The focus in this month’s Bulletin is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 18 October.
Table of Contents
Editor’s Note: Special Section on Poverty
In his State of the Union Address (January 1941), Franklin D. Roosevelt cited four essential human Freedoms as a foundation for the world – Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. These Freedoms developed into the UN Charter, created in 1945.
‘We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, …..’
And as a result, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948, in Paris. The core principle of the UDHR is the ‘Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family…’(preamble of the UDHR, 1948). The INHERENT DIGNITY of every person is the uncontested universal basic value of human rights.
The promise of a world with Freedom from Want has not come true. On the contrary, poverty is increasing, in absolute and relative terms as well as in extreme poverty. See for instance this table of the Gini coefficient – a measure of income inequality within countries.
The World Bank Group’s goals are to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. For almost 25 years, the number of people living in extreme poverty — currently defined as less than $2.15 per person per day — was steadily declining. But the trend was interrupted in 2020, when poverty rose due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis combined with the effects of conflict and climate change — which had already been slowing poverty reduction.
Decreased income, job losses, fewer educational opportunities and less access to health services during the pandemic were especially damaging to poor households. Women, youth, low-wage and informal workers, especially those living in urban areas, were among the hardest hit. Inequality rose within countries and between countries, with long-term impacts on access to opportunity and to social mobility. COVID-19 leaves a legacy of rising poverty and widening inequality
The decline in income has translated into a sharp increase in global poverty. About 97 million more people are living now on less than $1.90 a day because of the pandemic, increasing the global poverty rate from 7.8 to 9.1 percent; 163 million more are living on less than $5.50 a day.
Poverty is a permanent violation of basic human rights. People who live in poor conditions are the most excluded people, often excluded from education, from health services, and from participating in political, social and cultural institutions. It is clear that this has psychological consequences for them and for society. It is a necessary and difficult task for us psychologists to figure out what we can do to make the conditions in which people live dignified.
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, October 18
2022 Theme: Dignity For All in Practice
The commitments we make together for social justice, peace, and the planet
Dignity for all in practice is the umbrella theme of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty for 2022-2023. The dignity of the human being is not only a fundamental right in itself but constitutes the basis of all other fundamental rights. Therefore, “Dignity” is not an abstract concept: it belongs to each and every one. Today, many people living in persistent poverty experience their dignity being denied and disrespected.
With the commitment to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people everywhere enjoy peace and prosperity, the 2030 Agenda again gestured toward the same promise established under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet, the current reality shows that 1.3 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty with almost half of them children and youth.
Inequalities of opportunities and income are sharply on the rise and, each year, the gap between the rich and poor gets even wider. In the past year, as millions struggle through the erosion of workers’ rights and job quality to make it to another day, corporate power and the wealth of the billionaire class have recorded an unprecedented rise.
The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to 17 October 1987. On that day, over a hundred thousand people gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris , where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948, to honour the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. They proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected. These convictions are inscribed in a commemorative stone unveiled on this day. Since then, people of all backgrounds, beliefs and social origins have gathered every year on October 17th to renew their commitment and show their solidarity with the poor. Replicas of the commemorative stone have been unveiled around the world and serve as a gathering place to celebrate the Day. One such replica is located in the garden of United Nations Headquarters and is the site of the annual commemoration organized by the United Nations Secretariat in New York .
People’s stories of struggle and solidarity. Learn about initiatives worldwide that are making a difference. http://overcomingpoverty.org/people-s-stories
Inspired actions by “Hidden dimensions of Poverty” .Martinien Moukete, from Cameroon, works with the “Bonassama Association of Enterprising Youth”, on the Cameroon coast. He is also a correspondent for the Forum for overcoming extreme poverty. Because of this, he wants to share how close the research of “Hidden dimensions of poverty” is to what his teams are living on the ground.
Readings on Poverty
Poverty and Human Rights. Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Edited by Suzanne Egan, and Anna Chadwick, 2021. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Reflecting on the concrete experiences of particular countries in tackling poverty, it appraises the international success of human rights-based approaches. Drawing on insights from philosophy, history, economics and politics, contributors consider a range of questions concerning the nature of human rights and their possible relationship to poverty, inequality and development. Chapters interrogate human rights-based approaches and question whether the normative human rights framework provides a sound foundation for addressing global poverty and equitable distribution of resources. Probing practical questions concerning the extent to which international human rights institutions have been effective in combating poverty, this thought-provoking book considers possible strategies in response to the challenges that lie ahead.
Multidisciplinary critique on, and solutions to, the human (rights) causes and consequences of global poverty. Review of Poverty and Human Rights: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, by Anne Becker, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Human Rights Education Review, 07-09-2022.
