Glossary of difficult words

abuse - causing physical, mental, verbal or sexual harm to a person

accusation - a statement that someone has done something wrong

advocacy - seeking with, and on behalf of, poor people to address underlying causes of poverty, bring justice and support good development through influencing the policies and practices of the powerful

allegation - an accusation, usually without evidence

asylum a place of refuge and safety from persecution

atrocity act of extreme wickedness, usually involving violence

boycott the refusal to have anything to do with a particular organisation or its products, as a means of protest against it and in order to persuade it to change its policies

bribery the deliberate giving of a sum of money or other gift to influence someone else’s behaviour

caste the social class and rank or position of somebody in a society, which is based on birth, or occupation

citizen a person who belongs to a country or state

condemns forces someone to experience something bad

consequences the results of an action

constitution a written statement outlining the basic laws or principles by which a country or organisation is governed

corruption dishonest practices, like offering or accepting bribes or altering records, usually for financial gain

discrimination to treat a particular group of people differently, usually for the worse, for example because of their race, sex or ethnic group

enforced put into practice, not given a choice

entitled having the right to something

environment natural world that surrounds us

equivalent something that is the same, or equal

ethnic (origin) belonging to a group in society with a shared identity, history, culture and traditional home land

exploit to take unfair advantage of people or resources for personal gain

female genital mutilation a harmful traditional practice where flesh is cut away from the female sexual organs

human rights the basic rights and freedoms that all human beings should have

independent (court) not controlled by politics or money and able to decide freely

indigenous belonging to the local area, ethnic group

inheritance goods, money and property that a person receives from someone who has died

injustice unfair treatment, abuse of power

interpretation the way something is understood and used in practice

jubilee biblical tradition of cancelling debts every 50 years
justice fair treatment, good use of power

lawyer a person who is professionally trained in law, whose work is to speak on behalf of people in the law courts

legal aid legal help given free of charge to people who cannot afford to pay for lawyers

oppression harsh or cruel treatment of the powerless by the powerful

orphans children whose parent or parents have died

participation / participate involvement in something / to be involved actively

prisoners of conscience people who are sent to prison because of their political, religious or social views

reconciliation the bringing together of people or organisations that have been in conflict, and resolving that conflict

redistribution sharing out resources more fairly

repercussions negative results of an action

righteousness being in right relationship with God, other people and the creation

rights-based approach a participatory and empowering method of development, which seeks to hold institutions and powerful people accountable for their responsibilities to those with less power

sexual exploitation to take unfair advantage of someone for sexual purposes

significance the importance or meaning of something

social justice fair treatment for the community

stewardship the responsibility to look after something

torture deliberately and methodically causing pain to someone

universal applying to all people

UN convention a treaty that has been agreed and signed by member countries in the United Nations

unwittingly without realising

vulnerable at risk of harm

widows women whose husbands have died

(legal) witness someone who speaks in court about their experience of the person or event