The Human Rights Committee at the Norwegian Psychological Association: 20 years of work and future challenges

The close connection between psychology and human rights is discussed through a presentation of the Human Rights Committee in the Norwegian Psychological Association.

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The importance of human rights education for a human rights-based approach in psychology is highlighted. The article describes the political events and the strengthening of the international human rights field that inspired the establishment of the committee and the definition of its goals. Main areas are presented, such as the psychological needs of refugees and their rights in resettlement countries, including the right to rehabilitation of victims of torture and the situation for separated minors seeking asylum, and their need for protection and care. Furthermore, human rights in mental health care, focusing on the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as children’s rights, and state obligations to prevent violence and abuse are central concerns. The right not to be discriminated or marginalized is emphasized and the need for psychologists to be involved in protection against discrimination. An international perspective focusing on psychologists involved in human rights abuses or psychologists themselves under threat is discussed as part of the committee’s engagement. The close collaboration with civil society organizations has enabled the committee to work with alternative reports to international monitoring mechanisms as part of periodic reporting, both to UN Treaty bodies and to the UN Human Rights Council (Universal Periodic Review). Finally, the importance of human rights-based psychology, and how joint initiatives can strengthen respect and promotion of rights, are reflected upon.

European Psychologist, 2019, 24 (2),102-112,

Published July 30, 2019 12:54 PM - Last modified Jan. 9, 2020 2:13 PM