Human rights

Human rights are rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. In response to widespread, horrific violations of human rights in the first half of the 20th century, the international community established international human rights laws that lay down the obligations of governments to respect, protect and fulfill human rights. APA's vision statement includes serving as an effective champion of the application of psychology to promote human rights.

Understanding Human Rights

  • What are human rights?
    The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has the mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights.

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted on Dec. 10, 1948. The date has since served to mark Human Rights Day worldwide.

  • The United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights' keynote address at the International Congress of Psychology 2012: Exploring the nexus of psychology and human rights and how they serve humanity. 

  • Human Rights: A Basic Overview
    The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition is a network of scientific membership organizations that recognizes a role for science and scientists in efforts to realize human rights. Launched in January 2009, the aim of the Coalition is to facilitate communication and partnerships on human rights within and across the scientific community, and between the scientific and human rights communities.

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APA Offices and Programs

  • Public Interest Directorate

    Applies psychology to the fundamental problems of human welfare and the promotion of equitable and just treatment of all segments of society through education, training and public policy.

  • Office of International Affairs

    The Office of International Affairs serves as APA’s touch point for international information and initiatives within APA. It leads outreach with APA’s international members and affiliates, and coordinates APA’s participation in international venues.