What does the term "ethnic minorities" mean?

Minorities are disadvantaged ethnic, national, religious, linguistic or cultural groups who are smaller in number than the rest of the population and who may wish to maintain and develop their identity. Lack of quantitative and qualitative data makes it difficult to assess how many minority and indigenous communities exist around the world. Many states believe that recognizing ethnic, religious or linguistic differences will have a negative, disruptive and even destabilizing effect on a country.
The fundamental difference between indigenous peoples and minorities lies in indigenous peoples’ ties to their territory of origin or specific livelihoods when nomadic. In many indigenous belief systems, land has a symbolic and spiritual value, as well as a social and economic function within the group, even for those who live outside of the homeland.

Source: Minority Rights Group International. MRG: State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2009.

What is "disabilities"?

Disability cannot be easily defined and conceptualized. The current international standard is the definition of the World Health Organization (WHO): “disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.”

Source: World Health Organization,, last access: 28/04/2010
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