Editor: Polli Hagenaars, Netherlands and Merry Bullock, USA/Estonia

Table of Contents

Editor’s Note:
The GNPHR Bulletin focuses each month on a specific topic chosen in accordance with relevant UN events or UN commemorative days for that month. The December theme coincides with the December 3 UN International Day of Persons with disabilities. The special Editor for this section is Elaine Rogers, Limerick University, Ireland

SPECIAL SECTION: UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES 3 DECEMBER – ‘Building Back Better: Toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World’

Special Section editor Elaine Rogers, University of Limerick, Ireland

  • NEWSRights of persons with disabilities


  • Climate Justice
  • Covid-19
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Decolonization processes
  • Education
  • Inclusion, Exclusion, Racism
  • Mental Health and Human Rights
  • Migration / Refugees / Displacement / Statelessness
  • Poverty



  • South Africa
  • Europe





Special Section

The classroom in the Kamurasi Demonstration School in Masindi Municipality, Uganda, with the Ugandan Sign language alphabet draw on the wall. Photo: UNICEF/Uganda/Barbeyrac

Disability Rights: ‘Building Back Better: Toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World’


by Elaine Rogers, Ireland

Psychology as a discipline has been relatively slow to engage with human rights. It has also been slow to engage with ‘disability’as a research and professional area. Rather, disability studies have developed in parallel to psychology.   There is an opportunity now for psychologists to embrace a human rights model that mainstreams disability rights.

Just as language is important in disability, so too are models. The social model of disability, the corner stone of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), locates the challenges of disability within society, rather than focusing on the impairment within the person.  The social model of disability does not negate the need for health care or medical treatment.  Indeed, a human rights perspective calls for equitable access to health care for disabled people that many do not currently have.  However, re-locating the challenges associated with disability to societal challenges creates different opportunities for supporting disabled people.  Bringing psychological thinking to these challenges can be of benefit to all.

As psychologists who work with people, it is important for us to know that 15% of the global population are living with a disability.  Disabled people are, as a group, more likely to be marginalised and living in poverty.  Many disabled people around the world continue to live in institutions.  In current times, disabled people are more vulnerable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for a variety of reasons.  They have been hard hit by the closure of schools, day services, and reduced access to health and social care.  Many have underlying conditions, exacerbating risk.  It has been an especially difficult time for disabled people and their families.  It is important that as we try to navigate our way to a post-Covid world, we include disabled people in the core of that recovery planning.  Psychologists can sensitise the social environment, through education, awareness raising, advocacy and by modelling good practice.  We can address the physical environment too, by listening to the potentially transformative perspective of disabled, or diversly-abled, architects.

What follows is a snap-shot of disability news to celebrate the International Day of Disabilities on 3rdDecember.

  • Disability rights are human rights.
  • COVID-19 and disabilities
  • The World Report on Disability- 10 years on.
  • Designated Persons Organisations – nothing about us without us!
  • Human rights/disability rights news
  • Some updates on disability in arts, culture and sport.
  • Supported decision making
  • Disability and the built environment
  • Events listings

Disability rights are human rights.

Theresia Degener articulated in a 2011 Blog why a separate convention was needed and why disability rights need to be mainstreamed in the general human rights movement.  https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/disability-rights-are-human-rights


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted in 2006.  The UNCRPD identifies 26 rights for persons with disabilities and has been ratified by 182 States Parties.
“The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. It applies established human rights principles from the UN Declaration on Human Rights to the situation of people with disabilities. It covers civil and political rights to equal treatment and freedom from discrimination, and social and economic rights in areas like education, health care, employment and transport. States which ratify the UN Convention commit themselves to delivering civil and political rights to people with disabilities, and to progressive realisation of social and economic rights.”
The Committee on the Rights of Person with Disabilities is the body of independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention by States Parties. https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html .  The Committee also prepared a series of General Comments to further discuss specific Articles in the Convention.  To date there have been seven General Comments produced.  https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/gc.aspx

COVID-19 and Disabilities

People with disability identities have been historically marginalized and oppressed by society. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception to this trend.

The World Report on Disability – 10 years on

In 2011 the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank produced the World Report on Disability.  This report was the first document to review the global picture of the lives of people with disabilities.  The authors used a definition of disability that was consistent with the UNCRPD.  The World Report on Disability estimates that about 15% of the global population live with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning.  The report can be accessed here: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241564182. The International Centre for Evidence in Disability, hosted by Tom Shakespeare, interviewed Alana Officer, Editor-in-Chief, of the World Report, to review the impact the World Report has had.  You can see this interview here:  10 years on: Interview with editors of World Report; https://lshtm.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=4fdc11f3-0186-49ad-afbd-ad4900c4f5c7

DPOs – Nothing about us without us!

Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) are organisations comprised of people with disabilities who work for people with disabilities.  They differ from service providers who are organisations – governmental or non-governmental,  for profit or not-for-profit – who provide services, including residential, day service and health and social care services, to people with disabilities.  DPOs are recognised in the UNCRPD.  Article 33.3 notes that ‘civil society, in particular persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, shall be involved and participate fully in the monitoring process’ [monitoring implementation of the UNCRPD].
Disabled Persons International (DPI) was the first and is the only cross-disability global organisation.  DPI is headquartered in Canada and has a presence in 139 countries around the world.  They focus in particular on neglected countries and neglected disabilities, such as Leprosy.   http://www.disabledpeoplesinternational.org
There are many national DPOs. Some examples include,:

A different approach to disability.

Open society foundations ,June 21, 2021.In October 2020, Gerard Quinn—a rights advocate, researcher, and law professor in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway —was appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of People with Disabilities. As Special Rapporteur, Gerard plays a lead role in educating governments about what they can do to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities. He spoke to Open Society’s Alison Hillman about how he hoped to use his office to advocate for a more inclusive, more equal world.
In the context of defending disability rights, what do we mean by inclusivity? And what are its implicit obligations? This is a foundational concept. When we talk about inclusivity we mean, I count as a person. Take me seriously. It’s as basic as that. Throughout legal history, people with disabilities are not treated seriously as persons. They are not alone in this, of course, but one of the last bastions for ascribing lesser moral worth still applies to people with disabilities.

Woman with Down’s syndrome loses UK abortion law case.

Alexandra Topping and agencies, 23 September 2021, The Guardian.
A woman with Down’s syndrome who took Sajid Javid to court over the UK’s abortion law has lost her case in the high court.  Heidi Crowter, who brought the case alongside Máire Lea-Wilson, whose son Aidan has Down’s syndrome, and a child with Down’s syndrome identified only as A, had argued that allowing pregnancy terminations up to birth if the foetus has Down’s syndrome is discriminatory and stigmatises disabled people.

UK Supreme Court Decision: A Local Authority v JB

Also in the UK, a recent Supreme Court decision in A Local Authority v JB has found that a 38 year old man with autism and cognitive impairment did not have the capacity to engage in sex.  The ability to understand that one’s partner must have the capacity to consent was central.  https://www.39essex.com/capacity-and-sex-the-supreme-court-decision-in-jb/;  https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2021/11/26/capacity-to-engage-in-sexual-relations-the-relevance-of-the-partners-consent/

An Inclusive Revolution.

Open society foundations, voices. January 25, 2021. In Guatemala, women with disabilities face outrageous rates of violence. One local collective, Mujeres Con Capacidad de Soñar a Colores, is pushing for systemic reforms through organizing, research, and art. Open Society Foundations’ Rachele Tardi recently spoke with Open Society’s Feminist Fellow Valentina Vargas Ricca and collective members Floridalma Bocel and Vivian Quisquiná about their work.

  • What issues did you explore as an Open Society Feminist Fellow? When we began our research, we were interested in understanding more about violence against women with disabilities in Guatemala. Because traditional research processes seem to us very distant from our voices and our lives, we sought alternative research and distribution methods, where we can be full participants of all the processes and really understand the results.
    For example, our first research project was a weeklong gathering of 14 women with disabilities (most of them young women) using the Theater of the Oppressed methodology. This methodology allows groups to play out unjust situations experienced in order to seek concrete alternatives for change: a tool that gives us the ability to respond to and resolve conflicts. In our gathering, we explored our experiences and the different types of violence that women with disabilities face in their daily lives. We then made a collective decision to make a theater play on two main forms of violence: exclusion from education and access to work. The results and process of our work can be seen in our documentary Vernos Florecer.

Supported Decision Making

The heartbeat of the UN CRPD, Article 12 refers to legal capacity and the equality of persons with disability before the law.  Many people with cognitive or mental health difficulties have their decision-making rights removed.  Personal decisions about money, where to live, travel, marriage and medical treatment are then made by someone else. 
This has been a highlighted in the media recently by the Britney Spears case.  14 years ago Britney’s decision making rights were removed by a Los Angeles court and her father was appointed as a conservator.  After a long struggle, with much public support, Britney won her case to restore her decision making rights.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/12/arts/music/britney-spears-conservatorship-ends.html ; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53494405
While there continue in many countries to be regimes of wardship or guardianship, there are also models of supported decision making emerging. https://supporteddecisions.org/about-supported-decision-making/;http://www.supporteddecisionmaking.org/ ; http://supportmydecision.org/
Supported Decision-Making and Paradigm Shifts: Word Play or Real Change? Stavert (2021) Front. Psychiatry, 11 January 2021 |  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.571005

Sport and Disability

WeThe15 will campaign to break down barriers
Launching at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, WeThe15 plans to initiate change over the next decade by bringing together the biggest coalition ever of international organisations from the world of sport, human rights, policy, communications, business, arts and entertainment. At a time when diversity and inclusion are hot topics, the 15% who have a disability want effective change to remove the inequality and inactivity. Like race, gender and sexual orientation, we want to have a movement all persons with disabilities can rally behind. A global movement that is publicly campaigning for disability visibility, inclusion and accessibility.
WeThe15 is sport’s biggest ever human rights movement to end discrimination. We aim to transform the lives of the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities who represent 15% of the global population. Get Involved

