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Psychology Coalition at the United Nations

 

Mission

The Psychology Coalition at the United Nations (PCUN) is composed of representatives of psychology and psychology-related organizations that are Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) accredited at the United Nations (UN) and those affiliated with United Nations departments, agencies and missions.

Members of the PCUN collaborate in the application of psychological principles, science, and practice to global challenges of the UN agenda. The PCUN seeks to accomplish this overarching aim through advocacy, research, education and policy and program development guided by psychological knowledge and perspectives to promote human dignity, human rights, psychosocial well being and positive mental health.

About Us

The field of psychology addresses a wide range of topics including but not limited to decision-making, learning, motivation, leadership, prejudice, poverty, violence, decent work, gender equality, environmental sustainability, happiness, and well-being. Governments, UN agencies, and civil society organizations can better accomplish their goals by understanding the psychological factors underlying the challenges they work to address.

To facilitate this understanding, the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations (PCUN) was formed. The PCUN consists of a variety of national and international psychology organizations. PCUN members represent many different areas of psychology, including clinical, developmental, social, counseling, school, educational, environmental, and industrial-organizational psychology.
Members of the PCUN participate in a variety of NGO committees such as the committees on:

  • Ageing
  • Human Rights
  • Migration
  • Population and Development
  • Social Development
  • Status of Women

PCUN members also work with UN member states, as well as UN agencies such as UNESCO, the International Labour Organization, and the UNDP.

To help inform solutions to pressing global problems, the PCUN develops statements offering an evidence-based position on a range of issue relevant to the UN and its constituents. Each statement draws from psychology-related research and intervention strategies to expand readers’ understanding of complex issues, providing culturally sensitive positions and recommendations based on accepted findings from the science of psychology. These statements are available for download from the PCUN web site.

2016-2017 PCUN Executive Committee

President: Florence Denmark, Ph.D.
President -Elect: David Livert, Ph.D.
Past Chair: Ani Kalajyian, Ed.D.
Secretary: Harold Takooshian, Ph.D.
Treasurer: John Scott, Ph.D.

Program Committee Chair: Rachel Ravich, Ph.D.
Advocacy Committee Chair: Leslie Popoff, Ph.D., David Marcotte, Ph.D.
Publicity Committee Chair: Harold Takooshian, Ph.D.
Finance Committee Chair: Mat Osicki, Ph.D.
Psychology Day Committee: David Marcotte, Ph.D.

Ex Officio: Corann Okorodudu, Ed.D. (Past-Chair); Merry Bullock, Ph.D. (Webmaster)

 

 

Next PCUN Meeting – January 19 2017

Next PCUN meeting will be on Thursday January 19, 2017 at CUNY Graduate Center, 10:15-11:45Read the rest

Next PCUN meeting will be on Thursday January 19, 2017 at CUNY Graduate Center, 10:15-11:45

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on November 29, 2016



Upcoming Event

Upcoming events – February – March 2016

Meaningful World Association for Trauma Outreach & Prevention
Date: March 24, 2016
Flyer Link

Humanicy Presents International Day of Happiness
Date: March 20, 2016
Flyer Link

Psychological Science & Violence: A Global Call to Action
Date: February 8, 2016
Flyer Link

World Interfaith Harmony Week
February 4, 2016
Flyer LinkRead the rest

Upcoming events – February – March 2016

Meaningful World Association for Trauma Outreach & Prevention
Date: March 24, 2016
Flyer Link

Humanicy Presents International Day of Happiness
Date: March 20, 2016
Flyer Link

Psychological Science & Violence: A Global Call to Action
Date: February 8, 2016
Flyer Link

World Interfaith Harmony Week
February 4, 2016
Flyer Link

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on January 27, 2016



PCUN Meeting at the UN

Next meeting will be on Thursday Feb. 18, 2016 at 10:15am – 11:45am @Church Center, 44st & 1Ave. 7th floor Presbyterian room.

picture of the PCUN meetingRead the rest

Next meeting will be on Thursday Feb. 18, 2016 at 10:15am – 11:45am @Church Center, 44st & 1Ave. 7th floor Presbyterian room.

picture of the PCUN meeting

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on January 27, 2016



PCUN Co-Sponsored UN Events Jan 2015- Feb 2016

Respectfully Submitted by Rachel Ravich, Ph.D., Program Co-Chair of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs Accredited at the UN (PCUN)

[Download this as a PDF]

February 10, 2015, 53rd Commission for Social Development, Side Event: “The Impact of Climate Change on Children’s Health and Well Being”, UNHQ. Chair: Dr. Rachel Ravich, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, PCUN; Speakers: Dr. Alex Heikens, Climate & Environment, UNICEF, Ms. Maaike Jansen, United Nations Environment Programme, Dr. Susan Clayton, College at Wooster, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Dr. Elizabeth Haase, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Sponsors: The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Co-sponsors: PCUN, The NGO Health Committee, International Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, NGO Committee on Children’s Rights, NGO Committee on the Family, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

March 9, 2015Read the rest

Respectfully Submitted by Rachel Ravich, Ph.D., Program Co-Chair of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs Accredited at the UN (PCUN)

[Download this as a PDF]

February 10, 2015, 53rd Commission for Social Development, Side Event: “The Impact of Climate Change on Children’s Health and Well Being”, UNHQ. Chair: Dr. Rachel Ravich, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, PCUN; Speakers: Dr. Alex Heikens, Climate & Environment, UNICEF, Ms. Maaike Jansen, United Nations Environment Programme, Dr. Susan Clayton, College at Wooster, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Dr. Elizabeth Haase, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Sponsors: The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Co-sponsors: PCUN, The NGO Health Committee, International Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, NGO Committee on Children’s Rights, NGO Committee on the Family, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

March 9, 2015, 59th Commission on the Status of Women Parallel Event: “Women’s Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Post 2015 Agenda”, Armenian Convention Centre. Chair: Dr. Corann Okorodudu, Rowan University, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, PCUN. Speakers: Dr. Padmini Murthy, Medical Women’s International Association, Ms. Grace Charrier, International Association of Applied Psychology, Dr. Yvonne Rafferty, Pace University, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Dr. Judy Kuriansky, PCUN, Dr. Janet Sigal, American Psychological Association, Dr. Florence Denmark, International Council of Psychologists and PCUN. Sponsors: Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and PCUN. The event included performances by various artists, including song “Every Woman every Child”.

April 30, 2015 Eighth Annual Psychology Day “Reducing Health Inequalities Within and Among Countries: Psychological Contributions to the UN Post-2015 Global Agenda”, UNHQ.

December 3, 2015, DPI Briefing, “Combating Racism in the 21st Century: Commemorating 50 years of the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination within the Context of the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024”, UNHQ. Chair: Dr.Corann Okorodudu, Psychology & Africana Studies, Rowan University, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Speakers: Ms.Stephanie Franklin, Franklin Law Group, Mr. William Garcia, Teachers College, Columbia University, Mr. Dil Bishwarkarma Sagar, International Commission for Dalit Rights, Ms. Manbo Dowoti Desir, Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism of the NGO Committee on Human Rights, Drammeh Institute, Mr. Onaje Muid, School of Social Work, Columbia University, Mr. Salieu Suso, Kora Player. Sponsored by the UN Department of Public Information, in partnership with the Sub- Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination of the NGO Committee on Human Rights, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the AfroAtlantic Theologies and Treaties Institute/ATI, and PCUN.

December3, 2015, “Inclusion Matters: Access & Empowerment for People of All Abilities: Contribution to the SDGs” in commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, UNCC. Chair: Margaretha Jones, CoNGO Committee on Children’s Rights & the International Humanist and Ethical Union; Speakers: Mr. Reginald Bennet, REACH Academy, Mr. Robert Bernstein, Girls Education Initiative of Ghana, Dr. Carol Kennedy, Manhattan Multicultural Counseling, Ms. Suvi Huikuri, World Health Organization. Sponsor: Manhattan Multicultural Counseling; Co-Sponsors: NGO Committee on Education, CoNGO Committee on Children’s Rights, PCUN, International Association of Applied Psychology, The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

February 4, 2016, 54th Commission for Social Development Side Event: “Ensuring Health and Wellbeing across the Lifespan: Indicators, Challenges, and Opportunities”, UNHQ. Chair: Dr. Rachel Ravich, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues; Speakers: Ms. Suvi Huikuri, World Health Organization, Mr. Jon Hall, UNDP Human Development Office, Dr. Toni Antonucci, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Dr. Vivian Pender, Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University, NGO Committee on Mental Health. Sponsor The Society for the Psychological Study for Social Issues. Co-sponsors: PCUN, NGO Health Committee, NGO Committee on Mental Health, NGO Committee on Aging, International Association of Applied Psychology, World Council for Psychotherapy.

February 8, 2016: Symposium on “Psychological Science and Violence: A Global Call to Action”, Pace University. Keynote Speaker: Dr. Saths Cooper, International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) International Social Science Council (ISSC), Pan-African Psychology Union (PAPU); Introduction, Dr. Florence Denmark, Pace University, PCUN; Discussants: Dr. Sonia Suchday, Pace University, PCUN, Dr. Ava Thomson, Dr. Oscar Barbarin. Sponsors: Pace University Psychology Department, US National Committee-Psychology, National Academy of Sciences, IUPsyS-PTFUN. Co-sponsors: Office of International Programs, Pace University, PCUN, International Association of Applied Psychology, World Council of Psychotherapy.

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on January 15, 2016



Written statements, Deadline for submission: 11 December 2015

Information for NGOs submitting written statements for the 49th Session of the Commission on Population and Development

Only NGOs in General and Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC can submit written statements to the 49th Session of the Commission on Population and Development to be held from 11 to 15 April 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York.

The priority theme of the Session is: “Strengthening the demographic evidence base for the post-2015 development agenda”.

Instructions for submitting written statements:

Written statements by eligible NGOs, to be circulated as official documents for consideration by the Commission at its forty-ninth session, can be submitted from 11 November 2015 to 11 December 2015.

  1. Statements have to be submitted through CSO Net;
  2. Statements should adhere to the thematic issues of the Session;
  3. Statements must be submitted in English or French;
  4. Statements submitted

Read the rest

Information for NGOs submitting written statements for the 49th Session of the Commission on Population and Development

Only NGOs in General and Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC can submit written statements to the 49th Session of the Commission on Population and Development to be held from 11 to 15 April 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York.

The priority theme of the Session is: “Strengthening the demographic evidence base for the post-2015 development agenda”.

Instructions for submitting written statements:

Written statements by eligible NGOs, to be circulated as official documents for consideration by the Commission at its forty-ninth session, can be submitted from 11 November 2015 to 11 December 2015.

  1. Statements have to be submitted through CSO Net;
  2. Statements should adhere to the thematic issues of the Session;
  3. Statements must be submitted in English or French;
  4. Statements submitted by an organization in general consultative status should not exceed 2,000 words (including footnotes);
  5. Statements submitted by an organization in special consultative status should not exceed 1,500 words (including footnotes);
  6. Deadline for submission: 11 December 2015;
  7. The UN Secretariat will confirm receipt of statements received;
  8. The first twenty statements received by 11 December 2015 will be processed by the UN Secretariat and published as formal documents that will be posted on the Session’s webpage;
  9. Incomprehensible and repetitive text will be edited or deleted;
  10. Information on processed documents will appear in the UN Daily Journal in the days prior to the opening of the Session.

Suggested guidelines for preparing statements:

  1. Format
  2. Use generic fonts and formatting;
  3. New paragraphs should begin after a double line break; paragraphs should not be numbered;
  4. Proof read and spell check;
  5. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms, as well as footnotes;
  6. Substance
  7. Be accurate in your facts and figures;
  8. Consult UN terminology;
  9. Avoid quotations and acronyms: The rules are very restrictive. For the permissible acronyms (first time – you will need to use the full title), please see UN editorial manual
    All others, including the acronym for the Commission on Population and Development (“CPD”) and for your organization are not allowed in written statements.
  10. Do not be critical of a UN Member State or Government leader/s;
  11. Do not make critical generalizations of a group or persons/countries/organizations;
  12. Choose brevity for greater advocacy impact;
  13. Highlight a key idea at the beginning of a paragraph;
  14. Avoid repeating information and ideas;
  15. Strive for clarity and coherence;
  16. Avoid jargon;
  17. Avoid repetition of information
  18. Organize material using the principle of one thought per paragraph; make reading effortless
  19. Verify references to titles and dates of United Nations events and conferences.
  20. Structure
  21. Title of the statement and name of NGO submitting (Acronym in parentheses)
  22. Introduction, objective and purpose of statement;
  23. Overview of the issue as it relates to the work of the NGO;
  24. A way forward: expectations, specific recommendations;
  25. Closing sentence.

