Culture and Human Rights
Culture and Human Rights

Convention Against Torture (CAT): Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1984.  This convention provides a definition of torture, provides universal jurisdiction, and sets up a mechanism to implement it, including an optional protocol that allows for regular visits by UN bodies to further prevent torture from taking place.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW): Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. This convention is viewed as a bill of rights for women. It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and provides an agenda for national action plans to end the discrimination.

Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC): Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. This convention protects children from discrimination, neglect, and abuse and covers a full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.  

Cultural Dynamism: culture is constantly changing, induced by internal adjustments as well as by external influences. Both types of changes adapt to existing norms and institutions. Members of a culture have a range of options to accommodate various individual responses to its norms. The degree of flexibility is controlled by the culture’s own internal criteria for legitimacy. Internal culture discourse provides alternative interpretations, in addition to the dominant one.

Cultural Relativism: the principle that a person’s beliefs and actions should be understood within their context of that person’s culture.

Ethnocentrism: “characterized by or based on the attitude that one’s own group is superior” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethnocentric

Female Genital Mutilation: According to the WHO, it is includes all procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. IT is also known as female genital cutting.

Habeas corpus: right to be brought to a court to determine whether the government has the right to detain and try an individual

Human trafficking: illegal recruitment and trade of people to be exploited against their will

Imprescriptability: Not derived from, or dependent on, external authority; self-evidencing; obvious (http://thinkexist.com/dictionary/meaning/imprescriptible/

Inalienable: not transferable to another or capable of being repudiated. Inalienable rights are those that are inherent to each person and that cannot be taken away from each individual.

International Bill of Rights: the term used to refer to both the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights when considered together.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): is a legally binding treaty that embodies many of the rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The treaty offers the right of self-determination; right to freely dispose of wealth and resources; right to life; right to pardon in case of death sentence; right not to be subject to torture; right not to be held in slavery; right to liberty and security of person; right to be informed of charges if arrested; right to compensation if unlawfully arrested; right to leave and enter their own country without restrictions; right to be treated equally at court; right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; right to freedom of association; right to marry; right to a nationality; and other basic rights. The covenant ensures that these rights should be carried out without discrimination.

International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR): is a legally binding treaty that embodies many of the rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The treaty offers the right of self-determination; right to work; right to favorable and just conditions at work; right to form trade unions; right to strike; right to protection for mothers after childbirth; right to adequate standard of living; right to physical and mental health; right to education; and other basic cultural and economic rights. The covenant ensures that these rights should be carried out without discrimination.

Proxy detention: the transfer of a detainee from one State to another outside the realm of any international or national legal procedure (“rendition” or “extraordinary rendition”)

Rapporteur: “An expert entrusted by the UN with a special human rights mandate, acting in his or her personal capacity.” http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/studyguides/indigenous.html

Ratify: “Ratification defines the international act whereby a state indicates its consent to be bound to a treaty if the parties intended to show their consent by such an act. The institution of ratification grants states the necessary time-frame to seek the required approval for the treaty on the domestic level and to enact the necessary legislation to give domestic effect to that treaty.” http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/studyguides/indigenous.html

Rendition: the secret removal of a suspect to another country without due process of law. Often, the suspect is delivered to a country where torture is secretly allowed.

Self-determination: the right of people to form the government of their choosing, without reference to the desires of any other nation.

UN Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples: Adopted in 2007. This Declaration states individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, including their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues. Sections dealing with land rights are contentious for some states, including the U.S.

United States Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments to the U.S. constitution. Rights include: freedom of speech, of the press, and assembly and the right to petition; right to keep and bear arms; protection from quartering of troops; protection from unreasonable search and seizure; due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain; trial by jury and rights of the accused; civil trial by jury, prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment; and others.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights: the declaration is primarily a statement of principle, a foundation upon which the legal framework for practical protections of the agreed upon rights could be constructed. It is not a legally binding document, but rather serves as a statement of aspirations for all states to achieve a more equitable and just world.

Universal jurisdiction: national courts can “cases of the gravest crimes against humanity, even if these crimes are not committed in the national territory and even if they are committed by government leaders of other states.” http://www.globalpolicy.org/international-justice/universal-jurisdiction-6-31.html