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Defenders for Human Rights

Glossary of terms

Not qualified or diminished in any way; total. 1
The policy of active participation or engagement in a particular sphere of activity; specifically the use of vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. 2
A negotiated and typically legally binding arrangement between parties as to a course of action. 3
A policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. 4
The absorption and integration of people, ideas, or culture into a wider society or culture. 5
Assimilation (Forced) of Indigenous Peoples
The forced assimilation of indigenous peoples was particularly common in the European colonial empires of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In North and South America, Australia, Africa, and Asia, colonial policies toward indigenous peoples frequently compelled their religious conversion, the removal of children from their families, the division of community property into salable, individually owned parcels of land, the undermining of local economies and gender roles by shifting responsibility for farming or other forms of production from women to men, and the elimination of access to indigenous foodstuffs. Forced assimilation is rarely successful, and it generally has enduring negative consequences for the recipient culture. 6
Your attitude towards something is the way that you think and feel about it, especially when this shows in the way you behave. 7
Of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine. 8
The ways in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others. 9
Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion. 10
An inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair. 11
Referring to a person who is sexually attracted to people of their sex and people of a different sex. 12
A person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable. 13
Intentional harm-doing or harassment that is directed toward vulnerable targets and typically repeated. Bullying encompasses a wide range of malicious aggressive behaviours, including physical violence, verbal mockery, threats, ostracism, and rumours spread either orally or by other means of communication, such as the Internet. 14
A formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol, or convention. 15
A document setting forth the aims and principles of a united group, as of nations, for example, the Charter of the United Nations. 16
Civil Society
The realm of organized and legally bound social life that is voluntary and autonomous from the State, such as non-governmental organizations, associations and grass-roots movements. 17
A group of people acting together. 18
The state or fact of living or existing at the same time or in the same place. 19
A political and economic doctrine that aims to replace private property and a profit-based economy with public ownership and communal control of at least the major means of production (e.g., mines, mills, and factories) and the natural resources of a society. 20
Giving rise or likely to give rise to controversy or public disagreement. 21
A written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action. 22
An agreement between states covering particular matters, especially one less formal than a treaty. 23
Crime against Humanity
Crime against humanity refers to a category of crimes against international law which includes the most egregious violations of human dignity, especially those directed toward civilian populations. The modern understanding of crimes against humanity is codified in the founding statutes of the international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). 24
Critical Thinking
The intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. 25
The ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society. 26
The term "declaration" usually denotes a treaty that declares existing law with or without modification, or creates new law, such as the Declaration of Paris of 1856 or the Declaration of London 1919. 27
A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. 28
The state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect. 29
“Disability” is defined in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, recognizing that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. 30
The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. 31
To deprive of power, authority, or influence; make weak, ineffectual, or unimportant. 32
The displacement of people refers to the forced movement of people from their locality or environment and occupational activities. It is a form of social change caused by a number of factors, the most common being armed conflict. Natural disasters, famine, development and economic changes may also be a cause of displacement. 33
Elections (Free)
A formal and organized choice by vote of a person for a political office or other position. 34
The comprehension of the feelings of others without actually having these feelings. 35
Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. 36
The exclusion of something is the act of deliberately not using, allowing, or considering it. 37
The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. 38
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly
The right to hold public meetings and form associations without interference by the government. Freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed by section 2.(c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms, which is part of the Constitution Act (1982). 39
A person who is emotionally/romantically and physically attracted to persons of the same sex. Gay usually refers to males, but it is also used to include females. Gay can be used interchangeably with homosexual. Gay is most often the term preferred by the gay and lesbian community when referring to homosexual males. 40
Gender (Diversity)
