview of findings on the outcomes of human rights education. Human rights education is increasingly acknowledged as an essential part of building a human rights culture. But does it work? This brief reviews existing literature on human rights education for children, presenting an overview of findings on the outcomes of human rights education.
    No quality education without human rights. SDG 4.7 / Human Rights Education Monitoring Tool. Human rights education (HRE) is a tool for building peaceful and just societies. If future generations are to participate in the development of a universal culture of human rights, it is crucial that human rights education is embedded in both national education policies and in the curricula. Only by integrating human rights standards and values into all aspects of schooling and education can we promote a universal culture of justice, non-violence and equality.
    SDG 4.7 : Sustainable development and global citizenship. More than any other target, 4.7 touches on the social, humanistic and moral purposes of education. It explicitly links education to other SDGs and captures the transformative aspirations of the new global development agenda. (UNESCO)
  • The Feminization of Human Rights. (Blog by Felisa Tibbitts, UNESCO-chair HR Education) Link here
    Some years ago, when teaching a human rights course at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, I noticed that the composition of my students was overwhelmingly female. I made a mental note of this and began asking colleagues who were teaching human rights in other higher education institutions about the gender balance in their classrooms. It was the same story: mostly women. 

Academic Freedom / Higher Education

  • Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements.  Scholars at Risk identifies situations of concern on its own and welcomes reports submitted by faculty, students and volunteers at participating higher education institutions. Subscribe to SAR’s weekly media review here:
  • Students take a leading role in protests against the coup, University World News, Naw Say Phaw Waa, 12 February 2021.
    After Myanmar’s military seized power in the first week of February, the mass of Myanmar’s younger generation are protesting against the coup in the strongest movement led by young generation students since the country’s 1988 democracy uprising. They joined teachers, factory workers and different groups of civilians in mass demonstrations countrywide as the protests intensified this week.
  • Historical Development of Favoritism and Nepotism in Pakistan. (Modern Diplomacy, April 2020). Unfortunately, even educational institutes are not free of this fatal disease of nepotism and favouritism. Education is considered as the only source of progress and development of any country. Despite polishing and improving educational structure, this system is manipulating the education. In universities, it is common practice that influential people are giving vacant posts to their relatives or in admission criteria they have reserved seats for their kith and kin. This is the reason that poor talented students are extremely worried about their future. Not only universities but also other organizations, companies and departments have been practising nepotism.
  • Global forum on academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and the future of democracy.
    The Global Forum on Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy, and the Future of Democracy was held at Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg on 20 – 21 June 2019 and co-organized by the Council of Europe; the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy; the Organization of American States; the Magna Charta Observatory; and the International Association of Universities.  https://www.coe.int/en/web/higher-education-and-research/-/global-forum-on-academic-freedom-institutional-autonomy-and-the-future-of-democracy

Indigenous people’s rights

  • Indigenous say ‘no thanks, no giving’ 400 years after Mayflower. ‘National Day of Mourning’ for Native peoples in Plymouth comes as the United States begins to deal with its colonial legacy. (26 Nov 2020, Al Jazeera)
    The United American Indians of New England (UAINE) has organised a “National Day of Mourning”  on the fourth Thursday of November since 1970 to bring attention to the history of the Wampanoag – and Indigenous people across the US – who faced war, disease and ethnic cleansing with the arrival of European colonists.
    “Four hundred years after the arrival of the Mayflower, Indigenous people are still denied the respect and lands that are theirs by right,” James said. “Change is long past due … Today, we and many Indigenous people around the country say, ‘No thanks, no giving.’”

Rights of persons with disabilities

Elderly persons 

  • Epistemic Violence in Research on Eldercare. (link to: Darlingtina K. Esiaka, Glenn Adams. Psychology and Developing Societies, August 2020.) Decolonial perspectives challenge the notion that standard knowledge in hegemonic psychology is productive of progress and enlightenment. They instead emphasise its association with the colonial violence that constitutes the darker underside of modern development. Our contribution to the special issue applies a decolonial perspective to theory and research on obligation to an elderly parent. Thinking from the standpoint of West African epistemic locations not only illuminates the culture-bound character of standard models but also reveals their foundations in modern individualist selfways.

