Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people — usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group — in whole or in part. Raphael Lemkin coined the term in 1944,[1][2] combining the Greek word γένος (genos, "race, people") with the Latin suffix -caedo ("act of killing").[3]

In 1948, the United Nations Genocide Convention defined genocide as any of five "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such." These five acts were: killing members of the group, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, imposing living conditions intended to destroy the group, preventing births, and forcibly transferring children out of the group. Victims are targeted because of their real or perceived membership of a group, not randomly.[4][5][6][7]

The Political Instability Task Force estimated that 43 genocides occurred between 1956 and 2016, resulting in about 50 million deaths.[8] The UNHCR estimated that a further 50 million had been displaced by such episodes of violence up to 2008.[8] Genocide is widely considered to signify the epitome of human evil.[9][10][11] As a label, it is contentious because it is moralizing,[12] and has been used as a type of moral category since the late 1990s.[13]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference schab was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Power 2003, pp. 22–29.
  3. ^ Stanton, Gregory H., What is genocide?, Genocide Watch.
  4. ^ "Genocide Background". United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.
  5. ^ "Legal definition of genocide" (PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  6. ^ News, VOA. "What Is Genocide?". Voice of America. Retrieved 22 October 2017. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  7. ^ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide art. 2, 78 U.N.T.S. 277, 9 December 1948.
  8. ^ a b Anderton, Charles H.; Brauer, Jurgen, eds. (2016). Economic Aspects of Genocides, Other Mass Atrocities, and Their Prevention. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-937829-6.
  9. ^ Lang, Berel (2005). "The Evil in Genocide". Genocide and Human Rights: A Philosophical Guide. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 5–17. doi:10.1057/9780230554832_1. ISBN 978-0-230-55483-2. On any ranking of crimes or atrocities, it would be difficult to name an act or event regarded as more heinous. Genocide arguably appears now as the most serious offense in humanity’s lengthy—and, we recognize, still growing—list of moral or legal violations.
  10. ^ Gerlach, Christian (2010). Extremely Violent Societies: Mass Violence in the Twentieth-Century World. Cambridge University Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-139-49351-2. Genocide is an action-oriented model designed for moral condemnation, prevention, intervention or punishment. In other words, genocide is a normative, action-oriented concept made for the political struggle, but in order to be operational it leads to simplification, with a focus on government policies.
  11. ^ Hollander, Paul (1 July 2012). "Perspectives on Norman Naimark's Stalin's Genocides". Journal of Cold War Studies. 14 (3): 149–189. doi:10.1162/JCWS_a_00250. S2CID 57560838. ... genocide has become the yardstick, the gold standard for identifying and measuring political evil in our times. The label 'genocide' confers moral distinction on its victims and indisputable condemnation on its perpetrators.
  12. ^ Göçek, Fatma Müge (2015). Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present and Collective Violence Against the Armenians, 1789–2009. Oxford University Press. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-0-19-933420-9. The term 'genocide' is also contentious in that it has an inherent moral judgment, ... one that privileges the morality of the victims over the perpetrators.
  13. ^ Irvin-Erickson, Douglas (2017). Raphael Lemkin and the Concept of Genocide. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-8122-4864-7. In the late 1990s, the word 'genocide' began to be used as a type of moral category, taking on a symbolic quality as the crime of crimes, the darkest of humanity's inhumanity.

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