A person's status in society as a man, woman or non-binary person. NOTE: While sex is understood only in terms of biological features (e.g. sex assigned at birth), conceptions of gender are influenced by several factors including biological features, cultural and behavioural norms and individual experience. 41
Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA)
A GSA club is a student-run club in a high school or middle school that brings together LGBTQI+ and straight students to support each other, provide a safe place to socialize, and create a platform to fight for racial, gender, LGBTQ, and economic justice. "GSA" has historically stood for Gay-Straight Alliance, however many clubs have expanded the name of their clubs beyond the binary Gay-Straight terminology. Some examples include: Genders & Sexualities Alliance, Queer Students Alliance, Pride Club, etc. 42
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. 43
The management structures and processes that support the development, implementation and enforcement of policies, programs and activities. 44
The most basic level of an activity or organization. 45
Harassment is a form of discrimination. It involves any unwanted physical or verbal behavior that offends or humiliates you. Generally, harassment is a behavior that persists over time. Serious one-time incidents can also sometimes be considered harassment. 46
Valued objects and qualities such as historic buildings and cultural traditions that have been passed down from previous generations. 47
Diverse in character or content. 48
A person who is emotionally/romantically and physically attracted to persons of the other sex. 49
Characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. 50
An individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation. 51
Consisting of parts or people that are similar to each other or are of the same type. 52
The fear and hatred of homosexuality in others, often exhibited by prejudice, discrimination, bullying or acts of violence. 53
A person who is emotionally/romantically and physically attracted to persons of the same sex. 54
Human beings collectively. The state of being Human. 55
Human Trafficking
The action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. 56
A thing made by combining two different elements. 57
Not subject to being taken away from or given away by the possessor. 58
Idealism is the beliefs and behavior of someone who has ideals and who tries to base their behavior on these ideals. 59
The sense of self, providing a unity of personality over time. 60
Unable to be divided or separated. 61
Organizations founded for a religious, educational, professional, or social purpose. 62
The condition of a group of people or things that all depend on each other. 63
The state of being confined as a prisoner, especially for political or military reasons. 64
If two or more things interrelate, there is a connection between them and they have an effect on each other. 65
To frighten or threaten someone, usually in order to persuade them to do something that you want them to do. 66
The official power to make legal decisions and judgements. 67
The system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties. 68
Living Wage
A living wage is not the same as the minimum wage, which is the legal minimum all employers must pay; a living wage reflects what earners in a family need to bring home based on the actual costs of living in a specific community. 69
Magna Carta
Magna Carta (Latin for “Great Charter”, literally “Great Paper”), also called Magna Carta Libertatum (“Great Charter of Freedoms”), is an English charter originally issued in 1215. Magna Carta was the most significant early influence on the long historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today. Magna Carta was originally created because of disagreements between Pope Innocent III, King John and his English barons about the rights of the King. Magna Carta required the king to renounce certain rights, respect certain legal procedures and accept that the will of the king could be bound by law. 70
To treat someone or something as if they are not important. 71
Organize and encourage (a group of people) to take collective action in pursuit of a particular objective. 72
Large, powerful, indivisible, and slow to change. 73
Viewing or treating (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself. 74
Persecution is cruel and unfair treatment of a person or group, especially because of their religious or political beliefs, or their race. 75
A favorable or unfavorable belief or judgment, made without adequate evidence and not easily alterable by the presentation of contrary evidence. 76
A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning. A rule or belief governing one’s behavior. 77
A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. 78
An umbrella term representative of the vast matrix of identities outside of the gender normative and heterosexual or monogamous majority. Traditionally a pejorative term, “queer” has been appropriated by some LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people to describe themselves. However, it is not universally accepted even within the LGBT community and should be [used with caution]. 79
Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. 80
Reasonable Accommodation
Reasonable accommodation is a means used to put an end to any situation of discrimination based on disability, religion, age or any other ground prohibited by the Charter. Reasonable accommodation is an obligation. As such, employers and service providers have an obligation to actively find a solution allowing employees, clients or recipients to fully exercise their rights. 81
Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour. 82
The setting right of what is wrong; relief from wrong; compensation or satisfaction for a wrong. 83
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries. 84
Relational Health
Relational health refers to interpersonal interactions that are growth‐fostering or mutually empathic and empowering. Poor relational health increases an individual’s risk for developing psychological distress. 85
