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European psychologists give strong support to human rights

09 December 2017

Psychologists can help to overcome or at least reduce the most severe consequences of human rights violations says EFPA – the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations.

The federation, which represents more than 300 000 psychologists from 37 European countries, has issued a statement to mark Human Rights Day 2017,

EFPA’s statement makes a strong appeal, especially to those with political responsibility, to use the day, 10 December 2017, as an opportunity to raise awareness on Human Rights and their immense value for our common world society.

It emphasises that human rights violations damage society as a whole, not just the individuals affected.

The statement says:

“Psychologists can help to overcome or at least reduce the most severe consequences of human rights violations. They have expertise of handling depression and trauma and they apply this professional knowledge when they work, for example, in refugee camps. They know about the conditions to be fulfilled so that victims may feel integrated into society of humans again.

“And, psychologists can help to overcome the severe consequences of the refusal of economic, social and cultural rights as well as of civil and political rights when they deliver their expertise in governmental and non-governmental institutions responsible for the integration into the education and employment system.”

Nicola Gale, President of the British Psychological Society, says:

“Practising psychologists can encounter issues of human rights on a daily basis, particularly when working with people who are vulnerable by reason for example of being detained, or who may be socially excluded.

“All psychologists’ work is in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in the UK the Human Rights Act.  Our Practice Guidelines emphasise the importance of socially inclusive practice which is the process where the needs of all members of communities and the groups which constitute them are recognised, prioritised and met, resulting in those individuals feeling valued and respected. 

“We also support public services’ adherence to FREDA principles – that’s Fairness, Respect, Equality, Dignity and Autonomy – thereby ensuring that human rights are an integral part of care not an add on.”

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