Suggested guidelines for preparing statements:

Modalities for written statements as described in paragraphs 36 and 37 of ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31

The following conditions shall be observed regarding the submission and circulation of such written statements:

(a) The written statement shall be submitted in English or French;

(b) The written statement shall be submitted in sufficient time for appropriate consultation, if necessary, to take place between the Secretary-General and the organization before circulation;

(c) NGO statements will not be edited by DGACM, with the necessary footnote added;

(d) Only the first 20 statements will be translated into English, French and Spanish;

(e) A written statement submitted by an organization in general consultative status will be circulated in full if it does not exceed 2,000 words (including footnotes). Where a statement is in excess of 2,000 words (including footnotes), the organization shall submit a summary, which will be circulated, or shall supply sufficient copies of the full text in the working languages for distribution. A statement will also be circulated in full, however, upon the specific request of the commission or other subsidiary organs;

(f) A written statement submitted by an organization in special consultative status will be circulated in full if it does not exceed 1,500 words (including footnotes). Where a statement is in excess of 1,500 words (including footnotes), the organization shall submit a summary, which will be circulated, or shall supply sufficient copies of the full text in the working languages for distribution. A statement will also be circulated in full, however, upon the specific request of the Commission or other subsidiary organs;

(g) Joint submissions of more than one NGO are encouraged; all co-signers must agree to the statement;

(h) If the statement is supported by another NGO(s) in consultative status with the Council, a note to that effect should be added at the end of the document. The names of the NGOs should be in alphabetical order.

Steps for submitting a written statement:

  1. Statements have to be submitted through CSO Net.
  2. Prepare your statement in Microsoft Word or a similar application for text processing and save it on your PC. If you don’t save it in advance, you might lose it later during submission, e.g. if your PC loses the connection to the online system. Once you have finalized your statement, copy-paste the final text from your document onto the statement submission page. Please note the online system removes formatting.
  3. Select the language of your submission.
  4. If this is a joint statement, please type the name of other NGO submitter(s) into the field “Search and add organization” and click “Search”. The system will return a list of NGOs (in case you cannot find the NGO that you are looking for, try again to search for just a part of the NGO name). Click “Add” next to the NGO name that you want to designate as a joint submitter. Repeat this step to add more organizations.
  5. Click “Add” to submit your statement. From this point on, you will not be able to make changes to the statement. You will receive an email confirmation (This is not an automatic confirmation and may take up to a few days to be sent).
  6. If you have questions concerning the submission of written statements to the Commission, please contact CPD49NGO@un.org.

 

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on December 7, 2015



Publishing your work at the United Nations: Why and how?

Thursday, November 19, 2015
1:40 pm – 3:00 pm
DC-1 Cafeteria, 3th (enter on First Ave + 44-45 St.), NYC

Invite you to an interactive discussion on:

With all the important issues that face NGOs working with the United Nations today, how can NGO committees and individuals best share their work with others through publication? In this free workshop for NGO reps, a panel of expert editors describe why and how to go beyond “speaking,” to publish articles, chapters, or books on our international work. Panelists include Uwe P. Gielen (Editor, APA Division of International Psychology), Harold Takooshian (International Psychology Bulletin), Parviz Morewedge (www.gsp-online.com), Judy Kuriansky (Editor, Praeger Series, and media consultant), Ada Brunstein and Abby Gross (Oxford U Press).

The following link is the flyer to this event. Flyer Link

 … Read the rest

Thursday, November 19, 2015
1:40 pm – 3:00 pm
DC-1 Cafeteria, 3th (enter on First Ave + 44-45 St.), NYC

Invite you to an interactive discussion on:

With all the important issues that face NGOs working with the United Nations today, how can NGO committees and individuals best share their work with others through publication? In this free workshop for NGO reps, a panel of expert editors describe why and how to go beyond “speaking,” to publish articles, chapters, or books on our international work. Panelists include Uwe P. Gielen (Editor, APA Division of International Psychology), Harold Takooshian (International Psychology Bulletin), Parviz Morewedge (www.gsp-online.com), Judy Kuriansky (Editor, Praeger Series, and media consultant), Ada Brunstein and Abby Gross (Oxford U Press).

The following link is the flyer to this event. Flyer Link

 

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on October 25, 2015



70th Anniversaty of UN

 

UN 70th Anniversary logo_English_CMYK
Click this UN Logo to UN website for more info.

DPI/NGO Morning Briefing 

“The UN at 70: Working together to make a difference” 

Thursday, 22 October 2015 

11:15 a.m – 1:00 p.m 

Conference Room 8, UNHQ 

This briefing will analyze and reflect upon the relationship between the UN and NGOs/civil society over the past 70 years. The two-part panel will feature a celebration of past accomplishments, and craft a vision for the future towards Working Together: Making a Difference.

 

NGO-Led Afternoon Event

“Looking ahead from the UN at 70: celebrate and build together with our future leaders” 

Thursday, 22 October 2015 

2:15 p.m – 4:30 p.m 

Lower Ground Floor Meeting Hall 

The Family School, 323 East 47th Street 

This event will provide opportunities through music and art to express a vision for the future and the … Read the rest

 

UN 70th Anniversary logo_English_CMYK
Click this UN Logo to UN website for more info.

DPI/NGO Morning Briefing 

“The UN at 70: Working together to make a difference” 

Thursday, 22 October 2015 

11:15 a.m – 1:00 p.m 

Conference Room 8, UNHQ 

This briefing will analyze and reflect upon the relationship between the UN and NGOs/civil society over the past 70 years. The two-part panel will feature a celebration of past accomplishments, and craft a vision for the future towards Working Together: Making a Difference.

 

NGO-Led Afternoon Event

“Looking ahead from the UN at 70: celebrate and build together with our future leaders” 

Thursday, 22 October 2015 

2:15 p.m – 4:30 p.m 

Lower Ground Floor Meeting Hall 

The Family School, 323 East 47th Street 

This event will provide opportunities through music and art to express a vision for the future and the challenges facing the UN and civil society moving forward. Young musicians and artists will perform and present in celebration of the anniversary, followed by an interactive session with attendees. Under the guidance of presenters, attendants will create original calligraphy work together within the UN’s 70th anniversary theme.

 

Flyer link:  The 70th Anniversary of the United Nations.

 

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on October 22, 2015



Video: Informal consultations with civil society

Video: Second Committee: Informal consultations with civil society on the agenda and work of the Second Committee
Video and Description

This event was host by Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee).
The discussion included:

 

Opening statements
His Excellency Andrej Logar (Slovenia), Chair of the Second Committee
Ms. Barbara Adams, Chair of the Global Policy Forum and the Moderator of the two panel discussions
 
Panel discussion 1 “How can the Second Committee ensure that its work is in line with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?”Presentations followed by interactive discussion

Panel discussion 2 “How should the agenda of the Second Committee look like in the coming years?”
Presentations followed by interactive discussion

Conclusion of the session
Wrap-up and summary of key issues by Ms. Barbara Adams, Chair of the Global Policy Forum
Closing remarks by His

Read the rest

Video: Second Committee: Informal consultations with civil society on the agenda and work of the Second Committee
Video and Description

This event was host by Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee).
The discussion included:

 

Opening statements
His Excellency Andrej Logar (Slovenia), Chair of the Second Committee
Ms. Barbara Adams, Chair of the Global Policy Forum and the Moderator of the two panel discussions
 
Panel discussion 1 “How can the Second Committee ensure that its work is in line with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?”Presentations followed by interactive discussion

Panel discussion 2 “How should the agenda of the Second Committee look like in the coming years?”
Presentations followed by interactive discussion

Conclusion of the session
Wrap-up and summary of key issues by Ms. Barbara Adams, Chair of the Global Policy Forum
Closing remarks by His Excellency Andrej Logar (Slovenia), Chair of the Second Committee

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on October 22, 2015



October 22th Informal Consultations with Civil Society

Thursday, October 22, 2015
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Conference Room 2

Informal Consultations with Civil Society

on the agenda and work of the Second Committee

Programme

10:00 am – 10:10 am
Opening of the Informal Consultations 

  • Opening statement by His Excellency Mr. Andrej Logar, Chairperson of the Second Committee and Permanent • Representative of Slovenia
  • Introductory remarks by Ms. Barbara Adams, Chair, Global Policy Forum

 

10:10 am – 11.25 am
How can the Second Committee ensure that its work is in line with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?
Panellists:

  • Dr. Louise Kantrow, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
  • Mr. Jeffery Huffines, CIVICUS
  • Ms. Jean Krasno, Academic Council on the United Nations System
  • Ms. Eleanor Blomstrom, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
  • Ms. Naiara Costa, World Vision International

 

General Discussion (Q&A) 

11:25 am – 12.40 … Read the rest

Thursday, October 22, 2015
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Conference Room 2

Informal Consultations with Civil Society

on the agenda and work of the Second Committee

Programme

10:00 am – 10:10 am
Opening of the Informal Consultations 

  • Opening statement by His Excellency Mr. Andrej Logar, Chairperson of the Second Committee and Permanent • Representative of Slovenia
  • Introductory remarks by Ms. Barbara Adams, Chair, Global Policy Forum

 

10:10 am – 11.25 am
How can the Second Committee ensure that its work is in line with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?
Panellists:

  • Dr. Louise Kantrow, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
  • Mr. Jeffery Huffines, CIVICUS
  • Ms. Jean Krasno, Academic Council on the United Nations System
  • Ms. Eleanor Blomstrom, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
  • Ms. Naiara Costa, World Vision International

 

General Discussion (Q&A) 

11:25 am – 12.40 pm
How should the agenda of the Second Committee look like in the coming years?
Panellists:

  • Mr. Joseph Donnelly, Caritas Internationalis
  • Mr. Daniel Dudis, Transparency International
  • Dr. Frank Goldsmith, World Federation of Trade Unions
  • Mr. Abid Aslam, ActionAid
  • Ms. Bhumika Muchhala, Third World Network

 

General Discussion (Q&A) 

12.40 pm – 12.55 pm
Wrap-up and a summary of key issues

  • Mrs. Barbara Adams, Chair, Global Policy Forum

 

12.55 pm – 1:00 pm
Closing remarks

  • His Excellency Mr. Andrej Logar, Chairperson of the Second

 

Related Link: October 22th Informal Consultations with Civil Society Programme on PDF.

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on October 22, 2015



Meeting Report: APS International, May 2015

Meeting Report:  APS International, May 2015

Submitted by:  Dr. Harold Takooshian, email:  takoosh@aol.com

When the Association for Psychological Science (APS) convened in New York City on May 21-24,2015, a surprising twenty percent of the 5,000 participants were from outside the USA. It was an excellent opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and confirm international collaborations. These four images show many international colleagues meeting at APS.

pic 1

 

1. Judy Kuriansky (PCUN Chair) with Harold Takooshian (President, Manhattan Psychological Association), Sally Capanzano (Vice-President, Fordham University Psi Chi chapter), and Elena Chebotareva (Psi Chi Faculty Advisor, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia).

pic 2

 

2. Professors Josephine Tan and Michael Wesner of Lakehead University in Canada met Danny Wedding from Antigua (Editor of APA PsyCritiques)

pic 3

3. John Grahe (President-Elect of the International Honor Society in Psychology) received from Elena and Harold a copy of Elena’s Russian … Read the rest

Meeting Report:  APS International, May 2015

Submitted by:  Dr. Harold Takooshian, email:  takoosh@aol.com

When the Association for Psychological Science (APS) convened in New York City on May 21-24,2015, a surprising twenty percent of the 5,000 participants were from outside the USA. It was an excellent opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and confirm international collaborations. These four images show many international colleagues meeting at APS.

pic 1

 

1. Judy Kuriansky (PCUN Chair) with Harold Takooshian (President, Manhattan Psychological Association), Sally Capanzano (Vice-President, Fordham University Psi Chi chapter), and Elena Chebotareva (Psi Chi Faculty Advisor, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia).

pic 2

 

2. Professors Josephine Tan and Michael Wesner of Lakehead University in Canada met Danny Wedding from Antigua (Editor of APA PsyCritiques)

pic 3

3. John Grahe (President-Elect of the International Honor Society in Psychology) received from Elena and Harold a copy of Elena’s Russian journal, with an article about Psi Chi in Russia.

pic 4

4. The Manhattan Psychological Association (MPA) hosted a lunch for international colleagues and students.

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on June 22, 2015



Statement about the Importance of Psychosocial Resilience and Mental Health and Wellbeing in Humanitarian Crises

PCUN logo

The World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Turkey, 23-24 May 2016 

Sponsors: International Association of Applied Psychology, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, ATOP Meaningful World, International Council of Psychologists, International Union of Psychological Science, World Council of Psychotherapy, Institute for Multicultural Education and Services, and other Members of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the UN

As NGOs accredited at the United Nations we are deeply pleased to endorse the draft statement about health, “Putting health at the centre of collective humanitarian action,” proposed by the health special session for the World Humanitarian Summit.   The document addresses the multi-dimensional aspects of health, and comprehensively covers the critical issues for affected populations as well as for health actors, agents and aid workers in emergencies and all humanitarian crises. We recognize that primary concerns of humanitarian aid after emergencies are … Read the rest

PCUN logo

The World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Turkey, 23-24 May 2016 

Sponsors: International Association of Applied Psychology, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, ATOP Meaningful World, International Council of Psychologists, International Union of Psychological Science, World Council of Psychotherapy, Institute for Multicultural Education and Services, and other Members of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the UN

As NGOs accredited at the United Nations we are deeply pleased to endorse the draft statement about health, “Putting health at the centre of collective humanitarian action,” proposed by the health special session for the World Humanitarian Summit.   The document addresses the multi-dimensional aspects of health, and comprehensively covers the critical issues for affected populations as well as for health actors, agents and aid workers in emergencies and all humanitarian crises. We recognize that primary concerns of humanitarian aid after emergencies are to provide food, water, sanitation, shelter and medical care.  But  considerable research and experiences of humanitarian actors on missions worldwide have shown that mental wounds are also critical and deserve immediate attention, especially for children. The emotional sequelae of such emergencies are vast, including suffering from stigma, isolation, fears, and depression.  In this statement, emergencies refers to natural and man-made disasters as well as disease outbreaks and epidemics. Mental disorders affect one in four in the world at some point in their lives, and about 20 percent of the world’s youth experience a mental health condition each year. The poor suffer the most. Human dignity, emphasized in the Secretary-General’s report, One humanity: Shared responsibility, is at the core of mental health and well-being. It is therefore recommended that in the outcome document of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) section on “Putting health at the centre of collective humanitarian action,”  it should be pointed out that “throughout this document, ‘health’ is defined as ‘physical and mental health and well-being,’ which further includes psychosocial  resilience.” The rationale for including these points is considerable, given that:

  • The definition of health in the World Health Organization (WHO)   1948 constitution is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
  • Considerable research has been done about the mental health needs for populations after emergencies.
  • Numerous UN conventions and conference outcome documents mention mental health and well-being.
  • The relationship is reciprocal between physical and mental health.
  • The costs to people is considerable, with 450 million people worldwide suffering, and the cost to governments is estimated to escalate from over $2T to $6T by 2030.
  • “Promote mental health and well-being” is included in Goal 3, target 3.4, in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; additionally, mental health and well-being are cross-cutting issues in the agenda, with strong inter-linkages to poverty eradication, education, women’s and girls’ empowerment, economic growth, climate change, peaceful and inclusive societies and others.

