Roseanne L. Flores is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a Faculty Associate of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College and a member of the Public Policy and Human Rights faculty.
On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights due to the atrocities faced by the global community after World War II. The UDHR, while nonbinding, argues that all persons are “born free with dignity and rights” and calls for nation-states to promote and protect the fundamental human rights of all peoples regardless of “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” 1
Today as we celebrate Human Rights Day 2022, we are reminded that while much has changed since World War II, the rights of many individuals worldwide continue to be violated and denied. In part due to wars, food insecurity, migration, disease, racism and discrimination, poverty, lack of access to education, gender-based violence, misinformation, and climate change.
The MY World 2030 survey was launched to ensure that all individuals worldwide have input into achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Young people and adults ages 15 -45, across all genders worldwide, took and continue to take the survey to raise their voices. They have said that good health and well-being, decent work and economic growth, gender equality, access to clean water and sanitation, access to high-quality education, and an end to poverty are their major priorities. They want the world to know that they must not be left behind and that their rights must be front and center to ensure the achievement of the SDGs.. 2
In 2020 for the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres challenged nation-states to give the world “hope” by upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights principles. The call to action focuses on seven thematic areas:
- The achievement of the sustainable development goals.
- The protection of rights in times of crisis.
- Gender equality.
- Ensuring the right to access public space and engagement.
- Ensuring healthy environments and climate justice.
- Addressing inequalities around technology and,
- Providing global solutions to global challenges. 3
If implemented, this call to action would reaffirm the global community’s commitment to human rights.
To tackle the erosion of human rights and ensure the attainment of the SDGs the United Nations has launched a yearlong campaign in preparation for the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 2023. The campaign aims to promote dignity, freedom, and justice through education, and supporting and empowering all people to advocate for their rights.4
Psychologists can support this work by providing human rights education and training to students, academics, and professional psychologists, making them aware of their role in protection and promotion of human rights. Moreover, psychologists can work with parents, schools, communities, and other stakeholders to promote the values, beliefs, and attitudes that inspire all individuals to respect and protect their dignity, rights, and freedoms. And finally, given the breadth of the field of psychology, psychologists should partner with other human rights organizations to provide evidence-based training around tackling such problems as climate change, misinformation, conflict resolution, racism and discrimination, education, gender-based violence, and other challenges faced by the global community. 5,6,7
As we celebrate Human Rights Day 2022 and engage in the yearlong campaign launched by the United Nations to promote, respect, and recognize every person’s dignity and human rights, it is my hope that we will move closer to the ideals adopted by the General Assembly in 1948 to protect and promote the fundamental universal rights of all people everywhere.
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights https://www.ohchr.org/en/universal-declaration-of-human-rights
- MY World Survey 2030. https://myworld2030.org/
- United Nations (2020). The Highest Aspiration A Call to Action for Human Rights. https://www.un.org/en/content/action-for-human-rights/index.shtml
- UDHR 75: Human Rights Day 2022 https://www.ohchr.org/en/get-involved/campaign/human-rights-day/udhr-75?gclid=CjwKCAiAs8acBhA1EiwAgRFdw8Z2n2g6dUKwkI6hRlOoRwkI3vsYPe-YznU6wP0xlOX3uSDs39qqdxoCuxwQAvD_BwE
- Psychology Matters for Human Rights, Human Rights Matters for Psychology. https://humanrightspsychology.org/
- American Psychological Association. Misinformation https://www.apa.org/topics/journalism-facts/misinformation-disinformation
- American Psychological Association. Topics in Psychology https://www.apa.org/topics