Human Rights and 21st Century Challenges. Poverty, Conflict, and the Environment. Edited by: Dapo Akande, Jaakko Kuosmanen, Helen McDermott, and Dominic Roser , Oxford University Press 2020.
The world is faced with significant and interrelated challenges in the 21st century which threaten human rights in a number of ways. This book examines three of the largest issues of the century – armed conflict, environment, and poverty – and examines how these may be addressed using a human rights framework.
Poverty and Human Rights: A Peril and a Promise. Sandra Fredman. This chapter argues that human rights and the SDGs should work together to eliminate extreme poverty. The goals articulated in the SDG agenda should be closely tied to legally binding human rights instruments so that they are viewed as entitlements, rather than policy aspirations. Conversely, the SDGs should be used to provide detailed content to binding human rights. This requires a reconfiguration of human rights, and particularly the traditional assumptions that the role of human rights is to protect individuals against state interference, which militates against effective engagement of human rights in addressing poverty. Instead, freedom requires the state to facilitate realization of individual capabilities; individuals should be regarded as achieving fulfilment through social relationships; and equality should be substantive rather than formal. From these starting points, poverty can be seen to be a gross violation of human rights, requiring immediate and concerted action from state and non-state actors alike.
A Psychosocial and Human Rights Investigation into Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom, Nicola Warren, Essex Student Journal 10(1), 2019.
This essay will examine the issue of poverty in the United Kingdom (UK), drawing on its definition as a lack of adequate resources to provide the necessities of life. It will also address the issue of social exclusion, examining the experience as one that is made up of multiple deprivations, including poverty, exclusion from the labour market, services and social relations (Gordon, et al., 2000). It will use a psychosocial approach to investigate poverty and social exclusion in the UK, showing how they affect individuals on multiple levels, as well as negatively impacting society at large. It will demonstrate how poverty and social exclusion are human rights issues. Moreover, it will refute the prevalent discourse levelled at social security benefit recipients, that is to say, the claim that they are lazy or inherently lacking in some trait or quality (Froggett, 2002; Baillie, 2011; Van der Bom et al., 2017). My key argument is that it is social structures and political and economic institutions which create and maintain socioeconomic inequalities, perpetuating the status quo.
Bringing the Power of Psychology to the Fight Against Deep Poverty (APA)
“Psychologists have contributed greatly to the understanding of poverty in general and deep poverty in particular. Poverty is dehumanizing and physically and psychologically harmful to children and adults, with negative effects that accumulate over time. Poverty results from scarce resources and complex systems of oppression rather than “bad choices” or “poor character.” Too often the strength and resilience of people experiencing poverty are obscured by the multi-layered, complex challenges they face.
The Psychology of Poverty: Evidence from the Field. Adria Molotsky, Sudhanshu Handa. Journal of African Economies, Volume 30, Issue 3, June 2021, Pages 207–224,
“Individuals living in poverty are less likely to save and plan for the future, behaviour traditionally attributed to liquidity constraints and the associated need to address immediate consumption. Recent work on the behavioural consequences of poverty suggests that poverty induces stress and negative affect, which themselves directly influence economic decisions. We test this hypothesis using evaluation data from a national cash transfer program in Malawi in which some eligible households were randomly assigned to receive the transfer before others. We find that cash transfer reduces stress and improves positive affect, and positive affect has a direct effect on economic decisions.”
How Poverty Affects the Brain and Behavior (APS Observer)
“Poverty holds a seemingly unbreakable grip on families, neighborhoods, cities, and entire countries. It stretches from one generation to the next, trapping individuals in a socioeconomic pit that is nearly impossible to ascend. Part of the fuel for poverty’s unending cycle is its suppressing effects on individuals’ cognitive development, executive functioning, and attention, as four scientists demonstrated during the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science, held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.”
Report on Poverty and Human Rights in the Americas (2017)
“A human rights approach opens up a new perspective for efforts to eradicate poverty, based on respect for the dignity and autonomy of persons living in poverty, and empowers them to effectively participate in public life, in particular in the design of public policy.13 In this way, a human rights approach constitutes a tool for improving and strengthening legislation, practices, and public policies for tackling poverty, by promoting clear efforts to perfect the day-to-day performance of democratic institutions.”
Breaking the Poverty Trap – Human Rights Watch
“Human Rights Watch has long documented how, when people live in poverty, their ability to exercise all their human rights erodes. Because of this, we have pushed governments to end abuses that contribute to poverty. We have recently decided to bolster this work and expand it to include economic inequality. Senior Researcher Komala Ramachandra speaks with Amy Braunschweiger about the change, and why the fight against poverty and extreme inequality is core to human rights.”
An explanatory model of poverty from the perspective of social psychology and human rights.
Alfonso Pérez–Muñoz, Fernando Chacón and Rosario Martínez Arias, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spanish journal of Psychology, December 2015
Poverty is a social problem, according to UNESCO’s conceptual classification: 6310:08 (see http://www. et.bs.ehu.es/varios/unesco.htm). This social problem is currently considered by experts and leading international organizations one of the world’s major problems.
In this situation, created, justified and maintained by individuals and groups within society, and, therefore, mainly psychosocial, psychology cannot remain as a neutral observer. Psychology cannot excuse its lack of intervention with the more or less objective criteria that poverty is reduced to political, legal, economic and/or cultural approaches. Furthermore, it cannot be assumed that, in terms of poverty, the social aspect is reduced to the study of the psychosocial consequences of poverty and not the psychosocial and sociostructural analysis of its processes and causes.
To date, and largely contradicting the above, the existing studies performed from a psychological perspective have only explored the psychological consequences of living in conditions of poverty; with no reference, therefore, to its causes or processes, and not considering poverty as it really is: a social problem, promoted, justified and maintained by the attitudes, interests, beliefs, values and behaviors of individuals and groups within society.
Regarding these approaches and justifications, a doctoral research study (Perez, 2013) was performed with the following objectives: (a) to identify and define the main variables that are part of the concept, dimensions and causes of poverty; and (b) to design and contrast an explanatory model on the promotion, justification and maintenance of poverty. This research was conducted in four progressive and complementary studies: an Exploratory Study (after which a proposal for a Processual Explanatory Model of Poverty was designed); a Pilot Study and an Expert Judgment (by which the questionnaire measuring the different variables of the model was validated), and a Final Study where the hypotheses of the Model were contrasted. The present article reports the main approaches and results of the Final Study’s contrast of the Model’s hypotheses.
Critical psychology in an unjust world a tribute to Tod Sloan How tuning psychology to the real needs of people: Contribution for the process of facing adverse living conditions. Raquel Guzzo, PUC-Campinas, Academia Letters, August 2021
Considering Psychology in Latin America a colonized profession and science, the challenge has been to promote actions and knowledge that enable the confrontation of people and groups to the adverse conditions of life, as well as to strengthen the social organizations that militate for the conquest of basic rights. The Critical and Community Perspective of Psychology presented by Tod Sloan’s work, his commitment to the development of organized and strong people and groups has been the path we have sought to develop. Challenges to be overcome within and outside the profession in Brazil make the absence of Tod intense and irreparable and his work an indispensable instrument for those who desire Psychology as an scientific, politic and professional instrument to be at the service of the real needs of people and groups.
GNPHR NEWS AND EVENTS
Psychology Organizations and Human Rights
The Network of Human Rights Groups in Psychology Associations is open to representatives of psychology associations that have established a committee, office, or subgroup focused on psychology and human rights. If you are interested in joining the group please register your interest here https://humanrightspsychology.org/home/about/interest-form-gnphr-working-group/
GNPHR Webinar Series – Human Rights and Psychology
Next Webinar: November 18, 2022 – 10 am EDT, 4 pm CET
Playing together: children’s human rights and psychology, by Kerstin Soderstrom and Ragnhild Dybdahl. Register here
View all webinars in series here https://humanrightspsychology.org/webinarseries
CONTENT AREAS AND NEWS
Network of Concerned Historians NCH Annual Report 2022. This twenty-eighth Annual Report of the Network of Concerned Historians (NCH) contains news about the domain where history and human rights intersect, in particular about the censorship of history and the persecution of historians, archivists, and archaeologists around the globe, as reported by various human rights organizations and other sources. It mainly covers events and developments of 2021 and 2022. http://www.concernedhistorians.org/ar/22.pdf
The Rafto Prize 2022 to Nodjigoto Charbonnel: Fighting torture and defending the human rights of torture survivors
The Rafto Prize 2022 is awarded to Nodjigoto Charbonnel and his organization Association Jeunesse pour la Paix et la Non-Violence (AJPNV), for their courageous struggle to abolish torture in Chad.
Read the Award Statement here
In the context of authoritarianism, terrorism, war on terror and institutionalized violence, and at great personal risk, Charbonnel and his team assist survivors in rebuilding their lives after torture, and advocate the protection of human rights, and the prevention of torture and sexual violence by providing human rights education for youth and civil society.
Decolonization / Indigenization
The Decolonization of Psychology or the Science of the Soul, Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, Spirituality Studies, Spting 2021.
Since the inception of psychology as a distinct field of study in the modern West, it has been widely regarded as the only valid form of this discipline, supplanting all other accounts of the mind and human behavior. The modern West is unique in having produced the only psychology that consciously severed itself from metaphysics and spiritual principles. The momentous intellectual revolutions inaugurated by the Renaissance and the European Enlightenment further entrenched the prejudices of its purely secular and reductionist approach. Yet, across the diverse cultures of the world, we find spiritual traditions that embrace a fully integrated psychology, unsullied by the limitations of the modern scientific method.
It is only by grounding psychology on a foundation of sacred and universal truths – found in all traditional civilizations – that we can begin to restore a true science of the soul that addresses the entire gamut of human needs and possibilities.
Human Rights Education
What Can Decolonial Critiques & Critical Pedagogy Teach the Field of Human Rights Education?
Peter Simpson, Current Issues in Comparative Education (CICE), Volume 23, Issue 2, Special Issue 2021.
Human rights education (HRE) is a practice that endeavors to fully develop the human personality and strengthen respect for fundamental freedoms (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). Despite the prevalence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) however, William Foley offers a critical reading of the human rights field and its underlying assumptions, motivated by participatory and transformative critiques.
These critiques identify gaps and slippages that frequently undergird contemporary approaches to human rights education. In doing so, Foley challenges students, scholars and practitioners to consider the mass dissemination of human rights in privileging Western ideologies and practices. He argues for critical pedagogy to be more thoroughly embedded in the teaching of human rights education, allowing for the reimagination of the field as we currently know it. In this review, I offer an overview of decolonial critiques and critical pedagogy and apply them to the field of human rights education. Engaging with these critiques provides an alternative understanding of mainstream approaches to human rights and its teaching. Doing so also offers several possibilities for the reenactment of human rights that counter the dominance of the field’s predication on asymmetrical power relations and Western epistemologies.
Suggestions for Critical Awareness, Accountability, and Transformation in Human Rights Education. William J. Foley Jr., Current Issues in Comparative Education(CICE), Volume 23, Issue 1, Winter 2021.
Current Human Rights Education exists as an implementing entity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Scholars such as Andre Keet and others have criticized the dissemination of universal rights through education because it covets Western ideology over local ethical and epistemological constructs. Using Tibbitts’ revised typologies of Human Rights Education, this paper offers suggestions for critical pedagogy for the teaching of, for, and through Human Rights. These suggestions are drawn from examples of critical practice from throughout the world.
REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS NEWS
The InterAmerican Society of Psychology (SIP) has formed a Psychology and Human Rights Commission
… There are two objectives for the Commission. First, to promote continuing education, research, and psychological intervention in Human Rights. Second, to promote a place to establish dialogues for the development of Human Rights. Third, to show the evidence of human rights violations. Therefore, the contribution of the Commission is to promote, educate, and action toward human rights taking into consideration the Interamerican Society of Psychology perspective in the region.
Side Event to the 51st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Protection of human rights defenders in light of threats and killings committed by non-state actors – lessons learned from Colombia and Lebanon
Wednesday, October 5, 10 AM – 12 PM (Geneva Time) @ Graduate Institute Geneva (Auditorium A2) or Online
Targeted killings of human rights defenders by non-state actors are a global phenomenon taking place in an increasingly shrinking space for civil society. These killings have become a tool through which perpetrators eliminate perceived critics and opponents to their ideology or economic and/or political interests. Impunity for these crimes stifle peaceful dissent and civil society engagement, silence political or economic opposition, and extinguish critical public dialogue. What role do official state authorities have in preventing and responding to these kinds of killings? How can United Nations instruments and mechanisms, such as the Human Rights Council, engage with this issue?
To discuss these questions and learn from the case studies of Lebanon and Colombia, UMAM Documentation & Research, the Lokman Slim Foundation, Dar al-Jadeed, and the Centre on Conflict, Development & Peacebuilding (CCDP) at the Graduate Institute, invite you to this side event during the 51st UN Human Rights Council Session, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Germany in Geneva.
The event will take place under Chatham House rules. Please register through this link for in-person attendance, and online attendance is possible through this link.
Words of welcome by Dr. Annyssa Bellal, Senior Researcher at the Graduate Institute’s Center on Conflict, Development, and Peacebuilding.
- Lebanon: Nadim Shehadi, former Executive Director of Lebanese American University’s New York Headquarters & Academic Centerand an Associate Fellow at Chatham House.
- Colombia: Juan Pappier, Human Rights Watch Americas senior researcher, author of the HRW report “Left Undefended”(via video link) and Shoshana Levy, UNHCR-appointed judge at the French Appeal Court for Asylum and former Legal and Field Officer at the United Nations Mission of Verification in Colombia (UNVMC).
- Morris Tidball-Binz, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
- Erica Harper, Head of Research and Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy, where she leads the Academy’s work on non-state actors among other areas.
Followed by an open Q&A.
Moderated by Fritz Streiff, International Criminal and Human Rights Lawyer and Podcaster.
November 6-9: 9th World Congress on Women’s Mental Health
International Association for Women’s Mental Health
6 – 9 November 2022 | MECC Maastricht – The Netherlands
November 15-16; Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (español)
Save the date!
Join Scholars at Risk and our partners on the for an inaugural regional conference on academic freedom in the Americas this November 10th and 11th. The event will take place online and in person, at Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico. The Coalition–led by University of Ottawa’s Human Rights Research and Education Centre, Universidad de Monterrey, and SAR–will bring together civil society, researchers, academics, and students for this hybrid event, which will set the agenda for best practices in protecting and promoting academic freedom in the region.
We are currently seeking applications from prospective panelists and would welcome a wide range of contributions, from country-focused assessments of academic freedom to the adoption of academic freedom policies by higher education institutions. To contribute to the conference, make a submission in response to this call for papers. Follow @CAFA-CLAA to learn more.
And more good news. The Coalition has been invited by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to be a part of an academic network and to support their work monitoring and implementing the new Inter-American Principles on Academic Freedom and University Autonomy throughout the region. This network was established in 2021, with SAR and its partners as inaugural members. The invitation to engage for a second year in this work and maintain our partnership with the IACHR is a significant positive sign for our work in the Americas going forward. All work we couldn’t be doing without each of you.
NOVEMBER 17-19, 2022: 17th Symposium on the Contributions of Psychology to Peace
Peace Psychology and Global Challenges in 2022, 17-19 November 2022, Online
The theme of the International Network of Peace Psychology’s 17th biennial symposium is “Peace Psychology and Global Challenges in 2022.” The event will be held online over three days from 17-19 November (18-20 November for those in Australia/New Zealand). The symposium aims to bring together scholars, practitioners, and activists committed to promoting peace and social justice through their research and practice to discuss the pressing issues facing our world today. Invited speakers include Prof. Winnifred Louis, Prof. Wilson López, and Prof. Emeritus Dan Christie.
Call for Abstracts
The symposium organisers are currently seeking abstract submissions to the following streams:
- Young people and peace
- Culture, religion and peace-building
- Social movements and political and social transformation
- War, conflict and peace-building
To submit your abstract, please complete this form. Abstract submissions close on 31 August 2022.
Submissions from presenters living in countries affected by armed conflict are encouraged. Accepted presentations may contribute to a special issue of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology.
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.
Ways to Participate in Global Network Activities
- Student/young person representation on the GNPHR Steering Committee
Are you a student or young person (under 35 years of age) interested in joining the GNPHR Steering Committee? The GNPHR invites applications. Role description: The terms of reference broadly define the roles of all members of the steering group. Individual steering committee member tasks include : Each member will take responsibility for one of the following: (a) A specific content area or group of areas; (b) A specific project (e.g. survey of human rights reporting mechanisms; survey of educational programs in psychology/human rights, etc); (c) A specific function: for example, organizing a newsletter; soliciting commentary or newsletter blogs; seeking grant possibilities; outreach to general human rights organizations; outreach to psychology organizations or (d) Consultation: Working in collaboration with other organisations where there is a specific issue. In addition, from time-to-time, short-term subgroups may work on specific projects. In addition, for the student member, there would be a specific remit to liaise with other organisations that are focussed on younger people, psychology and human rights. Click here if you are interested in being nominated.
- Share Your Experiences and Examples
One of the best ways to illustrate the intersection of psychology and human rights is through example. We are looking for examples of your encounters with human rights issues in your professional life. You might describe 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. Please send your narrative / story (500-1000 words) to Marlena Plavšić (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will compile these for publication in the GNPHR Bulletin and on the website. Please also indicate if you would like your stories to remain anonymous.
- Share your Expertise and Opinions
We invite you to contribute a blog or opinion piece on general human rights issues; human rights education or strategies for raising the profile of human rights within psychology or your professional life. Students are welcome to contribute, including on student needs for learning about and addressing human rights. Please contact the GNPHR Blog editor (email@example.com) with ideas for the article you would like to write!
- Send articles/news/events
If you come across a human rights article or news, or know of an upcoming hunman rights event, please send for publication in the Bulletin. Send to the Bulletin editor Polli Hagenaars (firstname.lastname@example.org).