The following recommendations apply to all groups involved in emergencies, with particular emphasis on at-risk and vulnerable populations, e.g. women, children, persons with disabilities, the marginalized and the poor.  Further, in all situations, cultural traditions, practices and sensitivities must be respected and considered. PCUN further recommends that the WHS recommend that all Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, and civil society and humanitarian groups: I.          Ensure that Psychosocial Well-being and Mental Health are Promoted and Fulfilled as Human Rights for Survivors of Emergencies and all Health Workers Human rights standards and documents of UN processes increasingly recognize psychosocial well-being and mental health as basic human rights.  Psychological literature and research confirm that maltreatment from abuse, rape, torture, war, and deprivation due to conditions including poverty inflict persistent psychological and mental health wounds.  Research further affirms the inclusion by the World Health Organization (WHO) of mental health as a crucial factor in overall health, defined as a “state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community” (WHO website). II.        Promote the Psychosocial Empowerment and Resilience of Disaster Survivors Psychosocial empowerment occurs when people are enabled to participate in decisions affecting them and to exercise some control over their life choices (WHO, 2010).   Empowerment is essential to the sustainability of individual and societal progress. Psychosocial empowerment develops in three stages: (1) the reduction of psychological distress and encouragement of social and economic participation; (2) the reduction of isolation through developing social relationships and networks: and (3) the support of rights to voice opinions and participate in decision-making at all levels. Recognizing rights to ownership and participation in decisions is critical to psychosocial empowerment. Empowerment and resilience are protective factors to be nurtured as psychological buffers for avoiding and recovering from stressors and emergencies.

  1. Highlight the importance of psychosocial resilience, distinct from infrastructural resilience.
  2. Educate survivors about their human rights and their personal strengths, skills and resources.
  3. Encourage opportunities for survivors to participate in economic, social and other development activities.
  4. Provide access to productive employment and decent work, that promotes psychosocial empowerment.
  5. Strengthen access to quality primary, secondary and higher education asimportant pathways to psychosocial empowerment, decent work, and thealleviation of poverty.
  6. Provide access to quality mental health care, including accessible multidisciplinary social service centers and mobile vans to provide one-stop services.   Include literacy, continuing education, and entrepreneurial training in these centers.
  7. Use a life-span, rights-based approach to implementation of the Social Protection Floor Initiative to take care of basic needs, including access to mental health care within primary health care, to prevent multigenerational and intergeneration poverty.
  8. Promote community engagement and the re-integration of survivors into the community.
  9. Follow established guidelines, e.g. the IASC (Interagency Standing Committee) Guidelines.

III.       Eradicate All Forms of Violence Against Survivors of Disasters and Health Workers

  1. Establish laws against all forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence and institutionalize processes for apprehending and penalizing violators.
  2. Educate about human rights and all forms of violence, including their social, cultural and psychological causes and consequences in all settings including schools.
  3. Provide training for health, social services, government, law enforcement and other public service personnel on observance of human rights standards, for detecting and preventing violence.
  4. Provide human resources, policies, programmes, facilities, and services to promote mental health and psychosocial recovery and well-being of those who have experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence, including services delivered by psychologists or other trained mental health providers.
  5. Develop research and programme evaluation to assess the effectiveness of strategies to treat, eliminate and prevent violence, and establish a best practices database.

IV.       Monitor and Evaluate Progress Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programmes for psychosocial support of survivors so that data are available for different ages, races/ethnicities, disability status, cultural origins, and geographic regions. Supportive Documents and Conferences: The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (A/CONF.206/6)recommends social and economic development practices, inparagraph 4,ii,g, to: “Enhance recovery schemes including psycho-social training programmes in order to mitigate the psychological damage of vulnerable populations, particularly children, in the aftermath of disasters.” Report of the 2012 High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability: Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing (A/66/700) has specific mention: (1) on page 3, in paragraph 8: “More than anything, we need to mobilize public support and excite citizens around the world with the vision of finally building a sustainable world which guarantees the well-being of humanity, while preserving the planet for future generations”; (2) on page 67, in paragraph 198: “Efforts in a number of countries to include happiness and well-being in national progress indicators are also important steps.” The WHO report, Mental Health and Development: Targeting People with Mental Health Conditions as a Vulnerable Group (2010) presents compelling evidence that poor mental health impedes an individual’s capacity to realize their potential, work productivity, and make a contribution to their community. One Humanity: Shared Responsibility. Report of the United Nations Secretary-General for the World Humanitarian Summit (UNGA 70th session, Item 73(a) 2 Feb 2016), calls upon global leaders to place “the concern for dignity, safety and the well-being of our citizens at the forefront of all policies, strategies and decision-making.” An historic conference “Out of the Shadows” in April 2016, sponsored by the World Bank and WHO, resulted in commitment by governments, UN agencies, and civil society to make mental health a global priority.   References (selected) Kar, N. (2009). Psychological impact of disasters on children: review of assessment and interventions. World Journal of Pediatrics, 5(1), 5-11. Neria, Y., Nandi, A., and Galea, S. (2007). Post-traumatic stress disorder following disasters: a systematic review. Psychological Medicine, 38(4), 467-480.   Contacts: PCUN email:  UNpsychcoalition@gmail.com Dr. Judy Kuriansky DrJudyK@aol.com +1 (917) 224-5839 Dr. Corann Okorodudu Okorodudu@rowan.edu +1 (609) 330-0576

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on May 20, 2016



Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Development Agenda

McWha-Hermann, Ishbel, Maynard, Douglas C., & Berry, Mary O’Neill. ” Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Development Agenda :
Case studies and interventions” 2016. London:  Routledge.… Read the rest
McWha-Hermann, Ishbel, Maynard, Douglas C., & Berry, Mary O’Neill. ” Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Development Agenda :
Case studies and interventions” 2016. London:  Routledge.
  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on February 25, 2016



Integrating the Elimination of Inequalities due to Racism into the Framework of the UN Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda

Recommendations from Civil Society

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Submitted by:  The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Common Cluster for the UN NGO Major Group, Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development, Durban Declaration & Programme of Action Watch Group, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning, International Humanist & Ethical Union, International Council of Psychologists, United African Congress, Give Them a Hand Foundation, Gray Panthers, International Association of Applied Psychology, World Council for Psychotherapy, Congregations of St. Joseph, Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention-MeaningfulWorld, Unitarian Universalist Association, Institute for the Development of Education Arts and Leisure, Armenian Relief Society, International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Institute for Conscious Global Change, Medical Mission Sisters, Allwin Network, Coalition for Public Education, Institute for Planetary Synthesis, Association of World Citizens, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Association for Women in Development, Psychology … Read the rest

Recommendations from Civil Society

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Submitted by:  The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Common Cluster for the UN NGO Major Group, Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development, Durban Declaration & Programme of Action Watch Group, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning, International Humanist & Ethical Union, International Council of Psychologists, United African Congress, Give Them a Hand Foundation, Gray Panthers, International Association of Applied Psychology, World Council for Psychotherapy, Congregations of St. Joseph, Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention-MeaningfulWorld, Unitarian Universalist Association, Institute for the Development of Education Arts and Leisure, Armenian Relief Society, International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Institute for Conscious Global Change, Medical Mission Sisters, Allwin Network, Coalition for Public Education, Institute for Planetary Synthesis, Association of World Citizens, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Association for Women in Development, Psychology Coalition at the UN

14 April 2015

Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in all their insidious forms are human rights violations transmitted across generations and are manifest in the cultural values and patterns, institutional and national norms and practices, and everyday behavior of individuals and groups in every society (Essed, 1991; Jones, 1997; Dovidio, Glick, & Rudman, 2005). Racism, and racial discrimination serve simultaneously both to rationalize the hierarchical domination of one racial or ethnic group over other groups and to maintain psychological, social and material advantages for the dominant group, while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for its victims and those it has placed at a disadvantage (Jackson & Inglehart, 1995). Structural Racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism as it continually re-produces old and produces new, forms of racism. It is infused into the entire fabric of society, including its history, culture, politics, economics and other systems. All other forms of racism (e.g. institutional, interpersonal, internalized, etc.) emerge from Structural Racism. Both active racism, and passive acceptance of race-based privilege, disrupt human rights to optimal mental health and psychological functioning of both victims and perpetrators of racial injustice (Jones, 1997).

Despite some advances in decades of struggle, racism and racial/ethnic discrimination, both overt and covert, continue as sources of global conflicts and inequalities, causing disadvantage and marginalization among people in all regions of the world. These inequalities are evident in disproportional poverty rates and limited access to power, justice, education, physical and mental health including psychosocial services; social security; access to basic needs like safe drinking water; equal protection against the ravages of climate disasters; political participation, as well as, protection against racial/ethnic profiling and police violence (Glaser, Spencer & Charbonneau, 2014). Groups most affected by historic and contemporary forms of racism and racial/ethnic discrimination include: Africans and persons of African descent, Asians and persons of Asian descent, Indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, minorities, and the Roma/Gypsy/Sinti/Travellers (Durban Declaration and Programme for Action, 2001).

We are deeply concerned that the Draft of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Targets are disturbingly silent about eradicating the causes and effects of racism and racial/ethnic discrimination. Therefore, we offer this statement in the hope that, going forward, the remaining intergovernmental negotiations will provide opportunities for member states of the United Nations to broaden the framework of the SDGs further by including language regarding the elimination of racism and racial discrimination in the following components of the Outcome Document: (1) The Declaration; (2) General Principles to guide the development of indicators; and (3) the Review Framework.

The Declaration

According to H.E. Ambassador E. Courtenay Rattray, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations (17 February 2015), “Our collective vision for the world in 2030 must be one wherein we have made significant progress (to achieve the SDGs) through the removal of all structural and systemic impediments to (their) fulfillment.” We propose that racism and racial/ethnic discrimination will continue to function as structural and systemic barriers to sustainable development if they are not addressed. Therefore, to be truly transformative, it is critically important that the Declaration of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda:

✔︎ Reaffirm the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the core international instruments relating to human rights and international law, beginning chronologically with the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) followed by listing the other core human rights conventions (See Paragraph 7 of the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals).

✔︎ Affirm that inequalities rooted in structural and systemic racism are obstacles to sustainable development. Envision the possibilities and practical necessity of a world where inequalities, conflicts and human suffering from continuing racism, racial/ethnic discrimination and xenophobia are eliminated as obstacles to human dignity, human rights, social justice and sustainable development.

✔︎ Make a genuine commitment to the standard of “leaving no one behind,” by calling for disaggregated data, thus affirming the human rights non-discrimination principle as the criterion for the attainment of each SDG and target, “without distinction of any kind, such as age, race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2).”

✔︎ Place people at the centre of sustainable development, according to Paragraph 4 of the Introduction to the Proposal of the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals which states “People are at the centre of sustainable development and, in this regard, Rio+20 promised to strive for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive, and committed to work together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection and thereby to benefit all…”

✔︎ Emphasize the significance of promoting an ongoing process of human rights learning by individuals and groups at all levels and in all sectors of society as an essential enabler of the successful implementation and realization of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Guiding Principles for the Development of Indicators

The UN Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report (2014) underscores the urgency of addressing inequalities by “agreeing that no goal or target should be considered met unless it is met for all social and economic groups.” The development of indicators for the 17 SDGs and 169 targets provides a significant opportunity to ensure that the human rights non-discrimination principle is applied. Paragraph 17 of the Introduction to the Proposal of the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals applies the non-discrimination principle by stating: “In order to monitor the implementation of the SDGs, it will be important to improve the availability of, and access to data and statistics disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts to support the monitoring of the implementation of the SDGs. There is a need to take urgent steps to improve the quality, coverage and availability of disaggregated data to ensure that no one is left behind.”