The act or process of transferring a constitution or constitutional legislation from a mother country to a former dependency. 86
Residential Schools
Canada’s residential school system for Aboriginal children was an education system in name only for much of its existence. These residential schools were created for the purpose of separating Aboriginal children from their families, in order to minimize and weaken family ties and cultural linkages, and to indoctrinate children into a new culture—the culture of the legally dominant Euro-Christian Canadian society, led by Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. The schools were in existence for well over 100 years, and many successive generations of children from the same communities and families endured the experience of them. That experience was hidden for most of Canada’s history, until Survivors of the system were finally able to find the strength, courage, and support to bring their experiences to light in several thousand court cases that ultimately led to the largest class-action lawsuit in Canada’s history. 87
The physical and psychological ability of an individual or group to cope with, recover quickly from, and potentially thrive in, challenging conditions. 88
Security (Personal)
The state of being free from danger or threat. 89
All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. 90
The separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, barriers to social intercourse, divided educational facilities, or other discriminatory means. 91
A system of beliefs that asserts the inferiority of one sex and that justifies discrimination based on gender - that is, on feminine or masculine roles and behaviors. 92
Sexual Diversity
Sexual diversity includes sexual attraction, behaviour, identity and orientation. 93
Slave Trade
The slave trade is the buying and selling of slaves, especially Black Africans, from the 16th to the 19th centuries. 94
A political doctrine that upholds the principle of collectivity, rather than individualism, as the foundation for economic and social life. Socialists favour state and co-operative ownership of economic resources, equality of economic condition and democratic rule and management of economic and social institutions. 95
Social Safety Net
Provincial and municipal social assistance programs, often called Canada’s social security “safety net”, are designed to provide income to meet the cost of basic requirements of a single person or a family when all other financial resources have been exhausted. 96
Standard of Living
The standard of living is a measure of economic welfare. It generally refers to the availability of scarce goods and services, usually measured by per capita income or per capita consumption, calculated in constant dollars, to satisfy wants rather than needs. 97
Refuse to work as a form of organized protest, typically in an attempt to obtain a particular concession or concessions from an employer. 98
Suffrage Movement
The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long struggle intended to address fundamental issues of equity and justice and to improve the lives of Canadians. 99
Suffragists — people who advocated for the extension of suffrage — were typically White, middle-class women, many of whom believed that suffrage would increase the influence of their class and result in a better country. 100
The action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or in order to force them to do or say something. 101
Traditional Economy
A traditional economy is any historical subsistence economy or one that otherwise falls outside the definitions of market or planned economies. A PURE traditional economy has NO changes in how it is done. Examples of traditional economies include those of the Inuit or those of the tea plantations in south India. Traditional economies are popularly conceived of as “primitive” or “undeveloped” economic systems, having tools or techniques seen as outdated. As with the notion of contemporary primitiveness and with modernity itself, the view that traditional economies are backwards is not shared by scholars in economics and anthropology. Traditional economies may be based on custom and tradition or command, with economic decisions based on customs or beliefs of the community, family, clan, or tribe. 102
A person whose gender does not align with their gender assigned at birth. 103
Trauma is a very severe shock or very upsetting experience, which may cause psychological damage. 104
A contract in writing between two or more political authorities (such as states or sovereigns) formally signed by representatives duly authorized and usually ratified by the lawmaking authority of the state. 105
A North American Indigenous person who embodies both female and male spirits or whose gender identity, sexual orientation or spiritual identity is not limited by the male/female dichotomy. 106
Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was a secret network of abolitionists who helped African Americans escape from enslavement in the American South to free Northern states or to Canada. It was the largest anti-slavery freedom movement in North America, having brought between 30,000 and 40,000 fugitives to British North America (Canada). 107
United Nations
An international organization founded in 1946 by the Charter of San Francisco, to ensure international peace and security. The Charter is a treaty between countries that are classified as original and admitted nations. UN institutions are financed by member countries in accordance with their ability to contribute. Its headquarters are in New York. 108
Enduring beliefs that influence attitudes, actions and the choices and decisions we make. 109
Working Conditions
Working conditions are at the core of paid work and employment relationships. Generally speaking, working conditions cover a broad range of topics and issues, from working time (hours of work, rest periods, and work schedules) to remuneration, as well as the physical conditions and mental demands that exist in the workplace. 110