Refugees, migration, forced migration, statelessness

  • A victory for human rights in Zhao v. the Netherlands (the ‘Denny case’): Nationality from birth, without exceptions.
    In its first-ever decision on the right to nationality, issued in late December, the UN Human Rights Committee calls on the Netherlands to enact a framework for addressing statelessness that puts human rights first. Like 6,303 other children under age 14 in the Netherlands (as of 2019), Denny’s situation originates with his inability to prove a negative – that he holds no nationality – and a corresponding entry in the country’s civil registration records: “unknown nationality.” https://www.statelessness.eu/updates/blog/victory-human-rights-zhao-v-netherlands-denny-case-nationality-birth-without?mc_cid=c44cfe4dd8&mc_eid=072f82858f
  • Migrants in Bosnia: EU, UN officials condemn situation in Lipa camp. (INFOMIGRANTS, January 2021) Officials from the European Union and the UN migration agency IOM have called on Bosnian authorities to relocate migrants and refugees who are sleeping rough to appropriate accommodation. Meanwhile, migrants at Lipa camp ended their hunger strike.
    Thousands of migrants are stranded without adequate shelter in northern Bosnia, facing freezing cold temperatures. “Over the past two weeks, we watched with growing concern the dire humanitarian situation facing many migrants in Bosnia,” Paul Dillon, spokesman for the UN migration agency IOM, said in a press briefing on Tuesday. There are currently close to 3,000 migrants and refugees in northern Bosnia who are facing harsh winter weather without adequate shelter, according to IOM estimates. Between 900 and 1,400 men are reportedly living in the burnt-out Lipa camp, another roughly 1,500 migrants and refugees — including women and children – are sleeping rough in the region of Una Sana Canton, which borders on European Union member state Croatia. https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/29469/migrants-in-bosnia-eu-un-officials-condemn-situation-in-lipa-camp
  • Statelessness and the EU Pact on Asylum and Migration: Analysis and Recommendations. Our analysis focuses on the impact the proposals set out by the European Commission in September 2020 would have on the fundamental rights of stateless migrants and refugees, and makes concrete recommendations on how these should be addressed as an integral part of negotiations on, and implementation of the Pact.


  • Whiteness is viewed as friendly. “Whiteness is viewed as friendly, not just nonthreatening but friendly” by law enforcement, said Rashawn Ray, a sociologist at the University of Maryland and fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. By contrast, groups that challenge the racialized status quo, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, are treated as inherently threatening. In June, Dr. Ray noted, the government deployed thousands of officers and used tear gas, helicopters and other tactics to subdue Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Washington. But last week, there was “a completely different response,” he said. “The message was: we’re not threatened by them.” (NY Times, January 15, 2021)


The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) works for justice in countries that have endured massive human rights abuses under repression and in conflict. They work with victims, civil society groups, national, and international organizations to ensure redress for victims and to help prevent atrocities from happening again. The ICTJ is reporting significant events related to HR and impact on people’s mental health and psychology.https://www.ictj.org/about  




  • Beirut blast response. Newsletter 2021, Issue #1. The newsletter from IDRAAC is a Voice from Lebanon during challenging moments when work in psychology came to rescue and help adversities generated from human rights jeopardy. Within the first 24 hours after the blast, IDRAAC established a hotline where our psychiatrists and psychologists were available to provide mental health support and referral to persons who needed it. One week following the blast, IDRAAC established a free walk-in clinic at the St Georges Hospital University Medical Center (SGHUMC) in Ashrafieh to be able to provide psychological first aid, assessment and referrals.  http://www.idraac.org/contentfiles/2308PDF.pdf


Book Review by Roswith Roth of Congress, E.P., Takooshian, H., & Asper, A. (Eds.). (2020). Behavioral Science in the Global Arena. Vol. 1. Addressing Timely Issues at the United Nations and Beyond. Charlotte NC: Information Age Publishing. 
Standard Human Rights. Addressing the Topics of Flight, Forced Migration, Asylum and Racist Discrimination in Education Practice. (German Institute for Human Rights, 2021). Available online: https://www.institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de/publikationen/detail/standard-human-rights


Human rights conferences

  • 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
  • Save the Date: Announcing the 2021 Philipp Schwartz and Inspireurope Stakeholder Forum.
    SAR invites you to save the date for the 2021 Philipp Schwartz and InspireuropeStakeholder Forum, which will be held on 26 and 27 April as an online event. Convened by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative in cooperation with the Scholars at Risk Germany Section and the Inspireurope project, the Forum will provide an opportunity for scholars, host institutions, funding organisations, and partners across Europe and beyond to discuss issues related to academic freedom and the situation of at-risk researchers in Europe. It will also place a particular focus on the topic of re-building interrupted research careers within and beyond academia.
    Invitations will be issued in March by the organisers. We hope to see many of you there.
  •   In partnership with Roger Williams University, SAR will host the annual Student Advocacy Day, an advocacy and leadership summit open to students and faculty conducting case advocacy and research via SAR’s Student Advocacy Seminars. Students will participate in training webinars on governmental avenues for advocacy, social media advocacy, and the power of the student voice, and will have opportunities to present on their own research and advocacy in support of Scholars in Prison. On March 3rd at 7:00pm EST, the event will kick off with a keynote by Jewher Ilham and Akeda Pulati, daughters of imprisoned Uyghur scholars. This keynote is open to everyone; register here! Xiyue Wang, a graduate student formerly imprisoned in Iran, will present the closing keynote with his wife and advocate Hua Qu. Please contact clare.robinson@nyu.edu to learn more.
  • International Council of Psychologists Annual Meeting October 22-24, 2021. Promoting Equity and Justice in an Age of Uncertainty. www.icpweb.org
  • 14TH European Public Health conference, 10 – 12 November 2021, virtual edition. Theme: Public health futures in a changing world. https://ephconference.eu/index.php

Author Global Network Posted on February, 2021 Categories Newsletter

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