Also, according to Annex 2 of the Technical Report by the Bureau of the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) on the process of the development of an indicator framework for the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda (18 March 2015), consensus was reached by the Expert Group on the necessity “to ensure disaggregation of indicators and to include a human rights dimension to the indicator framework (following the “no one left behind” principle).”

While both of these references to the importance of disaggregated data are encouraging, the framework for the indicators needs a specifically articulated data disaggregation principle, including a broad diversity of vulnerable social groups, and placed strategically at the beginning of the indicators to be applied to all sustainable development goals and targets. Accordingly, we respectfully recommend that the following four principles guide the development of indicators for the Post-2015 SDGs:

I.     Data Disaggregation. Indicators are required to assess the attainment of each sustainable development goal and target by all groups (as relevant), including age, gender, race/ethnicity, indigenous identity, income, disability, rural/urban residence, national origin, migratory status, language, and religion.

II.    Reducing Inequalities and Discrimination. We support the recommendation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights which calls for “identifying strong indicators that measure the (elimination) of inequalities, the elimination of discriminatory laws, policies and practices, and equity in global governance of development”(22 April 2015).

III.   Race/Ethnicity Disaggregation. Given its cross-cutting nature, the indicators for all relevant goals and targets (especially Goals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10, 11, 12, 13, and 16) shall include a disaggregation of data based on race and ethnicity.

IV. Human Rights Compliance Data. Indicators should include the use of data from the existing mechanisms for monitoring compliance with human rights standards, especially the Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) of the Human Rights Council and reviews on compliance with the International

Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Principles for the SDG Follow-up and Review Framework

We respectfully recommend that the Follow-up and Review Framework of the SDGs should:

  1. Focus on monitoring the four types of data identified above as central to assessing progress in the elimination of racial/ethnic inequalities and discrimination within States.
  2. Encourage Developing and Least Developed Countries to enter multistakeholder partnerships including Developed countries, UN agencies, or civil society organizations for developing the technical and statistical capacity and infrastructure needed to acquire and manage the quality of evidence-based data required for monitoring and reviewing progress on the SDGs.
  3. Include opportunities for national, regional, and international civil society organizations to submit reports on progress of the SDGs in countries for which they have the expertise and experience and to participate in intergovernmental review processes at the regional and international levels.

Thematic Interactive Dialogue on Tackling Inequalities

During the UN Summit on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, we strongly encourage Governments to host a thematic interactive dialogue on Inequalities that will include a focus on how to transform the structural and institutional basis of racial/ethnic inequalities. As member organizations of the Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism of the NGO Committee on Human Rights and the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations, we would like to collaborate with governments and UN agencies in planning and co-hosting such a dialogue and recommend that the following sub-themes be among those considered for inclusion in the program: Understanding that race and racism are socially constructed, are neither inevitable nor grounded in biology; racism is structural and systemic, embedded in societal institutions, resulting in discriminatory outcomes and inequalities; intergenerational transmission of racism and its effects; effective remedies for disrupting racism and related intolerance including, but not limited to: non-discriminatory laws and practices; human rights learning; programs that promote understanding and changing implicit biases in everyday life; developing multicultural understandings with mutual compassion; redress, truth, reconciliation and other healing processes; conflict resolution training; measures/assessments of reduction in racism/racial discrimination, and mechanisms for reparatory justice.

References

Dovidio, J. F., Glick, P. G., & Rudman, L. (2005). On the nature of prejudice: Fifty years after Allport. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa, September 2001.
Essed, P. (1991). Understanding everyday racism: An Interdisciplinary Theory. Sage.
Glaser, J; Spencer, K; & Charbonneau, A. (2014). Racial bias & public policy, Behavioral & Brain Science, 1(1), 88-94.
International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1965.
Jones, J. M. (1997). Prejudice and racism. New York: McGraw Hill.
Landrine, H. & Klonoff, E. A. (1996). The Schedule of Racist Events: A Measure of Racial Discrimination and a Study of its
Negative Physical and Mental Health Consequences. Journal of Black Psychology, 22, 144-168.
OHCHR. (2015). Integrating Human Rights into the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Addressing Inequalities and Discrimination in the SGDs.
UNS-G. (2014). Report of the Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. 4 December 2014. A/69/700.
  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on February 20, 2016



Statement on the one year anniversary of the abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls

CALL TO ACTION:

Submitted by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the International Association of Applied Psychology, the International Council of Psychologists, the International Union of Psychological Science, the Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention-Meaningful World, the World Council of Psychotherapy, the American Psychological Association, and other organizational members of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations 1

14 April 2015

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ABSTRACT

Boko Haram, a group of militant Islamic extremists, abducted 276 schoolgirls between the ages of 16 and 18 years from the Government Secondary Boarding School in Chibok, Nigeria, on 14 April 2014. The abduction was a continuation of episodic attacks against cities in northern and central Nigeria since 2009 when the insurgency was first launched by Boko Haram to destabilize the government and establish an Islamic caliphate under Sharia Law … Read the rest

CALL TO ACTION:

Submitted by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the International Association of Applied Psychology, the International Council of Psychologists, the International Union of Psychological Science, the Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention-Meaningful World, the World Council of Psychotherapy, the American Psychological Association, and other organizational members of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations 1

14 April 2015

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ABSTRACT

Boko Haram, a group of militant Islamic extremists, abducted 276 schoolgirls between the ages of 16 and 18 years from the Government Secondary Boarding School in Chibok, Nigeria, on 14 April 2014. The abduction was a continuation of episodic attacks against cities in northern and central Nigeria since 2009 when the insurgency was first launched by Boko Haram to destabilize the government and establish an Islamic caliphate under Sharia Law (Onuoha, 2012). More than 300 days since the Chibok abduction and measures by the Nigerian government to find them, the vast majority of the 276 girls remain unaccounted for and their fate unresolved. The abduction and non-return of the schoolgirls provides a poignant illustration of the pervasive, global problem of discrimination and violence against girls and women, including abductions and trafficking, in every region of the world (Save the Children, 2013).

On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the tragic abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls, we, organizations of psychologists accredited by the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations, committed to human rights and social justice, launch this statement in a broad appeal to the international community to heed the importance of fully implementing international human rights standards, which protect girls and women against abductions, trafficking and all other forms of violence and discrimination. This statement has three major parts:

  • First, we place abductions, trafficking and all other forms of violence and discrimination against girls and women within the contextual framework of international human rights standards.
  • Next, we draw upon research that documents the physical and psychological impact of these violations of human rights on girls, their families, and their communities, and that highlights the role of intervention by psychologists, other mental health providers, educators, and humanitarian workers in preventing violence and providing psychosocial recovery.
  • Finally, we issue a call to action to governments,United Nations (UN) agencies, civil society organizations, and the international community, presented as concrete recommendations, grounded in international human rights standards and psychological science.

Contextual Framework of International Human Rights Standards Against Abductions, Trafficking and Other Forms of Violence Against Girls and Women

Numerous international human rights instruments provide safeguards for girls and women to be protected by States against abductions, trafficking and other forms of gender-based violence and discrimination. For example:

  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, 1989) protects children from separation from their parents against their will (Article 9); the abduction or sale of or trafficking in children (Article 35); and the unlawful or arbitrary deprivation of children’s liberty (Article 37). The CRC also calls for the protection of children’s freedom of thought, conscience, and religion (Article 14); and protection from physical and mental violence, injury, or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse (Article 19). Finally, Article 39 requires member states of the UN to “take all appropriate measures to promote the physical and psychological recovery and social integration of children who have been victims of any form of neglect, exploitation or abuse, torture or degrading treatment, or of armed conflict.”
  • The Optional Protocol to the CRC on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (UN, 2000) protects children from compulsory recruitment into armed forces or use in hostilities (Articles 2 and 4).
  • The Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography (UN, 2000) expands upon the CRC and stresses the importance of international cooperation to protect children from trafficking, prostitution, and pornography.
  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (UN, 1979) and its General Recommendation 30 (2013) call for all State and non-State actors in armed conflict to prevent, investigate, and punish all forms of gender-based violence against women, in particular rape and other forms of sexual abuse, and to implement a policy of zero tolerance, putting an end to impunity.
  • The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (UN, 2000) is designed to prevent human trafficking and to protect women and children victimized by it.
  • The Paris Commitments (UNICEF, 2009a) obligates States to implement the Paris Principles (UNICEF, 2007), including the promotion of the physical and psychological recovery and reintegration of children who have suffered from gender-based violence.

This international normative framework also includes regional human rights instruments for preventing violence against women and girls, including, for example, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (African Union, 2003); the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Union, 1999); the ASEAN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (ASEAN, 2004); the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (OAS, 1994); the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Council of Europe, 2011); and the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Council of Europe, 2010).

In spite of commitments made by the international community, there are major gaps in the implementation of international and regional human rights instruments against abductions and trafficking and other forms of abuse, which result in gross violations both within and across countries. Under norms that facilitate discrimination against women in many parts of the world, being both young and female relegates millions of girls and women to the margins of society where their human rights are routinely disregarded, their safety is denied, and they remain powerless, invisible, and neglected. In situations of armed conflict within or between nations, abductions, rape, trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced labor are used as instruments of war, designed to weaken families, and break down the social fabric of communities and societies (Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, 2014; Muhigwa, 2014; Rafferty, 2013a; 2013b) . Although men and boys are also victims of violence, women and girls are the primary targets (Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, 2014).

The abduction of schoolgirls evidences what UNESCO (2011) calls “The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education.” Education is among the most important factors for improving the human rights of girls and women globally. Accordingly, the destruction of educational opportunity is one of the most damaging consequences of armed conflict. More than 40% of out-of-school children live in conflict-affected countries, where we also find some of the largest gender inequalities and lowest literacy levels in the world. Although this crisis affects both girls and boys living in armed conflict, a past President of the UN Security Council (2010) has emphasized that girls are often specifically targeted in the growing number of armed attacks against schools worldwide. School-based abductions or recruitment of girls serve important purposes for armed opposition groups, depending upon the socio-economic-politico-religious context. The primary purposes include: forced sexual services, forced marriages and trafficking, and domestic labor ((Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, 2014; UNICEF, 2009b); and because schoolgirls are smart and can read and write, they therefore perform multiple roles in addition to sexual services (cf. McKay, 2011, McKay & Mazurana, 2004, McKay, Veale, Worthen, & Wessells, 2010). Other long-standing, common purposes of armed opposition groups in kidnapping schoolgirls and deliberately attacking the educational infrastructure include: to oppose the type of education provided by the government and disrupt the girls education so that the roles and statuses of girls and women do not change, and to destabilize and disrupt communities (UNESCO, 2011).

Although a number of countries have made commendable efforts to combat human trafficking, this activity continues to grow because of the ongoing demand for sex with children, the lower social status of girls and women, extreme poverty, inadequate legislation, lack of enforcement of relevant laws, failure to prosecute offenders, and disregard for human rights (APA, 2014a; Rafferty, 2013a, 2013c; Spohn & Tellis, 2013).

 

Research on the Physical and Psychological Impact on Girls and Women

Psychological science suggests that the harsh conditions, persistent and extreme abuse, and trauma associated with child trafficking may seriously hamper children’s physical, psychological, and social-emotional development (Rafferty, 2013a). Physical abuse and deprivation, for example, can result in direct physical injury (e.g., broken bones, bruises, contusions, cuts, and burns); indirect physical injury, such as chronic headaches, dizziness, insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns; or in extreme cases homicide or suicide (Zimmerman et al, 2008). Higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), tuberculosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, vaginal fistula, unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortions, complications from unwanted pregnancies, and poor reproductive healthcare have also been identified among children and youth who have been trafficked (Beyrer & Stachowiak, 2003; Kumar, Subedi, Gurung, & Adhikari, 2001; Miles, 2000; Silverman, Decker, Gupta, Maheshwari, & Patel, 2006; Silverman, et al. 2007; Tsutsumi, Izutsu, Poudyal, Kato, & Marui, 2008).

In addition to the physical effects described above, victims of abduction, trafficking and other forms of gender-based violence against girls and women may develop a wide range of psychological and interpersonal problems (Beyrer & Stachowiak, 2003; Deb, Mukherjee, & Matthews 2011; Hossain, Zimmerman, Abas, Light, & Watts, 2010; Tsutsumi et al., 2008; Zimmerman et al., 2008). In extreme cases, the psychological symptoms demonstrated by children who have experienced trafficking-related abuses have been compared to the psychological symptoms identified in torture victims who report a complex set of psychological and physiological symptoms (Zimmerman et al., 2003).

Girls growing up in areas of armed conflict experience complex trauma that frequently remains unexamined. In areas of armed conflict, girls are witnesses to violence, fear being raped and otherwise violated, and live in stressed and fearful families and communities under constant threat of violence. Girls who have been abducted miss their loved ones and community and are further deprived of the benefits of developmental stages such connection provides. Such childhood trauma poses challenges to girls’ resilience, contributes to their subsequent mental health distress, and in some cases, longer-term psychopathology (Betancourt, 2008; Betancourt, Borisova, Williams, et al., 2013; Haider, 2014; Kangas, Haider, & Fraser, 2014; McKay, 2008: Wessells, 2006). (See also, UNICEF Machel Study 10 Year Strategic Review: Children and Conflict in a Changing World,2009.)

Related research on adverse childhood experiences (Anda & Felitti, 2010; Felitti et. al, 1998,) including child maltreatment, suggests a link between child abuse and poorer later life physical and mental health outcomes, including: (a) psychological reactions (e.g., hopelessness, despair, suicidal ideation and attempts, anxiety disorders, low self-esteem, and depression); (b) psychoactive substance abuse and dependence (e.g., addiction, and drug overdose); (c) psychosomatic reactions (e.g., headaches, neck pain, back aches, and sleeping problems); (d) social reactions (e.g., feelings of isolation, loneliness, and hostility); and (e) severe post-traumatic stress syndrome/disorder. Children who experience sexual abuse are more likely to experience these adverse emotional outcomes (APA, 1999; Briere & Spinazolla, 2005; Kendall-Tackett, Williams, & Finkelhor, 2001; Rafferty, 2007; 2008).

 

Prevention of Violence and Promotion of Mental Health and Psychosocial Recovery

Social science research indicates that comprehensive measures to secure gender equality and protect human rights, in accordance with the international human rights framework, are vital for the effective prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against girls and women, including abductions and trafficking. A comprehensive human rights-based framework would allow both victim-focused and law enforcement responses to be developed, implemented, and evaluated and would promote both prevention and protection measures to ensure psychosocial wellbeing (cf. Robinson, 2002). Discrimination and violence against girls and women are rooted in patriarchal structures, cultural traditions, and social norms that condone their objectification and commercialization; manifest in attitudes, and beliefs; and are powerful influences in shaping behavior (Rafferty, 2013d). Social norms and cultural traditions perpetuate gender-based social inequalities, stereotypic attitudes and discrimination toward girls and women, and also perpetuate women’s subordinate status in society, heighten the vulnerability of girls and women, and pose challenges to achieving gender equality and eliminating gender-based violence. Therefore, a strong commitment is required to changing prevailing sexist attitudes and social norms and the forms these attitudes and norms take among the diversity of girls and women of different ethnicities, religions, et cetera.   Also, it is necessary that education for gender equality and diversity take place within formal educational institutions at all levels and within other public institutions, as well as within rehabilitation and recovery programs (cf., Rafferty, 2013b).

The successful protection of children and women who have been trafficked will also require activities designed to provide them and their families and communities with the necessary supports and services for mental health, psychosocial recovery, and enhanced wellbeing. As such, psychologists, health, and mental health practitioners and allied professionals have a vital role to play with regard to the appropriate assessment of girls’, children’s, and women’s physical and mental healthcare needs, as well as in the implementation of effective strategies to provide trauma-informed and culturally competent physical, psychological, and social recovery and rehabilitation services.

 

CALL TO ACTION

Recommendations to Prevent, Reduce, and Eliminate Abductions, Trafficking, and other forms of Violence against Girls/Children/Women

 I. Governments

We respectfully call upon and urge all Member States of the United Nations to:

    1. Ratify all human rights instruments, especially those that provide for the protection of girls and women from abductions, trafficking, and all other forms of gender-based violence.

 

    1. Take strong and consistent measures to prevent and eliminate any violation of the rights to the survival, personal safety, health, physical, emotional, and social development, and participation of girls/children/women within situations of political unrest and armed conflict within their territories (CRC, 1989; CEDAW, 1979; CEDAW Recommendation 30, 2013).

 

    1. Develop and implement national legislation and policies to eliminate abduction, trafficking, and all forms of violence and discrimination against the rights of girls/children/women, and ensure that such legislation and policies are applicable to all administrative levels and sections of their countries, and are consistent and in compliance with international human rights commitments. 2
      • 3.1    Protect girls/children/women from abduction, sale or trafficking; from separation from their parents against their will; from deprivation of their freedom of thought, conscience and religion; from physical and mental violence, injury, or abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.
      • 3.2    Take all appropriate measures to promote the physical and psychological recovery and social integration of girls/children/women who have been victims of any form of neglect, exploitation or abuse, torture or degrading treatment, or other forms of gender-based violence in armed conflict.
      • 3.3    Protect girls/children under 18 years of age from compulsory and/or forced recruitment into armed forces or use in hostilities.
      • 3.4    Prevent, investigate, and punish all forms of gender-based violence, in particular, acts of rape and other forms of sexual abuse, thereby putting an end to impunity.
    2. Fulfill and protect, in all sections of every UN member country, access to and enjoyment of education as a human right of girls and all children, by establishing schools as safe learning environments, free from all forms of violence at, and on the way to and from, school –including abductions, sexual harassment, and exploitation, rape, physical, and psychological abuse, and other forms of gender-based violence and abuse.
      • 4.1  Ensure that both public and private school facilities are physically safe structures where the psychosocial wellbeing of children can be protected.
      • 4.2  Ensure that school administrators of all schools provide safety instruction and skills to all children, teachers, and other staff.
      • 4.3  Comply with the UN Secretary-General’s Five-Year Global Education First Initiative (2012) by putting every child in school, and improving the quality of teaching and the availability and quality of books and materials.
      • 4.4  Ensure that the educational curriculum and processes of schools foster global citizenship, peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and justice needed to transform societies experiencing inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflict into peaceful, tolerant, and inclusive societies.
    3. Take steps to develop effective systems to assess and monitor full compliance  with international human rights legislation and policies against gender-based violence, including abductions, trafficking, and discrimination against the human rights of girls/children/women, and reduce and eliminate gaps in implementation of each country’s human rights commitments.
      • 5.1    Advocate for compliance with provisions of the CRC and other human rights instruments on gender-based violence including abductions and trafficking of girls/children/women in situations of armed conflict and peace.
      • 5.2    Advocate for full compliance within each country to adopt and follow a definition of the child in agreement with the CRC (defined as less than 18 years of age), including those that have passed child rights legislation adopting a definition of the child with a lower age than that of the CRC.
      • 5.3    Conduct a comprehensive review on the compatibility of the existing national statutory, religious and customary laws with provisions of the CRC and other human rights instruments.
    4. Intensify efforts to build on progress in the global struggle against trafficking of girls/children/women as called for in international trafficking standards and national legislation.
      • 6.1    Build alliances with governments of neighboring countries within each region, as well as other regions, to suppress trafficking by focusing on demand factors, apprehending traffickers, and facilitating the repatriation of victims and perpetrators.
      • 6.2    Take all measures, in accordance with national and international norms, to investigate, apprehend, prosecute, and convict perpetrators who sell, buy, and/or sexually exploit girls/children/women.
      • 6.3    Develop and implement timely and appropriate policies, programs, and gender- and age-appropriate services for all victims, including mental health and psychosocial support for families during and following the abduction, in accordance with the Declaration and Agenda for Action and the Global Commitments adopted at the 1996, 2001, and 2008 World Congresses against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, as well as the outcome documents of other international conferences on this issue.
      • 6.4    Ensure that girls/children/women, especially the most vulnerable, have access to timely and comprehensive medical treatment (including sexual and reproductive care), mental health care, and psychosocial recovery and reintegration services and support.
    5.  Provide education on human rights to survival, safety, development, and participation, including the freedom of religion and belief, in schools for teachers, students and staff  and  also provide human rights training for all persons who are involved in other services to girls/children/women.

 

    1. Engage and cooperate with a diverse range of civil society stakeholders and UN Agencies for implementation at the national, state, and local government levels of the Secretary-General’s Campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls (2008) and recommendations of the UN World Report on Violence against Children (2006).

 

    1. Promote the adoption of a national plan of action and ensure that adequate resources are allocated to implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the impact of legislation at the national- and local levels to protect girls/children/women from abduction, trafficking, and all forms of discrimination and violence.

 

    1. Develop data, disaggregated by sex, age, race/ethnicity, tribal affiliation, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, state, region, etc., to assess community needs and to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of programs designed to eliminate abductions, trafficking, and other forms of violence against girls/children/women, as well as projects designed to identify and to provide programs and services for victims of trafficking following their rescue and return.

 

II. Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations including Psychological and Mental Health Associations, Humanitarian Organizations, and other Civil Society Institutions

We respectfully call upon and urge civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, including psychological societies and other civil society organizations and institutions, who desire to collaborate in addressing the abduction of girls to:

    1. Become informed, through a lens of respect about the culture as well as the past and recent history, about the country/countries/states, that provide the socio-political and economic contexts of the abduction and trafficking or other forms of violence against girls/children/women. Give particular attention to socially accepted institutionalized attitudes and practices that condone or promote violence (APA, 1996) and examine their attitudes and beliefs about at-risk groups (APA, 2014a).

 

    1. Contact national groups of psychologists and human rights workers or UN agencies and international NGOs working in the country/countries/states of concern to find out what is being done, what is needed, and whether and how international psychologists or psychology organizations may collaborate in a culturally appropriate manner. Seek to identify strengths and resources that exist within the country/countries/states of concern for entering into a supportive, collaborative relationship (APA, 2014b).

 

    1.  Reflect on and decide from among the following what their best role(s) is/are in contributing on an individual or collaborative basis to a specific area of discrimination and violence against girls/children/women, based on their qualifications, past experiences, and cultural competencies, to:
      • 3.1    Conduct or share research on the problem or strategies for change and/or conducting outcome evaluation of programs to prevent or provide mental health or psychosocial recovery from trafficking or other forms of gender-based violence;
      • 3.2    Engage in national or international advocacy;
      • 3.3    Incorporate scholarship on armed conflicts, abduction, and trafficking into courses at all levels of higher education, including the training and education of mental health practitioners and psychosocial service providers and related professionals;
      • 3.4     Conduct national or international educational campaigns;
      • 3.5     Incorporate a human rights, international perspective in their teaching, research, practice, or other professional activities;
      • 3.6     Work or volunteer directly with health care or human rights organizations to join with local partners to provide culturally appropriate mental health services to girls, children or women who have been subjected to trafficking and related trauma or to develop culturally relevant assessment, treatment or service protocols for application in these contexts;
      • 3.7     Contribute financially to, or fundraise for, agencies and organizations that advocate for, support, or treat survivors of trauma due to abduction or trafficking, or for those that combat trafficking;
      • 3.8      Work in indirect service delivery as trainers and consultants in collaboration with recognized international humanitarian organizations (APA, 2008), offering culturally appropriate training to international colleagues in law enforcement and providers of psychosocial recovery services for victims.
    2. Work within the existing advocacy structure of the civil society organizations with which they affiliate to support existing advocacy efforts to pass an International Violence against Women Act within their congress or parliament, which would make preventing violence against women and girls on a global scale the official policy of their Government.  We urge civil society organizations within the U.S. to work within the existing advocacy structure of the APA Public Interest Government Relations Office to support existing efforts to advocate for the ratification by the U.S. Senate of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in keeping with the APA Resolution on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention’s Optional Protocols (2001), and “safe harbor” legislation to ensure that women and girls who are sex trafficked are treated as victims and not as criminals.

 

    1. Partner with psychology organizations and human rights NGOs in other countries, working to eliminate the abduction and trafficking or other forms of violence against girls/children/women; to advocate for the provision of timely and appropriate psychosocial support and mental health services to families in communities where girls/children/women have been abducted, trafficked, or killed; to advocate for supports and services to be provided for the victims who may return; and to work to identify the best modalities for providing these supports and services.

 

    1. Advocate for full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, and other international commitments including the Palermo Protocol. Although the CRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty, further steps need to be taken to ensure full implementation of its principles by investing in childhood as the foundation for healthy and sustainable human development.

 

III. United Nations and International NGOs

We respectfully urge UN organs/agencies/programs and international Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) to:

    1. Continue to monitor the abduction and trafficking of girls and women by terrorist groups and call upon governments to curtail sources of support and resources for such groups and bring perpetrators before competent courts to be held accountable (as requested by the Human Rights Council, 1, April 2015, Resolution A/HRC/S-23/L.2).

 

    1.  Continue to provide consistent technical and funding assistance as needed to the Governments where the abduction and trafficking of girls/children/women are occurring.  Such assistance may need to occur under terms of bilateral or multistakeholder partnerships involving transparent, long-term shared commitments and genuine collaboration.

 

    1. Assess and evaluate the effectiveness of partnerships and modify strategies as necessary.

 

    1. Publicly disseminate information on the degree of success of partnerships in reducing or eradicating trafficking of girls/children/women and promoting their human rights together with lessons learned.

 

 


1 For further information, contact Corann Okorodudu, EdD, Professor Emerita of Psychology & Africana Studies, Rowan University, Email: okorodudu@rowan.edu; Kathleen H. Dockett, EdD, Professor Emerita of Psychology, University of the District of Columbia, Email: kdockett@aol.com; Yvonne Rafferty, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Pace University, Email: yrafferty@pace.edu; Katherine Miller, BA, Master’s Candidate, International Disaster Psychology, University of Denver, Email: kmill127@msudenver.edu.

2 The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990), the Declaration and Platform for Action of the UN World Conference on Women, Beijing China (1995), ILO Convention 182 on Minimum Age on Elimination of the Worse Forms of Child Labour (1999), Optional Protocol on recovery and reintegration of a child victim.” In addition, the Optional Protocol to the CRC on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 2000) protects children under 18 from compulsory recruitment into armed forces or use in hostilities (Articles 2 and 4). Finally, the UN Convention on Eliminating All Forms of Discriminations Against Women calls for all State and non-State actors in armed conflict to prevent, investigate, and punish all forms of gender-based violence, in the involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts (2000), Optional Protocol on the sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (2000), UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (2000), Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), the Secretary-General’s Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Girls (2008), and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women General recommendation No. 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations (2013). In addition, the APA Resolution on Emancipating and Assisting Victims of Human Trafficking (2009) urges state and local governments, and international non-governmental organizations to work assiduously to end human trafficking and to assist its victims.


 

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  Posted by David Sharek on April 14, 2015



48th Session of the Commission on Population and Development

Statement in support of “Realizing the future we want: integrating population issues into sustainable development, including the post-2015 development agenda”

13-17 April 2015, United Nations Headquarters, New York

 

Submitted by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and co-sponsored by the International Association of Applied Psychology, the World Council for Psychotherapy, the International Council of Psychotherapists and other organizational members of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the United Nations

 

Although some progress has been achieved in the population issues established at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPAD), the goals have not been completely fulfilled, especially for persons and groups that are minorities, poor, female, and disabled. Therefore, we as members of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the United Nations (PCUN) offer this statement to advocate for: (1) the importance … Read the rest

Statement in support of “Realizing the future we want: integrating population issues into sustainable development, including the post-2015 development agenda”

13-17 April 2015, United Nations Headquarters, New York

 

Submitted by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and co-sponsored by the International Association of Applied Psychology, the World Council for Psychotherapy, the International Council of Psychotherapists and other organizational members of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the United Nations

 

Although some progress has been achieved in the population issues established at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPAD), the goals have not been completely fulfilled, especially for persons and groups that are minorities, poor, female, and disabled. Therefore, we as members of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the United Nations (PCUN) offer this statement to advocate for: (1) the importance of psychosocial factors to the implementation of population issues and to sustainable development beyond 2015; (2) fulfillment of the physical and mental health and psychosocial well-being of children; and (3) the inclusion of international migrants.

Full PDF here

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on January 26, 2015



59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 2015 Beijing+20: Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity

PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FULL REALIZATION OF THE TWELVE CRITIAL AREAS OF CONCERN OF THE BEIJING PLATFORM FOR ACTION   Primary Sponsor: Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Co-Sponsors: International Association of Applied Psychology, ATOP Meaningful World, International Council of Psychologists, International Union of Psychological Science, World Council of Psychotherapy and other Accredited NGO Members of the Psychology Coalition at the UN   The Psychology Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations accredited at the United Nations (PCUN) welcomes the opportunity to join the 2015 commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, which resulted in the most progressive international commitments ever made on women’s human rights – the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.  Reviews on the implementation of the 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action indicate that although significant achievements have been … Read the rest

PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FULL REALIZATION OF THE TWELVE CRITIAL AREAS OF CONCERN OF THE BEIJING PLATFORM FOR ACTION   Primary Sponsor: Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Co-Sponsors: International Association of Applied Psychology, ATOP Meaningful World, International Council of Psychologists, International Union of Psychological Science, World Council of Psychotherapy and other Accredited NGO Members of the Psychology Coalition at the UN   The Psychology Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations accredited at the United Nations (PCUN) welcomes the opportunity to join the 2015 commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, which resulted in the most progressive international commitments ever made on women’s human rights – the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.  Reviews on the implementation of the 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action indicate that although significant achievements have been made, progress has been very uneven and significant inequalities between women and men and among diverse women and girls persist.   This statement by the Psychology Coalition contributes psychological perspectives to address significant gaps and challenges in three categories of the 12 critical areas:  (1) The diversity of women’s and girls’ experiences of gender inequality and discrimination, (2) the pandemic of violence against women and girls; and (3) the empowerment and resilience of women and girls. Full PDF here

  Posted by PCUN Webmaster on January 26, 2015



Assessment of the Status of Implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development

For the 47th Session of the Commission on Population and Development – 7-11 April 2014, United Nations, New York

Statement in support of the “Assessment of the Status of Implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development”

[Download this as a PDF]

Submitted by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and co-sponsored by the International Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, World Council for Psychotherapy, American Psychological Association, Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention, accredited members of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations; the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, and accredited organizational members of the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights

Although some progress has been achieved in the priority areas established at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICP AD), many … Read the rest

For the 47th Session of the Commission on Population and Development – 7-11 April 2014, United Nations, New York

Statement in support of the “Assessment of the Status of Implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development”

[Download this as a PDF]

Submitted by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and co-sponsored by the International Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, World Council for Psychotherapy, American Psychological Association, Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention, accredited members of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations; the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, and accredited organizational members of the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights

Although some progress has been achieved in the priority areas established at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICP AD), many challenges remain, especially for persons and groups that are minorities, poor, female, and disabled. We, members of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations (PCUN), offer this statement advocating for (1) the importance of psychosocial factors to the implementation of the goals of the 1994 ICPAD; (2) fulfillment of the physical and mental health and psychosocial well-being of children; and (3) the human rights of international migrants.

I. Ensure that Psychosocial Well-being and Mental Health are Protected as Human Rights for All Population Groups

Human rights standards and UN documents increasingly recognize psychosocial well-being and mental health as basic human rights (5). The psychological literature confirms that maltreatment from childhood abuse and deprivation due to various conditions including poverty, inflict psychological and mental health wounds across the lifespan and generations. Research further affirms the World Health Organization’s inclusion of mental health as a crucial factor in overall health (10). Poor mental health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty, including conditions of isolation and inadequate access to education, economic resources and social services. Multiple stressors cause anxiety and depression, negatively impacting an individual’s ability to cope, resulting in an intergenerational persistence of poverty.

Therefore, PCUN recommends that Governments and all stakeholders:

  • Include psychosocial well-being as a contributor and an outcome of sustainable development.
  • Make quality mental health care accessible to all sectors of society, as a requirement of human rights and social justice.
  • Implement the Social Protection Floor Initiative, including access to mental health care within primary health care, taking care of basic human needs of all vulnerable groups.
  • Provide mental health counselors and social workers, trained in culturally-specific methodology and techniques, to train and work with local communities in recognizing mental health problems.
  • Ensure that all services are implemented according to ethical principles that affirm the dignity of everyone.

II. Limit the Exposure of Children to Toxic Stress that can Affect their Health and Psychosocial Well-Being

In all world regions, children are being exposed to high levels of stress from various debilitating conditions including: poverty and preventable diseases; disparities in access to physical and mental health care; disparities in access to and outcomes of formal education; abuse and exploitation; violence against children in the family, the community, and in armed conflict; hazardous child labor; harmful traditional practices; and loss of family care due to death of parents and separation during migration.

When a child is threatened, the biochemical reactions in the child’s body result in increased heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones. A supportive relationship with family or other adults lessens the child’s stress responses to a tolerable level (3).

Scientific findings suggest that without adult support, consequences of exposure to toxic stress may have mental and physical health consequences lasting into adulthood (1, 2), including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (6,12).

Use Best Practices to Fulfill Children’s Rights to Health and Psychosocial Well-being

PCUN recommends that governments and the international community:

  • Invest resources and front-load science-based investments to support infant and early childhood development (8).
  • Integrate physical and mental health services supporting life-long holistic health.
  • Provide parents and early childhood caregivers with expert assistance and education to help children exhibiting symptoms of abnormal stress responses before these produce pathology.
  • Provide specialized interventions and services for children who have been trafficked, involved in armed conflict, hazardous labour, or sexual exploitation.
  • Provide stress management training for children in formal education programs.
  • Increase the availability of assessment and treatment for children with serious stress- induced physical and mental health problems (6).

III. Support the Human Rights of International Migrants

Ratify and Implement Human Rights Standards in Support of the Well-Being of International Migrants (4)

PCUN recommends that:

  • Countries of Origin Practice Good Governance to fulfill the human rights of people within their borders, thereby reducing the pressures toward migration.
  • Governments Ratify and Implement the Core HR Instruments, including the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their families and the ILO Conventions.
  • Governments, UN Agencies, Civil Society and Humanitarian Organizations protect the rights of international migrants to participation in decisions affecting their welfare.

Address Vulnerabilities Experienced by International Migrants

Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia. Although international migrants contribute to development in transit and host countries, many experience human rights violations stemming from racism and xenophobia which put their physical, psychological and social development at risk (11).

PCUN recommends that:

  • Host Countries and Civil Society Organizations Launch Media and Education Campaigns to Discourage Xenophobia and communicate about the human rights and contributions of migrants.
  • Governments Develop and Implement Laws, Policies and Practices to Protect International Migrants from Racial Profiling and Violence.
  • Governments review and transform their laws, policies and practices on migration to comply with international human rights standards.
  • Both countries of origin and host countries protect children of migrant mothers who were raped and children of mixed racial/ethnic parentage.

Gender Discrimination. Gender discrimination intersects with racial/ethnic discrimination and other risk factors resulting in gender-based violence including: trafficking, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, harmful traditional practices, and exploitation in domestic and care-giving work (7,9).

PCUN urges Governments, UN Agencies and Civil Society Organizations to:

  • Promote Gender Equality and Social Justice for migrants through gender equality legislation, human rights education and public awareness campaigns.
  • Develop legislation that institutionalizes penalties for trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation and processes for apprehending violators of these laws.
  • Provide human resources, facilities, and services to promote the mental health, psychosocial recovery, and well being of women and girls who have experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence.

Vulnerabilities to Children and Adolescents. Children who leave their countries of origin, are left behind, or are born to migrant parents in transit and destination countries experience special risks to their development (3). Many migrant children are victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation and labour exploitation. Unaccompanied child and adolescent migrants are exposed to dependency on adults who may abuse or exploit them.

PCUN recommends that Governments:

  • Conduct birth registrations of migrant children and collect family data disaggregated by age, sex, race/ethnicity, disability status and national origin.
  • Provide access to physical and mental health care for migrants.
  • Ensure that young children and adolescents are not separated for long periods from attachment figures (parents, guardians, siblings) and that migrant children and adolescents are not isolated or ostracized in transitional educational environments or detention. Provide access to education for all migrant children as an effective tool to integrate migrant children into host societies and break intergenerational effects of poverty (UNICEF, 2012).
  • Ratify and implement the ILO 2011 Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

References

  1. Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University. (2012). Toxic stress: The facts.
  2. Middlebrooks, J.S. & Audage, N.C. (2008). The effects of childhood stress on Health across the lifespan. Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Pia Belloni Mignatti, Maria. (2013). “I Am a Child Trapped in the Migration Web.” Presentation February 2013 Commission on Population and Development, on Promoting the Human Development and Contribution of International Migrants, UN, New York.
  4. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2010.
  5. Report of the Secretary-General (2011) to the Commission for Social Development. Poverty Eradication. UN, New York.
  6. Shonkoff, J., & Garner, A. (2012). The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics, 129(1), 232-246.
  7. UNICEF. (2012). International Migrant Children and Adolescents. New York: UNICEF.
  8. UNICEF. (2012). Rights in Principles and Practices: A Review of the Social and Economic Returns to Investing in Children. New York: UNICEF.
  9. United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC). (2009). Global report on trafficking in persons.
  10. World Health Organization. (2010). Mental Health and Development. Geneva, WHO.
  11. World Conference Against Racism Declaration and Programme of Action, 2001; Report of the Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Githu Muigai, to the General Assembly (2010).
  12. Yoshikawa, H.; Aber, J. L.; & Beardslee, W. R. (2012). The effects of poverty on the mental,emotional and behavioral health of children and Youth. American Psychologist, 67(4), 272-284

Contact

Corann Okorodudu, EdD, Past Chair, PCUN, SPSSI: okorodudu@rowan.edu

Kristoff Kohlhagen, IAAP Intern: kristoffkohlhagen@live.com

Judy Kuriansky, PhD, Chair, PCUN, IAAP: drjudyk@aol.com

Mary O’Neill Berry, PhD, PCUN Advocacy Committee, IAAP: mberry@sirota.com

  Posted by David Sharek on January 21, 2014



Psychological Perspectives on the Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls

For the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women on Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls March 2013

Statement submitted by the International Association of Applied Psychology and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and co-sponsored by the International Council of Psychologists, the World Council of Psychotherapy and other organizational members of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations (PCUN), non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

The purpose of this statement by the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations (UN) is to advocate for UN agencies, Governments, civil society organizations, all other stakeholders, and the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, to take into account important contributions that psychological perspectives and approaches can make to treating, eliminating and preventing violence against women … Read the rest

For the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women on Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls March 2013

Statement submitted by the International Association of Applied Psychology and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and co-sponsored by the International Council of Psychologists, the World Council of Psychotherapy and other organizational members of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations (PCUN), non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

The purpose of this statement by the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations (UN) is to advocate for UN agencies, Governments, civil society organizations, all other stakeholders, and the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, to take into account important contributions that psychological perspectives and approaches can make to treating, eliminating and preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG) worldwide.

Since the 1993 Human Rights Conference in Vienna officially recognized violence against women as a human rights violation, there has been increased awareness of the forms and levels of violence against women and girls, which include: domestic violence, rape in armed conflicts, sexual exploitation in trafficking, genital mutilation/cutting, and forced prostitution. However, in spite of Government commitments, UN policies and programmes, and advocacy of civil society organizations, violence against women and girls continues to be a human rights abuse in all countries and across all sectors of society, lagging in appropriate political will and effective actions to address the issue.

Needed: A Multidisciplinary Framework including Psychological Perspectives

Violence against women and girls, the most pervasive of all types of violence in the world, is multisectoral and multidimensional, and therefore requires multisectoral, multidimensional, multidisciplinary and holistic strategies to address it. This fact is recognized in the 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, which defines violence against women as encompassing physical, sexual, and psychological violence in the family, within the community, or perpetrated or condoned by the State. Even though this definition provides a comprehensive framework, which includes psychological factors, not enough attention has been given to psychological perspectives.

Relevance of Psychological Perspectives

Psychological Stereotypes and Prejudices as Sources of VAWG

Psychological theory and research has shown that gender-based sexist stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory behaviors that women and girls encounter in their everyday lives are psychological phenomena embedded in learned inequalities of culturally prescribed and endorsed gender roles relative to men, which set them up as targets of various forms of abuse and violence (Dovidio, 2001). Violence against women and girls originates in psychological gender stereotypes and results in physical consequences including fatal and non-fatal injuries, reproductive health problems, and various other health effects and psychological sequelae including depression, emotional distress, suicide attempts (WHO, 2012), and self-silencing (Swim et al., 2010). Psychologists around the world have contributed research and applications to the assessment, intervention, and prevention of domestic violence (Walker, 1999). The following are other specific illustrations of the relevance of psychological perspectives and approaches to addressing violence against women:

The Intersection of VAWG with Other Categories of Social Identity

Violence against women ranges from interpersonal and intimate forms to structural and institutionalized forms. Although all women and girls are at risk, certain groups are especially vulnerable. In a recent report to the Commission on the Status of Women, Ms. Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, stressed that multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination contribute to and exacerbate violence against women. She emphasized that factors such as race/ethnicity, ability, age, access to resources, language, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, and socioeconomic class, can exacerbate the violence women experience. In support of this point, recent research by Ortega and Lewis (2012) has shown that “although women with disabilities experience many of the same forms of violence all women experience, when gender and disability intersect, violence takes on unique forms, has unique causes, and results in unique consequences. Further, women with disabilities who are also people of color or members of minority or indigenous peoples, or who are lesbian, trans-gender or intersex or who live in poverty, can be subject to particularized forms of violence and discrimination.” The social and psychological causes and consequences involved in these intersections of gender with other categories of social experience need to be taken into account to ensure that the complexities of violence against women with multiple discriminations are effectively addressed.

Violence Against Girls and Women Across the Lifespan

Girls and women of diverse ethnicities, social class, sexual orientation, and life circumstance and experience, encounter various community-wide, regional, country-specific, and global forms of violence across their life span. These include child abuse, neglect and incest during childhood; media sexualization (APA, 2007), sexual exploitation, trafficking, genital mutilation/cutting, and pornography during adolescence; domestic violence, rape and forced prostitution during adulthood; and elder abuse, neglect and discrimination during the later years of adulthood. All these forms of violence originate in both structural and institutional inequalities between girls and boys, and between women and men, perpetuated through gender norms, stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes and behaviors. Gender-based violence has cumulative effects which increase the risk of subsequent violence and restrict girls’ and women’s human rights to survival, physical and mental health, full development of their capacities, and sociocultural, political, and economic participation in society (White & Frabutt, 2005).

Armed Conflicts

Research has shown that women and girls often suffer disproportionately in conditions of war and national/international conflict (BRIDGE,2003). Women have been a minority of those who participate in peace and security negotiations, and receive less attention than men in post-conflict agreements, disarmament, and reconstruction (United Nations, 2002). The use of rape as an instrument of violence in wartime is, sadly, well documented. Some progress has been made by UN Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325 adopted in October 2000 to insure women’s participation and protection in peace and security, specifically addressing the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women; the under-valued and under-utilized contributions women make to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peace-building, and the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security; and by subsequent SCR 1820 in 2008, noting sexual violence as a weapon of war; SCR 1888 (in 2009) calling for the appointment of the Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict and establishing Women Protection Advisors (WPAs) and a Team of Experts to deploy to situations of sexual violence; SCR 1889 (in 2009)], calling for measures to assess the implementation of SCR 1325 within the UN system and by Member States; and SCR 1960 (in 2010) calling for justice for victims. Yet, the problems still persist. Women and girls in armed conflict situations are in urgent need of physical assistance and medical care, as well as psychological assistance. Psychological approaches can provide the mental health support required to minimize instances of post-traumatic stress disorder, to re-establish their self-esteem and self-confidence, to re-integrate them into their community and society and to build on their resilience to once again care for themselves and their families. Psychology’s support and messages of self-care, healing, reducing generational transmission of trauma, as well as empowerment and education in emotional intelligence and the use of personal strengths have been shown to be essential components in the recovery process for these women and girls (WHO, 2012).

Work Settings

In work settings, women can become the targets of violence in a number of ways: through toxic personal relationships, worker-on-worker incidents (bullying, harassment, mobbing, etc.), consumer/client abuse, and instances of criminal intent. Psychological approaches have enabled employers to protect their employees by informing a workplace policy that protects women, developing a code of workplace behavior, enforcing policy, conducting staff trainings, publicizing procedures for investigating and dealing with complaints about gender-based violence, identifying community resources, developing safety plans, enhancing security systems, and offering emergency finances (United States Congress Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, 2003). Furthermore, women and girls who are less educated are also less prepared for employment and financial independence, and thus become targets for being forced into servitude, if not slavery, by unscrupulous recruiters and employers. The field of psychology has been a key driver for the benefits of accessible education for women and girls as the basis for greater economic and social equality, with considerably reduced risk of exposure to violence (Denmark & Paludi, 2008)..

Violence Against Women and Girls in International Migration

Reports, such as those by the convention on the rights of female domestic workers by the International Labour Organization, have pointed out that female migrant workers and domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to violence, especially through trafficking and sexual coercion. In this instance as well those outlined above, psychological perspectives can inform humanitarian programmes and government policy in preventing instances of criminal violence, and implementing strategies to heal and re-empower women and girls who have suffered these forms of abuse.

Recommendations

The Psychology Coalition at the United Nations urges Governments, UN Agencies, Civil Society Organizations and all stakeholders to:

  1. Establish laws against all forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence against women and girls as human rights abuses, and to institutionalize processes for apprehending and penalizing violators of these laws.
  2. Provide education on human rights and all forms of gender-based violence as human rights abuses, including their social, cultural and psychological causes and consequences at all levels of formal education.
  3. Provide training for health, social services, and law enforcement personnel in observance of human rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and relevant national legislation, and education for preventing and detecting violence against women and girls.
  4. Join and implement the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign “Unite to End Violence Against Women and Girls” and publicize support for human rights and social justice for all.
  5. Provide human resources, policies, programmes, facilities, and services to promote the mental health and psychosocial recovery and well being for women and girls who have experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence, including services delivered by qualified psychologists themselves or other trained mental health providers.
  6. Establish programmes to promote the education of men and boys in human rights and to promote and mobilize males as partners in the elimination of violence against women and girls.
  7. Provide programmes to promote the psychosocial empowerment of women and girls who have suffered violence, so that they are less vulnerable to future instances of violence and better equipped to cope with violent situations if these should arise.
  8. Promote access to best practices and effective responses by psychologists and mental health workers by facilitating communication at a global level through the use of technology, including cell phones and other devices. Online resources can provide information and suggestions, including strategies for health care workers caring for and helping to empower survivors of sexual and other forms of violence.
  9. Develop a research and programme evaluation system to assess the effectiveness of efforts targeted at the treatment, as well as the elimination and prevention, of violence against women and girls, and the establishment of a best practices database so that “lessons learned” in the past and present can be applied to future situations.
  10. Support psychological research on VAWG, including cultural and structural factors that influence VAWG, and broadly disseminate the results and applications of this work.

REFERENCES

American Psychological Association. (2007). Report of the AP A Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Washington, DC.
BRIDGE (2003). Gender and Armed Conflict. University of Sussex: Institute of Development Studies. Access at: http://www.bridge.ids.ac.uk/reports/CEP-Conflict-Report.pdf
Denmark, F.L. & Paludi, M.A. (2008). Psychology of Women: Issues and Theories. Greenwood. Dovidio, J. F. (2001). On the nature of contemporary prejudice: The third wave. Journal of Social Issues, 57, 829-849.

Manjoo, R. (March 2012). Statement of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Its Causes and Consequences to the Commission on the Status of Women.

Ortoleva, S. and Lewis, H. (2012, August 21). Forgotten Sisters – A Report on Violence Against Women with Disabilities: An Overview of its Nature, Scope, Causes and Consequences. Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 104-2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2133332

Swim, J. K. Eyssell, K.M. Murdoch, E. Q. & Ferguson, M.J. (2010). Self-Silencing to Sexism. Journal of Social Issues, 66(3), 493-507.

United Nations(2002). Women, Peace and Security, Study submitted by the Secretary-General pursuant to Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), United Nations, New York.

Walker, Lenore E. (1999). Psychology and domestic violence around the world. American Psychologist, Vol 54(1), 21-29.

White, J. W. & Frabutt, J. M. (2005). Violence Against Girls and Women: An Integrative Developmental Perspective. In J. Worell & Carol D. Goodheart, Handbook of Girls’ and Women’s Psychological Health. New York: Oxford University Press.

World Health Organization. (November 2012). Violence Against Women: Intimate partner and sexual violence against women. Fact Sheet No. 239. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/

World Health Organization (2012). Mental health and psychosocial support for conflict-related sexual violence: principles and interventions. Access at: http://www.unicef.org/protection/files/Summary_EN_.pdf

CONT ACTS

Mary O’Neill Berry, PhD, International Association of Applied Psychology, mberry@sirota.com

Corann Okorodudu, EdD, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, okorodudu@rowan.edu

Judy Kuriansky, PhD, International Association of Applied Psychology, DrJudyK@aol.com

 

  Posted by David Sharek on March 22, 2013



Promoting Empowerment of People in Achieving Poverty Eradication, Social Integration and Full Employment and Decent Work for All

United Nations

United Nations

Economic and Social Council – E/CN.5/2013/NGO/47

 

Commission for Social Development
Fifty-first session
6-15 February 2013
Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly: priority theme: promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all

Statement submitted by American Psychological Association, International Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and World Council for Psychotherapy, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council

The Secretary-General has received the following statement, which is being circulated in accordance with paragraphs 36 and 37 of Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.

There is broad recognition supported by psychological and social science research that empowerment is essential … Read the rest

United Nations

United Nations

Economic and Social Council – E/CN.5/2013/NGO/47

 

Commission for Social Development
Fifty-first session
6-15 February 2013
Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly: priority theme: promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all

Statement submitted by American Psychological Association, International Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and World Council for Psychotherapy, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council

The Secretary-General has received the following statement, which is being circulated in accordance with paragraphs 36 and 37 of Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.

There is broad recognition supported by psychological and social science research that empowerment is essential to progress and stability in development. There is less understanding and acknowledgement within the international community that empowerment is a multidimensional psychological and social process that involves individuals and groups gaining control over and improving events in their lives. The outcome document of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development recognizes that poverty eradication and employment in decent jobs are crucial to achieving social integration and a society for all. It also recognizes the interactive nature of the goals of the Summit, which are ultimately rooted in psychosocial empowerment and other psychological processes.

Governments, United Nations agencies and the international community generally focus solely on economic policies and indicators in their efforts to achieve the goals of the 1995 Summit. While we recognize the importance of economic policies and measures, the purpose of the present statement is to advocate that governments, United Nations agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations and other stakeholders, should address psychosocial factors as significant, complementary dimensions associated with poverty eradication, full employment and social integration. We offer the recommendations below concerning the importance of psychosocial empowerment, mental health and psychosocial well- being to the achievement of sustainable societies for all.

Psychosocial empowerment

Provide access to productive employment in decent work and formal education

Research in psychology indicates that being engaged in decent work promotes psychosocial empowerment by developing a sense of ownership, optimism and confidence in one’s ability to be effective in dealing with challenges. Empowering people to be productive and resourceful members of their families, communities, and society reduces poverty and marginalization.

Therefore, we urge Governments to create meaningful jobs and to increase and strengthen opportunities for training about entrepreneurship and income-generating activities, life skills development and access to primary, secondary and higher education as important pathways to decent work, social inclusion and the alleviation of poverty. Culturally relevant psychological assessments should be used to help find the most effective fit between individual strengths and available job, vocational or career opportunities.

Promote social equality, human rights and social justice for all

Poverty conditions, including structural inequality, and social and economic disparities affecting individuals, groups and communities, are violations of the human rights to survival, protection, development and social participation. Psychological and social science research demonstrates that social inequalities prevent people from developing their capacities and contributing as productive members of society, create stereotypes and discrimination that function as barriers to social cohesion and are sources of intergroup conflict and social instability, which in turn perpetuate poverty.

We therefore urge Governments and all stakeholders to:

  • Put human rights at the centre of their frameworks for national development, and review and replace the laws, policies, programmes and practices at all levels that discriminate against individuals on the basis of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, colour, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, rural/urban/suburban residences and other categories of social identity.
  • Provide ongoing human rights learning for all members of society, especially individuals and groups living in poverty, in order to foster their vitality, resilience and activism to alleviate poverty conditions.
  • Reduce the physical and mental burden of paid and unpaid work by rural women and girls by providing access to services, tools and technology, and support Convention No. 189 of the International Labour Organization on the rights of domestic workers.

