Australian immigration detention has been criticized both domestically and internationally for the harm that it creates and promotes and for violating human rights and international law. Psychologists have worked within centers and have thus been central to their operation, but have also long called for reform of these policies. Despite this and despite broader criticism from all corners of Australian society, the government has continued to consolidate power in relation to the administration of these policies and has actively attempted to shut down dissent. How should Psychologists respond? This article will argue that current approaches are inadequate and more adversarial action is needed. Supporting such an approach, social movement theory will be introduced and applied to examine how it may inform future action. Psychologists have an obligation to protect human rights and health, and while more adversarial action may not typically fit in traditional repertoires, there are few other professionals who are better skilled to begin to deal with these questions. In light of this, Psychologists in Australia and across the globe should carefully consider their roles in social change and whether they can do more in the face of major human rights abuses.
SOURCE: Ryan Essex. “Psychology and Its Response to Major Human Rights Abuses The Case of Australian Immigration Detention” European Psychologist, June 14, 2019.
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Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia