“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…”
Now 60 years old, these opening words from the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights illuminate with compelling clarity the profound consequences of human rights abuses. But despite international efforts to combat them, mass killing, torture, slavery, gender-based violence, and other human rights violations occur worldwide every day.
Psychology is deeply involved in this central challenge from multiple perspectives. Perpetrators are often driven by psychological factors: vengeance, blind obedience to authority, the intoxicating effects of power, and the dehumanizing and demonizing of those who are different. At the same time, psychological barriers frequently discourage individuals or nations from intervening. These obstacles include fear, apathy, denial, perceived helplessness, and diffusion of responsibility. And some of the most tragic consequences of human rights abuses are psychological as well, including the trauma experienced by victims of torture and their families and the humiliation experienced by groups who are oppressed. For all of these reasons, the promotion and protection of human rights represents a core commitment of Psychologists for Social Responsibility and our Program on Human Rights and Psychology.
Links and Resources to Learn More and Take Action
American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU works daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
American Friends Service Committee
The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC's work attracts the support and partnership of people of many races, religions, and cultures.
Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all.
Center for Constitutional Rights
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-International (CATW) is a non-governmental organization that promotes women's human rights by working internationally to combat sexual exploitation in all its forms.
The Center for Justice & Accountability
CJA is an international human rights organization dedicated to ending torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress.
The Center for Victims of Torture
CVT works to heal the wounds of torture on individuals, their families and their communities and to stop torture worldwide.
Detainee Interrogations, Physicians, & Psychologists
This webpage from Dr. Kenneth Pope’s website provides citations of over 250 articles, books, and chapters addressing the ongoing torture controversy.
This new website offers social commentary in words and images from PsySR member, psychologist and photographer, Bob Parker.
Global Workers Justice Alliance
The mission of the Global Workers Justice Alliance is to combat worker exploitation by promoting portable justice for transnational migrants through a cross-border network of worker advocates and resources.
Human Rights First
Human Rights First protects people at risk: refugees who flee persecution, victims of crimes against humanity or other mass human rights violations, victims of discrimination, those whose rights are eroded in the name of national security, and human rights advocates who are targeted for defending the rights of others.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, HRW gives voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes.
The purpose of this Web site is to bring Government and NGOs in the East Asia and Pacific together to cooperate and learn from each other’s experiences in their efforts to combat human trafficking. This Web site has country-specific information such as national laws and action plans and contact information on useful governmental agencies. It also has a description of NGO activities in different countries and their contact information.
The Ignacio Martín-Baró Fund
The fund supports progressive, grassroots groups throughout the world who are challenging institutional repression and confronting the mental health consequences of violence and injustice in their communities.
International Committee of the Red Cross
ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence.
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) is an independent, international health professional organisation that promotes and supports the rehabilitation of torture victims and works for the prevention of torture worldwide.
Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights mobilizes health professionals to advance health, dignity, and justice and promotes the right to health for all. Harnessing the specialized skills, rigor, and passion of doctors, nurses, public health specialists, and scientists, PHR investigates human rights abuses and works to stop them.
Psyche, Science, and Society
This website offers the thoughts of PsySR member and End Torture Action Committee co-chair Stephen Soldz on war, peace, politics, psychoanalysis, and research methods.
School of the Americas Watch
SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas, under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work.
Southern Poverty Law Center
SPLC is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists and its tracking of hate groups.
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International
TASSC is an organization founded by and for torture survivors. It’s mission is to end the practice of torture wherever it occurs and to empower survivors, their families and communities wherever they are.
United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) represents the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. The OHCHR has a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights.