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Wikimedia Foundation/Legal/Community Resilience and Sustainability/Human Rights/Glossary

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Human Rights


Digital Safety[edit]

Digital safety refers to staying safe from and being aware of possible threats that you could encounter when on the Internet. That includes protecting personal data, maintaining anonymity online and ensuring secure communication.


Human dignity is based on the fundamental belief that every human being has a value. In International Human Rights Law, human dignity is not a right in itself but the essential base for all other human rights and freedoms.

Disadvantaged groups[edit]

Some groups or individuals face economic, social, political or cultural disadvantages due to factors such as ethnicity, sex, age, ability, religion or citizenship. Oftentimes discrimination against such groups has been present over a long period of time and has become systematic, which means it has become an inherent part of the society they live in.


Equity means that resources are shared based on what each person needs in their specific circumstance (for example what they already have or don’t have). Equality on the other hand is when everyone receives an equal share of resources, regardless of circumstance.

Human Rights[edit]

Human rights (also called “fundamental rights”) are a set of rights and freedoms designed to recognize and protect the dignity of all human beings. They belong to every single person regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion or other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Human rights are enshrined in national laws around the world and International Human Rights Law, and are constantly being maintained and expanded by countless human rights defenders and advocates across regions and disciplines.

Knowledge equity[edit]

Historically, knowledge has been distributed in an unequal way – marginalized and disadvantaged communities have been excluded from access to knowledge by structures of power and privilege. The Wikimedia Movement aims to shift this dynamic, working to provide everyone with the resources they need to create and consume information.

Freedom of expression[edit]

Freedom of expression is the right to hold views and opinions free from state interference. This also includes the right to seek, receive and share information through any media and regardless of frontiers. Freedom of expression is a so-called “qualified right” – that means it can be restricted in order to protect the community or other people’s rights (for example if it incites violence).

Good faith[edit]

If a Wikimedian contributes to the projects in good faith, they do so with good and honest intentions, not intending possible harmful consequences.


For this page, persecution can be defined as a systematic ill-treatment of an individual because of who they are, what they do or what they believe in. Persecution can for instance take the form of physical or mental violence or discriminatory legal action. (Do not confuse with “prosecution”, which simply means bringing legal action against someone.)

Risk/risk mitigation[edit]

Risk refers to the possibility of events that will result in harm. Risk mitigation is about understanding the risk and taking steps to prevent or alleviate negative effects.


Self-censorship is the act of censoring, hiding or filtering one’s speech or expression. When somebody self-censors they voluntarily choose to do so, but often act out of pressure or fear of negative consequences.


A threat is an indication or declaration to harm somebody else’s physical or moral integrity or property.


Vulnerabilities are any factors which make it more likely for harm to occur or which increase potential damage. Vulnerabilities can be connected to membership of historically targeted and disadvantaged groups (indigenous people, LGBTQ+ community, Human Rights Defenders...), but can also be due to one’s overall circumstance (medical conditions, age, living alone in remote areas,...).