Reviewing the legal and academic history of usage of the terms genocide and ethnocide, Bartolomé Clavero differentiates between them in that "Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls". In addition, "since cultural genocide can only be the cultural dimension of genocide", the idea of ethnocide is more than just "cultural genocide", but also part of broader genocidal process.
Origin of the word
Raphael Lemkin, the linguist and lawyer who coined genocide in 1943 as the union of "the Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing)", also suggested ethnocide as an alternative form representing the same concept, using the Greek ethnos (nation) in place of genos. However, the term genocide has received much wider adoption than ethnocide.
As early as 1933, lawyer Raphael Lemkin proposed a cultural component to genocide, which he called "cultural genocide". The term has since acquired rhetorical value as a phrase that is used to protest against the destruction of cultural heritage.
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The drafters of the 1948 Genocide Convention considered the use of the term, but dropped it from their consideration. The legal definition of genocide is left unspecific about the exact nature in which genocide is done only that it is destruction with intent to destroy a racial, religious, ethnic or national group as such.
Article 7 of a 1994 draft of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples uses both the word "ethnocide" and the phrase "cultural genocide" but does not define what they mean. The complete article reads as follows:
- Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress for:
- (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
- (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
- (c) Any form of population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
- (d) Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures;
- (e) Any form of propaganda directed against them.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 62nd session at UN Headquarters in New York City on 13 September 2007, but only mentions "genocide", not "cultural genocide", although the article is otherwise unchanged.
Notions of ethnocide
Ethnocide means that an ethnic group is denied the right to enjoy, develop and transmit its own culture and its own language, whether collectively or individually. This involves an extreme form of massive violation of human rights and, in particular, the right of ethnic groups to respect for their cultural identity.
The French ethnologist Robert Jaulin (1928-1996) proposed a redefinition of the concept of ethnocide in 1970, to refer not the means but the ends that define ethnocide. Accordingly, the ethnocide would be the systematic destruction of the thought and the way of life of people different from those who carry out this enterprise of destruction. Whereas the genocide assassinates the people in their body, the ethnocide kills them in their spirit.
- Martin Shaw (20 March 2007). What is Genocide. Polity. pp. 65–67. ISBN 978-0-7456-3182-0. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
So the idea of ethnocide as 'cultural genocide' distinct from physically violent genocide is misleading, since cultural genocide can only be the cultural dimension of genocide, something which is integral to every genocidal attack. ... It is better to refer to cultural suppression for pre-genocidal denial of culture, the cultural dimension of genocide for suppression that is part of broader genocidal process, and unintentional group destruction for cases where groups are destroyed by disease and famine that are originally unintended.
- Lemkin, Raphael. Acts Constituting a General (Transnational) Danger Considered as Offences Against the Law of Nations. Published 14 October 1933. Accessed 21 May 2007.
- Gerard Delanty; Krishan Kumar (29 June 2006). The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalism. SAGE. p. 326. ISBN 978-1-4129-0101-7. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
The term 'ethnocide' has in the past been used as a replacement for cultural genocide (Palmer 1992; Smith 1991:30-3), with the obvious risk of confusing ethnicity and culture.
- Bartolomé Clavero (2008). Genocide Or Ethnocide, 1933-2007: How to Make, Unmake, and Remake Law with Words. Giuffrè Editore. p. 100. ISBN 978-88-14-14277-2. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls.
- Donald Bloxham; A. Dirk Moses (15 April 2010). The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies. Oxford University Press. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-0-19-161361-6. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Raphael Lemkin, Acts Constituting a General (Transnational) Danger Considered as Offences Against the Law of Nations (J. Fussell trans., 2000) (1933); Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, p. 91 (1944).
- See Prosecutor v. Krstic, Case No. IT-98-33-T (Int'l Crim. Trib. Yugo. Trial Chamber 2001), at para. 576.
- Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, art. 2, Dec. 9, 1948, 78 U.N.T.S. 277. Archived April 8, 2000, at the Wayback Machine
- Draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples drafted by The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities Recalling resolutions 1985/22 of 29 August 1985, 1991/30 of 29 August 1991, 1992/33 of 27 August 1992, 1993/46 of 26 August 1993, presented to the Commission on Human Rights and the Economic and Social Council at 36th meeting 26 August 1994 and adopted without a vote.
- William Schabas (2000). Genocide in International Law: The Crime of Crimes. Cambridge University Press. pp. 189–. ISBN 978-0-521-78790-1. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- La Paix blanche, Introduction à l'ethnocide, Paris, Éditions du Seuil (Combats), 1970
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