The use of power or coercion whether violent or nonviolent to constrain another's freedom, to violate another's rights, to exploit another, or to deny another's claims to justice. Oppression is clearly at work whenever anyone believes himself to be better than another person by virtue of his membership in a self-styled superior group.
Obvious examples of oppression are the oppression of black people by whites, minorities by majorities, poor people by rich people and women by men. Less obvious examples include the oppression of physically handicapped people in an environment designed only for the able-bodied, the oppression of children in an adult-centred world, and the oppression of people who live on their own in a society where the family is the norm.
Individuals and groups are superior to other individuals and groups. Some people are more intelligent, wealthy, politically discerning, morally upright, sensitive to the needs of others, artistic, educated, disciplined and many many other things. The simple existence of these qualities does not make an oppressive situation and if it does, oppression has little meaning.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.