Promote engagement in decision-making and capacity-building networks

Psychological research has demonstrated the value of engaging individuals and groups marginalized or living in poverty as active partners in social and economic planning and operating programmes at all decision-making levels. Group cohesion can be developed by a diverse group coming together on an equal basis and a shared purpose, and working interdependently to achieve a larger, common goal.
We therefore urge Governments and all stakeholders to encourage and provide opportunities for expanding and strengthening cooperative capacity-building community networks through which information about entrepreneurial and social opportunities can be shared.

Mental health care and social protection

Psychological, social science, and mental health literature increasingly confirms that poor mental health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty, which often includes conditions of isolation, lack of education and economic opportunities and resources, and inadequate access to health and mental health care and other social services, especially in rural areas. These multiple stressors interact to cause anxiety and depression, which have a negative impact on the ability of individuals to cope, resulting in the persistence of poverty. Further, poverty may result from environmental migration due to climate change and natural disasters, which are associated with mental health issues for the affected populations such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, child abuse and other forms of interpersonal violence. In addition, poverty has intergenerational effects within families and communities.We therefore

  • Urge Governments and the international community to implement the Social Protection Floor Initiative, including access to mental health care within primary health care to address the basic needs of all vulnerable groups, and taking a lifespan, inclusive, rights-based approach that includes health insurance for all age groups, especially those most in need.
  • Recommend the provision of accessible multidisciplinary service centres and mobile vans, especially in rural areas, to provide one-stop services, including mental health care, literacy, continuing education and entrepreneurial training.
  • Recommend the provision of trained psychologists, mental health counsellors, and social workers well versed in culturally specific methodology and techniques, to train and work with local community peer coaches, especially in rural areas, to recognize mental health problems and to provide services and referrals in an informed, non-discriminatory manner.
  • Urge that special care be taken to ensure that all services and interventions are implemented according to ethical principles and with respect for the human rights and dignity of all individuals.
  • Support the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) for quality care as outlined in their Quality Rights Toolkit campaign.

Psychosocial well-being

The importance of well-being is highlighted in the reports of the Secretary-General on poverty eradication; measures of well-being are addressed in a past Human Development Report; mental health on the WHO website is referred to as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community; and the concept was discussed at the high-level meeting on the theme “Well-being and happiness: defining a new economic paradigm”, held at United Nations Headquarters on 2 April 2012, and at a panel sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in June 2012.

The connection between well-being and employment status is supported by the World Happiness Report, research in the field of psychological and related sciences, studies published in professional journals, including one on health and well-being, and in the book entitled Humanitarian Work Psychology.

We therefore urge Governments and stakeholders to include the concepts of “psychosocial well-being” and/or “mental well-being”, in all actions, policies and programmes initiated to eradicate poverty and advance social integration or social inclusion, in the outcome documents of the sessions of the Commission for Social Development in 2013.

Needs of the most vulnerable groups

Research also shows that marginalized and disenfranchised groups, including women and girls, persons with disabilities, racial/ethnic and religious minorities, migrants and refugees, and rural populations are at the highest risk for poverty and social exclusion and for related psychosocial and mental health problems.

We therefore recommend that disenfranchised and marginalized groups be given special attention in efforts to eradicate poverty and that programmes and policies be examined with regard to addressing gender and other disparities.

Programme evaluation

Strategies and programmes implemented to eradicate poverty and unemployment and to promote social integration need to be evaluated to ensure their effectiveness and to determine the degree to which the policies they are intended to address have had the desired effects.

We therefore recommend that measurement and evaluation of poverty eradication and social integration or inclusion initiatives and programmes be undertaken and that such measures should be developed and analysed in consultation with, and with the assistance of, psychological, social science or other experts in programme measurement and evaluation.

  Posted by David Sharek on November 27, 2012



Psychological Contributions to the Eradication of Poverty

 The Psychology Coalition at the United Nations, New York

Submitted on the occasion of the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

17 October 2012, North Lawn Building, Conference Room 2, United Nations, NY

Co-sponsored by the American Psychological Association, Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention, International Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, International Union of Psychological Science, Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, World Council for Psychotherapy, World Federation for Mental Health and other members of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations

The United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed on 17 October each year to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution worldwide, especially in developing countries. This day was officially declared in December, … Read the rest

 The Psychology Coalition at the United Nations, New York

Submitted on the occasion of the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

17 October 2012, North Lawn Building, Conference Room 2, United Nations, NY

Co-sponsored by the American Psychological Association, Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention, International Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, International Union of Psychological Science, Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, World Council for Psychotherapy, World Federation for Mental Health and other members of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations

The United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed on 17 October each year to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution worldwide, especially in developing countries. This day was officially declared in December, 1992, according to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/196. In December 1995, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997–2006), and in the year 2000, world leaders committed to the Millennium Development Goals which included reducing by half the number of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015.

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Report on Poverty Eradication (E/CN.5/2012/3) acknowledges that poverty is multidimensional.  However, Governments, United Nations agencies, and the international community generally focus on economic policies and indicators in their programmatic efforts to eradicate poverty.  While we do not deny the importance of economic policies and measures, the purpose of this statement is to advocate that governments, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations and other stakeholders, address psychosocial factors as significant, complementary dimensions associated with poverty and its alleviation.   We offer the following recommendations concerning the importance of psychosocial empowerment, mental health, and psychosocial well-being to the achievement of sustainable poverty reduction.

I.          PSYCHOSOCIAL EMPOWERMENT

Provide Access to Productive Employment in Decent Work and Formal Education  

Research in psychology indicates that being engaged in decent work in itself promotes psychosocial empowerment by developing a sense of ownership, optimism, and efficacy/confidence in one’s ability to be effective in dealing with challenges.  Empowering people to be productive and resourceful members of their families, communities and society reduces poverty and marginalization.

Therefore, we urge governments to create meaningful jobs and to increase and strengthen opportunities for training about entrepreneurship and income generating activities, life skills development, and access to primary, secondary and higher education as important pathways to decent work and the alleviation of poverty.  Culturally relevant psychological assessments should be used to help find the most effective fit between individual strengths and available job, vocational, or career opportunities.

Promote Social Equality, Human Rights, and Social Justice for All

Poverty conditions, including structural inequality and social and economic disparities affecting individuals, groups and communities, are violations of their human rights to survival, protection, development, and social participation.  Psychological and social science research demonstrates that social inequalities prevent people from developing their capacities and contributing as productive members of society. Apart from functioning as factors that stunt personal and group development, social inequalities, stereotypes, and discrimination are barriers to social cohesion within a society and are frequent sources of intergroup conflict and social instability, which in turn cause poverty to persist. Individuals living in poverty are more likely to be targets of imprisonment where they do not get the skill training they need to return to society and successfully meet their basic needs; thus continuing in poverty.

Therefore, we urge governments and all stakeholders to:

  • Put human rights at the center of their framework for national development and to review and replace those laws, policies, programmes and practices at all levels that discriminate against individuals on the basis of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, color, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, rural/urban/suburban residence and other categories of social identity. 
  • *Place emphasis on restorative justice (including education and mental health care) and less emphasis on justice by punishment or abuse in criminal justice systems.
  • Provide ongoing human rights learning for all members of society, especially individuals and groups living in poverty, to foster their vitality, resilience and activism to alleviate poverty conditions as social injustices and to advocate for positive social and economic changes in their own lives and the lives of others.
  • Provide education at all levels that is the key to eradication of poverty, as outlined by the UN Secretary-General’s new global initiative “Education First.”
  • Reduce the physical and mental burden of paid and unpaid work by rural women and girls by providing access to services and tools and technology (solar pumps, clean water, cells phone); and support the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 189 guidelines for the rights of domestic workers.

Promote Engagement in Decision-Making and Capacity-Building Networks

Psychological research has demonstrated the value of engaging individuals and groups living in poverty as active partners in planning and operating programs at all decision-making levels. Having ownership and representation in social and economic planning, allows poor sectors of society to be responsive to proposed change initiatives  instead of perceiving interventions as externally controlling and thereby rejecting them. Research has also shown that group cohesion can be developed by a diverse group coming together on an equal basis and a shared purpose, and working interdependently to achieve a larger, common goal.

Therefore, we urge governments and all stakeholders to encourage and provide opportunities for expanding and strengthening capacity-building community networks through which information about entrepreneurial and social opportunities can be shared. 

II.        MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL PROTECTION

The psychological, social science, and mental health literature increasingly confirms that poor mental health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty, which often includes conditions of isolation, lack of education and economic opportunities and resources, inadequate access to health and mental health care and other social services, especially in rural areas.  These multiple stressors interact to cause anxiety and depression which have negative impacts on the ability of individuals to cope, resulting in the persistence of poverty. Further, poverty may result from environmental migration due to climate change and natural disasters, which are associated with mental health issues for the affected populations such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, child abuse and other forms of interpersonal violence. In addition, poverty has intergenerational effects within families and communities.  The recent WHO QualityRights campaign, launched in July 2012, has elaborated on the desperate need for quality mental health care in all countries, especially in developing countries.

Therefore, we: 

  • Urge governments and the international community to implement the Social Protection Floor Initiative, including access to mental health care within primary health care, to take care of basic human needs of all vulnerable groups.
  • Recommend taking a lifespan, inclusive rights-based approach to implementing the Social
  • Protection Floor for all age groups.
  • Recommend the provision of accessible multidisciplinary service centers and mobile vans including access to mental health care, especially in rural areas, to provide one-stop services.  In rural areas, literacy and continuing education and entrepreneurial training should be provided in these centers.
  • Recommend the provision of trained psychologists,  mental health counselors, and social workers well versed e  in culturally-specific methodology and techniques, to train and work with local community peer coaches, especially in rural areas, to recognize mental health problems and to provide services and referrals in an informed, nondiscriminatory manner.
  • Urge that special care be taken to ensure that all services and interventions are implemented according to ethical principles and with respect for the human rights and dignity of all individuals.
  • Support the WHO efforts for quality care as outlined in their Quality Rights Toolkit Campaign. 
  •  Support insurance plans and grants by governments and others to provide health and mental health services in all areas, especially rural areas, to those most in need.

 

III.       PSYCHOSOCIAL WELL-BEING

Well-being is mentioned three times in the Secretary-General’s Report on Poverty Eradication, once specifically as “mental well-being.” Measures of well-being were also included in the UN Human Development Report in the past. The WHO website as of October 2011 defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” The High-Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm was held at UN headquarters on 2 April 2012, according to United Nations resolution 65/309, with many governments and other stakeholders upholding the importance of measuring well-being in national development. The importance of well-being was further supported by a panel sponsored by the UN Development Programme at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012 in Brazil.

The connection between wellbeing and employment status is supported by the World Happiness Report, edited by Helliwell, Leyard and Sachs.  Much research in the field of psychological and related sciences, especially that of Positive Psychology, Clinical and Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology and Industrial/Organizational Psychology, has established the relationship between work and wellbeing.  Many such studies are published in professional journals, including “Health and Wellbeing” and in the edited book, “Humanitarian Work Psychology” (Carr, MacLachlan & Furnham, 2012).

Therefore, we urge governments and stakeholders to include the term “psychosocial well-being” and/or “mental well-being”, in all actions, policies and programmes initiated to eradicate poverty on this day and henceforward, including at the 2013 Commission for Social Development.  We also recommend that governments support the efforts of the Bhutan Government and other governments, agencies, and organizations, to implement measurement of wellbeing in their policies and programmes on development.

IV.       NEEDS OF THE MOST VULNERABLE GROUPS

Research also shows that marginalized and disenfranchised groups, including women and girls, persons with disabilities, racial/ethnic and religious minorities, migrants and refugees, and rural populations are at the highest risk for poverty as well as for related psychosocial and mental health problems.

Therefore, we recommend that disenfranchised and marginalized  groups be given special attention in efforts to eradicate poverty, and that programmes and policies are examined with regard to addressing gender  and other disparities. 

V.     PROGRAM EVALUATION

Strategies and programmes that are implemented to eradicate poverty need to be evaluated to ensure their effectiveness and to determine the degree to which the policies they are intended to address have had the desired effects in eradicating poverty.

Therefore, we recommend that measurement and evaluation of poverty eradication initiatives and programs be undertaken, and that these measures should be developed and analyzed in consultation with, and with the assistance of, psychological, social science or other experts in program measurement and evaluation.

VI.     CALL TO ACTION  

On this 2012 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations calls  for international, national and local  community leaders to prioritize and plan sustainable efforts to eradicate poverty.  We also call upon  individuals and groups to take  immediate, small actions  to reduce poverty, including  engaging in volunteering activities to help the less advantaged, creating petitions to address structural, social and economic disparities, organizing fundraising concerts and other community events to support existing and new poverty elimination programmes, and  honoring individuals and groups that are making a poverty reduction difference that counts. 


Reference

Carr, S. C., MacLachlan, M., & Furnham, A. (Eds.).  (2012).  Humanitarian Work Psychology.  Houndmills, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

CONTACT:

Corann Okorodudu, Ph.D., Chair of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations, UN/NGO Representative of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Email: okorodudu@rowan.edu

Judy Kuriansky, Ph.D., Vice Chair of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations, Main UN/NGO Representative of the International Association of Applied Psychology, Email:  DrJudyK@aol.com

  Posted by David Sharek on October 17, 2012



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