Art and Culture

Europe Beyond Access is a large-scale Arts and Disability project.  A 4-year programme between seven major European theatre and dance organisations, it aims to bring disabled performing artists into the mainstream of the European cultural scene.“Europe Beyond Access will support disabled artists to break the glass ceilings of the contemporary theatre & dance sectors. The core partners of the project are British Council (operating for this project in the UK and Poland), Onassis Stegi (Greece); Holland Dance Festival (The Netherlands), Kampnagel (Germany); Per.Art (Serbia), Skånes Dansteater (Sweden), Oriente Occidente(Italy). It is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission.”This project will launch their final report on 3rd December 2021.  https://www.disabilityartsinternational.org/events/time-to-act-final-report-launch/; https://www.disabilityartsinternational.org/artists/.  Disability Arts International aims to promote the work of excellent disabled artists. Disabled-led companies and inclusive arts organisations.  They focus on professional quality, finished works of art, ready for an international audience.

Sins Invalid (https://www.sinsinvalid.org/) is a disability justice based performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities.  Led by disabled people of colour their performance work explores themes of sexuality, embodiment and the disabled body.

The Physical Environment  ‘Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 World’ is the theme of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  Taking this literally, we thought it fitting to acknowledge the built environment and its impact on disabled people.

EVENTS focusing on Disability Rights


Climate Justice

Was COP26 in Glasgow a success? November 14, 2021, THE ECONOMIST. The world has done too little to tackle climate change. In Glasgow parties agreed on three ways to start doing more
LATE IN THE afternoon of Saturday November 13th, when the COP26 climate talks were nearly 24 hours into overtime, the European Commission’s vice president, Frans Timmermans, took the floor. He worried that the sleep-deprived representatives of the 197 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were about to stumble “in the last couple of hundred metres before the finish line” and pleaded with his fellow-delegates “to just think about one person in your life…that will still be around in 2030, and think about how that person will live if we do not stick to the 1.5°C here today.”
His plea seemed to unblock the long drawn-out proceedings in which no one was getting all that they wanted, and some seemed they might not be getting enough to make it worth the candle.


‘A scandal’: The W.H.O. says the world’s rate of booster shots outstrips poorer countries’ vaccinations. Daniel Slotnik, November 12, 2021, NY Times.  Six times more booster shots of coronavirus vaccine are being administered around the world daily than primary doses in low-income countries, the director general of the World Health Organization said on Friday, calling the disparity “a scandal that must stop now.”
The official, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and others at the W.H.O. have regularly criticized wealthy nations for hoarding vaccines while lower-income countries do not have enough doses to vaccinate their elderly, frontline health care workers and other high-risk groups. In August, Dr. Tedros called for a global moratorium on boosters that he later extended until the end of the year.

Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Damian Santomauro, The Lancet, October 8, 2021. Before 2020, mental disorders were leading causes of the global health-related burden, with depressive and anxiety disorders being leading contributors to this burden. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has created an environment where many determinants of poor mental health are exacerbated. The need for up-to-date information on the mental health impacts of COVID-19 in a way that informs health system responses is imperative. In this study, we aimed to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the prevalence and burden of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders globally in 2020.
This pandemic has created an increased urgency to strengthen mental health systems in most countries. Mitigation strategies could incorporate ways to promote mental wellbeing and target determinants of poor mental health and interventions to treat those with a mental disorder. Taking no action to address the burden of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders should not be an option.

Covid-19 has led to a sharp increase in depression and anxiety. Women fared worse than men. THE ECONOMIST, October 11, 2021, THE ECONOMIST. The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the physical health of millions of people. But the mental-health effects could prove even more enduring. A new study published in the Lancet, a medical journal, attempts to quantify the impact of covid-19 on mental health and wellbeing around the world. The authors estimate that cases of depression rose by 53m globally as a consequence of the pandemic, 28% above pre-pandemic levels; cases of anxiety increased by 76m, a 26% rise.

A feminist recovery from COVID-19 Podcast The Lancet
Jocalyn Clark and Jessamy Bagenal of The Lancet are joined by Prof. Sarah Kaplan, Director of the Institute for Gender & the Economy, to discuss what a feminist recovery from COVID-19 might look like.https://www.thelancet.com/the-lancet-voice

Crimes against humanity

U.S. Military Jury Condemns Terrorist’s Torture and Urges Clemency. Carol Rosenberg, October 31, 2021, NY Times. Seven senior officers rebuked the government’s treatment of an admitted terrorist in a handwritten letter from the jury room at Guantánamo Bay.
In a stark rebuke of the torture carried out by the C.I.A. after the Sept. 11 attacks, seven senior military officers who heard graphic descriptions last week of the brutal treatment of a terrorist while in the agency’s custody wrote a letter calling it “a stain on the moral fiber of America.”  The officers, all but one member of an eight-member jury, condemned the U.S. government’s conduct in a clemency letter on behalf of Majid Khan, a suburban Baltimore high school graduate turned Qaeda courier.
They had been brought to the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay to sentence Mr. Khan, who had earlier pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. They issued a sentence of 26 years, about the lowest term possible according to the instructions of the court.
At the behest of Mr. Khan’s lawyer, they then took the prerogative available in military justice of writing a letter to a senior official who will review the case, urging clemency.  Before sentencing, Mr. Khan spent two hours describing in grisly detail the violence that C.I.A. agents and operatives inflicted on him in dungeonlike conditions in prisons in Pakistan, Afghanistan and a third country, including sexual abuse and mind-numbing isolation, often in the dark while he was nude and shackled.

Decolonisation processes

Why Spain Was Long in Denial About Franco—and Still Stands By Columbus. Jon Lee Anderson, November 2, 2021, The New Yorker.  When President Biden proclaimed that Columbus Day would also be Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the right reacted as if the country’s national identity were at stake.
“In the mid-nineteen-nineties, I had to do some legal paperwork regarding an inherited property in Almuñécar, a city in Andalusia, Spain. To finalize matters, I needed the signed approval of a licensed abogado, a lawyer, who, in this case, turned out to be a local grandee. He was a silver-haired man with an imperious bearing, and his office was equally intimidating, filled with antique mahogany furniture, intricately embossed with caravels, suggesting an Age of Discovery vintage. A sympathetic clerk had warned me that, if the lawyer did not like me, my paperwork would not move forward. So, in an effort to warm him up, I remarked admiringly on the furnishings, which, he proudly informed me, were family heirlooms. Then, I asked, using the terminology common to Latin America, had his ancestors been involved in la Conquista, the Conquest of the Americas? He eyed me coldly, and said, ‘Eso no fue una conquista, sino una liberación”—“That was not a conquest but a liberation.’”
In Latin America, the current historical reassessment has led to statues of Spanish conquistadors being toppled in country after country. A statue of Columbus that stood in central Mexico City since the nineteenth century has been taken away; it will be replaced by one of an Indigenous woman. In Spain, such statues remain intact, but in February it was reported that “the last” statue of Franco in the country, in the city of Melilla, had finally been taken down. Perhaps one day, in Spain’s not-too-distant future, Columbus will finally be subjected to the same kind of reassessment as Franco.


Waveney Bushell, an educational psychologist and contributor to the 1981 Rampton report. Photograph: Lyttanya Shannon/BBC/Rogan Productions

Subnormal: A British Scandal review – the racist nightmare that scarred black children for life. Rebecca Nicholson, 20 May 2021, The Guardian. Lyttanya Shannon’s film is a devastating look at the kids unfairly deemed ‘educationally subnormal’ in the 60s and 70s – and their lasting trauma.
Waveney Bushell, an educational psychologist and contributor to the 1981 Rampton report. Photograph: Lyttanya Shannon/BBC/Rogan Productions
Those who saw Small Axe, Steve McQueen’s masterful series of standalone dramas, will no doubt remember the powerful final episode. Education told the story of a 12-year-old boy, Kingsley, who has trouble reading and is sent to a “special school”. It was part of an unofficial segregation policy in the 1960s, which saw hundreds of black children labelled “educationally subnormal” and moved out of mainstream schools by the state. Subnormal: A British Scandal (BBC One) is a crystal-clear documentary by Lyttanya Shannon (McQueen is executive producer), which shares the true story. Its subtitle is damning. It was indeed a scandal.
Early in the film, Shannon explains that getting people who were put into “ESN” schools to talk on camera is proving difficult, even now. She records one phone conversation (with consent), and plays it back, the voice distorted, in which an ex-pupil explains the lasting stigma of being labelled “slow” and “backwards”, and who says their family doesn’t even know they went to an ESN school. But she does find people who feel able to talk, and carefully draws out the many aspects of their stories.
Read also:
How the West Indian Child is Made Educationally Sub-normal in the British School System: The Scandal of the Black Child in Schools in Britain is a non-fiction book by Grenadian author Bernard Coardpublished in May 1971 by New Beacon Books in the United Kingdom. In the book, Coard examines educational inequality and institutional racism in the British educational system through the lens of the country’s “educationally subnormal” (ESN) schools—previously called “schools for the mentally subnormal”—which disproportionately and wrongly enrolled Black children, especially those from the British Afro-Caribbean community. These students rarely advanced out of ESN schools and suffered educationally and economically. Coard also intentionally made a “critical decision”[5] to write specifically for an audience of Black parents.
The book was first prepared by Coard as a paper he presented at a Caribbean Education and Community Workers’ Association (CECWA) conference in early 1970; after positive reception, he expanded and completed the book during that summer. Figures such as Jeff Crawford, Jessica Huntley, John La Rose, Waveney Bushell and Andrew Salkey lent their support towards publicity and publication, as did Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications. New Beacon published the book in 1971, printing 10,000 copies and following that up with a second run in 1974. On the book’s release day, Coard appeared on primetime news in a discussion with the chief education officer of the Inner London Education Authority, Ashley Bramall. Following publication, Coard claimed that he and his wife were being followed and that his phone was being tapped.   The text is also prominently featured in Tell it Like it is: How Our Schools Fail Black Children (2005), edited by Brian Richardson. (source: Wikipedia)

Inclusion, Exclusion, Racism, Antisemitism

Steve McQueen Highlights Necessary Histories with New Documentaries. thenerdsofcolor.org, September 25, 2021. Director Steve McQueen’s newest Prime Video documentaries on West Indian and Caribbean life in 20th century London are necessary viewing. In a style similar to Ava DuVernay’s 13th, the Academy Award-winning director stitches together archival footage and thoughtful interviews that spotlight the violent history of some of London’s most vulnerable communities. Subnormal: A British Scandal, Black Power: A British Story of Resistance, and Uprising document the racially motivated atrocities that plagued black and brown neighborhoods across London in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, and captures the delicate maneuverings of McQueen’s cinematic eye.

Exploring the perceived negative and positive long-term impact of adolescent bullying victimization: A cross-national investigation. Pabian, Dehue, Völlink, Vandebosch, 2 November 2021, Wiley Online Library.
Both traditional bullying and cyberbullying have attracted the attention of many researchers in the last decade. Bullying is defined as an aggressive, intentional act or behavior that is carried out by a group or an individual repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend himself or herself (Olweus, 1993). Whereas the majority of traditional bullying occurs at school, on school grounds, and on school buses, cyberbullying can occur anywhere, via information and communication technologies (ICT).
This study focused on the potential mediating role of the perceived long-term negative and positive impact of adolescent bullying victimization to understand its relations with mental health and well-being problems during emerging adulthood. A retrospective study consisting of closed and open-ended questions was conducted among 1010 Flemish and 650 Dutch emerging adults aged 18–26. Path analyses among early victims (NFlemish = 644; NDutch = 217) demonstrated that the relations between bullying victimization intensity and current self-esteem, social interaction anxiety, and life satisfaction were all mediated by the perceived negative long-term impact of adolescent bullying victimization.  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ab.22006

Antisemitism: data gaps continue to hide the true picture
Incidents of hatred against Jews have been evident throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Even though in some countries the number of antisemitic incidents decreased, the main problem remains the same across Europe – most incidents still go unreported. Each country collects data differently and some do not collect any data at all. This continues to hamper efforts to effectively tackle antisemitism in Europe, shows the latest annual overview of antisemitic incidents from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Download the overview

Project Historical chronology. Examining psychology’s contributions to the belief in racial hierarchy and perpetuation of inequality for people of color in U.S. APA https://www.apa.org/about/apa/addressing-racism/historical-chronologyProject background: In 2020, APA launched a series of efforts aimed at dismantling racism in psychology, in APA, and in society more generally. As part of this effort, the Association sought a historical review of how psychology and APA have harmed people of color since the formal institutionalization of U.S. psychology in the late 1800s. The goal of the review was to document the long history of harm to these communities, and to provide a resource that could inform APA’s work on an apology. The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP) at The University of Akron conducted the historical review. The CCHP is a research and humanities center that collects, preserves, and shares the history of psychology with a variety of audiences through the National Museum of Psychology and the Archives of the History of American Psychology. It is home to more than 3,000 linear feet of unpublished papers, artifacts, and media documenting psychology’s history from the 1800s to the present. Our analysis of the historical record suggests that one of the central issues for U.S. psychology, both past and present, is its strong ties to hegemonic science and practice. Such an approach privileges certain ways of knowing, being, and doing as natural, normative, and progressive (Adams, Kurtiş, Gómez, Molina, & Dobles, 2018). Historically, psychology has accepted Whiteness as a standard or norm and presented other modes of being as marginal, unnatural, or in some way straying from the norm. Recently, this has appeared in the psychological literature as a weird (Western, educated, industrial, rich, democratic) approach (Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010), but people of color have noted versions of it in the literature since at least the beginning of the 20th century (Du Bois, 1903).

Why the APA’s apology for promoting white supremacy falls short. Evan Auguste, past student circle chair for the Association of Black Psychologists, Wade Nobles, co-founder of the Association of Black Psychologists and Daryl Rowe, past national president of the Association of Black Psychologists. 21 November 2021, NBC News.  At the end of October, the American Psychological Association released an official apology for being “complicit in contributing to systemic inequities, and [having] hurt many through racism, racial discrimination, and denigration of people of color.” The apology sought to comprehensively denounce the eminent institution’s history of promoting white supremacy within the United States. As members of the Association of Black Psychologists, we feel the need to speak up once again. The APA’s apology is a far cry from what is needed.
While the apology details many of the past racist practices in psychology, it largely omits a key portion of this history: how the fields of psychology and psychiatry colluded with the state to suppress rights, liberties and, in many cases, political freedom. Largely, this looked like the creation and maintenance of state hospitals that often disproportionately and indefinitely confined Black people in particular. Indeed, this history led the former president-elect of ABPsi, Bobby Wright, to conclude that the discipline had historically been leveraged to wage war against Black communities.
Based on a belief that a Black person’s desire for freedom was evidence of mental illness, hospitals were built across the country to enforce social control over Black people. For instance, the Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane, the first state psychiatric hospital for Black people, forcibly institutionalized thousands of Black people in Virginia beginning in 1870. Hospital archives revealed that Black people were taken from their communities and enslaved on the belief that freedom produced mania and forced labor was an adequate treatment.

Mental Health and Human Rights

A Look at Punitive Psychiatric Detention in Uzbekistan. Catherine Putz, The Diplomat, September 22, 2021.A new report catalogues the use of forced psychiatric detention to repress human rights activists in Uzbekistan, laying out the cases of six individual to illustrate the abusive practice.
In a new report, the Uzbek Forum for Human Rights outlines the cases of six individuals, who the forum says have been forcibly committed to psychiatric institutions over the years “in apparent retaliation for their human rights work, sometimes immediately after they have exercised their political rights to either protest or petition the Uzbek government for reform.”
Although many of the instances of forced treatment covered in the report occurred during the harsh rule of Islam Karimov, the report also documents cases taking place under the rule of current Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Mirziyoyev’s ascension to power in 2016 after Karimov’s death was accompanied by big promises of reform. And some reforms have taken place. Beyond economic reforms and a more positive tone toward neighboring states, some political prisoners were released, the government took greater action to confront forced labor in the cotton industry, and Uzbekistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Reform, however, is not a destination — it’s a journey, and a long one.

Migration / Refugees / Displacement / Statelessness

Alert: Advocating for and Assisting Refugees from Afghanistan: Suggestions for Psychologists –  Deborah A. Stiles and Jessica Walsh, Co-Chairs for Advocacy in International Psychology, APA Division 52.  This call to action alerts psychologists in the USA to the situation in Afghanistan and makes suggestions for how psychologists might approach Afghani refugees in their professional work.

Guidelines for psychologists working with refugees and asylum seekers in the UKBPS, 12 February 2018. These guidelines were developed by the British Psychological Society’s Presidential Taskforce on Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Croatia: European Court of Human Rights rules that authorities violated rights of child killed by train after pushback
Reacting to today’s judgement by the European Court of Human Rights that Croatia violated the rights of Madina Hussiny, a six-year-old girl who was hit and killed by a train after being pushed back to Serbia in 2017, Massimo Morratti, Deputy Director for Europe at Amnesty International, said: “This is a huge victory for justice and may offer some closure but little comfort to Madina’s family who have waited for four years for this judgement.  “The ruling also confirms consistent reports of widespread pushbacks and abuse by the Croatian police repeatedly denied by Croatian authorities.
“Today’s ruling sends a clear message to other European governments that pushbacks, collective expulsions and denying people the opportunity to seek asylum are violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. With asylum seekers currently stranded at borders in freezing temperatures, authorities in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia should take note.”
Background : The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found Croatia to be in violation of ECHR Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment), Article 5 and 1 (right to security and liberty) and violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to the Convention prohibiting collective expulsions and a violation of Article 34 (right of individual petition).


HREA Past Webinar Recording: Int’l Day for the Eradication of Poverty
October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. We had a webinar at HREA in highlighting this crucial international day!

Women’s Rights

25 November 2021, UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  2021 Theme: Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!
Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime. In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts and climate disasters. A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, shows that 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity. Only 1 in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help.
While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable. It can and must be prevented. Stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls. With survivor-centred essential services across policing, justice, health, and social sectors, and sufficient financing for the women’s rights agenda, we can end gender-based violence.
To raise awareness, this year’s theme is “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!“. Orange is our color to represent a brighter future free of violence against women and girls. Be part of the orange movement!

French app fighting violence against women brings a ‘revolution’ to Morocco. Sophian Aubin, France24, 25 November 2021   A French app called The Sorority, aimed at preventing violence against women, was launched a year ago and has recently made its debut in Morocco. It has been a breath of fresh air for its early adopters in the North African country, who denounce what they see as a society plagued by sexual violence. 
“If we can help female victims of violence in France, we can do it in every country,” said Priscilla Routier Trillard, a 34-year-old Parisian, describing her decision to export The Sorority to the other side of the Mediterranean. 
Launched in France in September 2020, The Sorority became available in Morocco on October 16. The app relies on women to protect each other from violence – whether at home, at work or on the street – with an alarm system that sends an alert if someone nearby is in imminent danger using geolocation technology. Instant messaging then allows the victim to contact other users and get help immediately. The messaging function also allows users to get moral support from other women.


December 2, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Slavery is not merely a historical relic. The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, 2 December 1949.
According to the  International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. Although modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.  In addition, more than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world.
ILO has adopted a legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which entered into force in November 2016.

50 for Freedom campaignThe ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labour could restore hope and freedom to millions of people trapped in modern slavery.

Human Rights Day: All human, all equal
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a major crossroads: either we take the route of collective action and concretely address the pervasive inequalities that have risen across the globe, or we continue on the route filled with deep-rooted injustices and pervasive inequalities. On Human Rights Day, 10 December, we are choosing to take the path that brings us towards a future with equality at its core. We invite you to join us.  On Human Rights Day, we are calling for a new social contract. This means addressing pervasive inequalities and structural discrimination with measures grounded in human rights. It requires renewed political commitment, the participation of all, especially the most affected, and a more just distribution of power, resources and opportunities.
Human Rights Day is marked every year on 10 December to commemorate the day in 1948 the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Join us to help spread the word that we’re all human, and all equal. Find out more


South Africa

FW de Klerk, a prisoner of his own past. Saths Cooper. November 14, 2021, IOL.  About the death of South Africa’s last head of state from the era of Apartheid.
‘The ghosts of those murdered without a thought is FW’s haunting legacy, which unless exorcised will infect our grandchildren long after the pandemic is contained.‘


Why Europe needs to work with other regions to find creative solutions to birth registration and documentation of children born in conflict zones. Alison Huyghe, Policy & Advocacy Officer, The European Network on Statelessness, 4 November 2021. European States and regional institutions need to step-up and commit to clear actions to protect the rights of all children to a legal identity and nationality. This includes children born in conflict zones, for whom creative solutions to the specific barriers they face to birth registration and certification are required to prevent childhood statelessness. We think Europe has a key role to play in addressing this issue – here’s why – need to expand or omit these words.


Religion in Gender-Based Violence, Immigration, and Human Rights. Mary Nyangweso, Jacob K. Olupona (Eds.), March 31, 2021, Routledge.  This book builds on work that examines the interactions between immigration and gender-based violence, to explore how both the justification and condemnation of violence in the name of religion further complicates our societal relationships. Violence has been described as a universal challenge that is rooted in the social formation process. As humans seek to exert power on the other, conflict occurs. Gender based violence, immigration, and religious values have often intersected where patriarchy-based power is exerted on the other.
An international panel of contributors take a multidisciplinary approach to investigating three central themes. Firstly, the intersection between religion, immigration, domestic violence, and human rights. Secondly, the possibility of collaboration between various social units for the protection of immigrants’ human rights. Finally, the need to integrate faith-based initiatives and religious leaders into efforts to transform attitude formation and general social behavior.
This is a wide-ranging and multi-layered examination of the role of religion in gender-based violence and immigration. As such, it will be of keen interest to academics working in religious studies, gender studies, politics, and ethics.  https://www.routledge.com/Religion-in-Gender-Based-Violence-Immigration-and-Human-Rights/Nyangweso-Olupona/p/book/9780367785857?gclid=Cj0KCQiA15yNBhDTARIsAGnwe0V2PuFVLdIBfAZBh5H7ETu_Ld3PMsNPGQbNzZOJ16twej7pL7Q4k-EaAnUbEALw_wcB


The Lancet

Advancing racial and ethnic equity in science, medicine, and health: a call for papers. Mabel Chew, Pamela Das, Mandip Aujla, Richard Horton, The Lancet, September 27, 2021.  The Lancet will dedicate a theme issue to advancing racial and ethnic equity in science, medicine, and health, to be published in late 2022 or early 2023. We will be guided by GRacE’s international advisory board of leading multidisciplinary scholars and advocates for racial and ethnic equity to help us shape this theme issue. We call for content across all sections of the journal that goes beyond describing known health disparities and evaluates interventions to tackle racism and inequity in health. We expect authors to provide disaggregated data on race and ethnicity where possible. We seek evidence examining race and ethnicity as a construct existing within complex societal and environmental contexts, and with clear implications for practice and policy, and not misrepresented as a biological variable. We welcome submissions that take an intersectional approach, recognising the many factors that intertwine with race and ethnicity to shape lived experiences of advantage and disadvantage.
We wish to include voices of people experiencing health inequities and to celebrate stories of success, such as measures that have led to long-term improvement. We encourage contributions from scholars from marginalised racial and ethnic groups who have been systematically excluded from publishing in scientific journals to be lead authors on submissions. Further details of how to submit your paper are given in panel 1.
How to submit your paper for this theme issue
. Submissions to the advancing racial and ethnic equity in science, medicine, and health theme issue should be marked as such and submitted to The Lancet’s electronic submission system. All submissions will undergo normal peer review. GRacE’s international advisory board will assist with review of submissions and development of the theme issue. The deadline is Jan 31, 2022. 

South African Journal of Psychology

Call for Papers: Special Issue on Psychology and the Climate Emergency – South African Journal of Psychology (SAJP). Guest editors: Garret Barnwell, Brendon Barnes, and Lynn Hendricks.  A “code red for humanity” has been signaled by the United Nations (UN) after releasing the IPCC 2021 Sixth Assessment Report, which marked that climate change is rapidly intensifying. A 1.5°C threshold has been set by the international community, with global South nations warning that this threshold marks the difference between survival and life-threatening consequences. Climate change’s psychological and mental health consequences will be disproportionately felt by those in the global South or living on the margins of society. The IPCC calls for “deep cuts” in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst. This month world leaders, climate activists, and affected communities have descended on Glasgow for the UN Climate Summit to discuss the stakes and this urgent action needed. This special issue builds on a growing body of scholarship, see for example, American Journal of Community Psychology (2011), Community Psychology in Global Perspective (2020), Psychology in Society (forthcoming). Within this context, we invite submissions for a special issue on Psychology and the Climate Emergency in the South African Journal of Psychology.
The special issue welcomes manuscripts related to: psychological impacts of climate change; experiences of climate-exacerbated disasters; risk perceptions; resilience and adaptation; engaging governments, extractive and fossil fuel industries; public education and curriculum development; evaluating novel interventions; clinical case studies (intervention, group or community); community mobilisation; ethical case studies (e.g., engaging with statutory bodies); climate activism; climate anxiety; at-risk populations; psychologies’ roles in supporting climate action; climate inequities and mental health.
We welcome theoretical, position, policy and empirical papers. We also like to encourage manuscripts based on collaborations with early-career researchers to submit their manuscripts.
The deadline for submission is 28 February 2022. Please, follow the Manuscript Submission Guidelines, which details formatting and maximum length requirements. We look forward to receiving appropriate manuscripts, which should be emailed to sajp@psyssa.co.za , indicating that they are for the “Special Issue on Psychology and the Climate Emergency”. Contact the Lead Guest Editor with a query beforehand at sajp@psyssa.co.za, for the attention of Dr Garret Barnwell.

International Journal of Psychology

Special Issue Call for Papers – Psychology and Human Rights
International Journal of Psychology (IJP is the official journal of IUPsyS – the global umbrella organization for psychology)
The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was published in 1948, 3 years after the end of a war that brought the world to the brink of destruction. This Special Issue aims to showcase recent theoretical, methodological, empirical and practical advances in the psychology of human rights. Specifically, we are looking for articles that evaluate conceptual models and applications of psychology and human rights (including evidence-based practices) that have been implemented in different contexts, and new directions in research.  Topics may include, but are not limited to: the human rights of indigenous peoples, human rights in legal, mental health, penal and/or detention systems, human rights in national security and defense, military and civic behaviour, and displaced populations. Papers on the relationship between psychology, climate change and human rights are particularly encouraged. We are conscious that different cultures interpret human rights in different ways and hope that the issue will reflect this fact and draw attention to the impact of past colonialization, as well as new structures enabling the bearers of human rights and the states which have a duty to protect those rights to flourish. Papers from all disciplines within psychology are welcome.
Submission: Please email an abstract (no more than 500 words) for your proposed submission by January 1, 2022, to the Special Issue Editor, Derek Indoe (derek.indoe@gmail.com). Abstracts will be reviewed by the editor, and potential contributors will be selected based on the originality and rigor of the work, the overall diversity of topics, and the fit to the general theme of the Special Issue. Authors who are selected to develop full manuscripts will be notified within one month and will be given three months to submit their full manuscripts. Full manuscripts will follow the IJP submission guidelines and review process.


December 9, 2021:
Scholars at Risk Network.
Free to Think 2021 and Courage to Think Award. Thursday, Dec 09 2021 12:00 am. SAR invites members and the general public to save Thursday, December 9 for the release of Free to Think 2021, the annual report of SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project. The virtual symposium will bring together experts for conversation about key issues in the report, and a presentation of SAR’s annual Courage to Think award. 


Invitation to Share Real-Life Examples and Narratives
GNPHR colleagues and readers of the GNPHR Bulletin are invited!  We often hear your question: How can I contribute to the GNPHR? One of the best ways to learn about the intersection of psychology and human rights is to have some real-life examples.
So, we are inviting you to share your narratives and stories that describe your encounters with human rights issues in your professional life. You might describe an event that led you to ask questions about the role of human rights, or a time when you protected (or failed to protect) human rights, or advocated for what you saw as a human rights issue. The events might be in your clinical, research, academic, applied, or volunteer work.
We will compile these examples to help us all better understand how human rights issues can affect different aspects of our professional work. The best length is to stay under 1000 words. You can send your narrative / story (between approximately 600-1000 words) to Marlena Plavšić, marlena_plavsic@hotmail.com

GNPHR invites you to contribute to the blog series!! Blog-Opinion pieces can be on general human rights issues; human rights education or strategies for raising the profile of human rights within one’s institution or professional life. Students are welcome to submit a blog on human rights issues/topics from the perspective of students, including on student needs for learning about and addressing human rights. Please contact the GNPHR Blog editor (blogeditor@humanrightspsychology.org) with ideas for the blog  you would like to write!

GNPHR invites you to send articles/news/events about relevant human rights issues or activities for publication in the Bulletin, especially for next Bulletin’s highlights:  in December around the CRPD.

CONTACTS: Published by the Global Network of Psychologists for Human Rights – www.humanrightspsychology.org

Disclaimer: The website of the Global Network of Psychologists for Human Rights (GNPHR) contains articles, events and news about the domain where psychology and human rights intersect. The information presented in this Bulletin, does not imply that the GNPHR shares the views and beliefs in the articles.

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