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The Genocide Portal

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, combining the Greek word γένος (genos, "race, people") with the Latin suffix -caedo ("act of killing").

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.

The Political Instability Task Force estimated that 43 genocides occurred between 1956 and 2016, resulting in about 50 million deaths. The UNHCR estimated that a further 50 million had been displaced by such episodes of violence up to 2008. Genocide, especially large-scale genocide, is widely considered to signify the epitome of human evil. As a label, it is contentious because it is moralizing, and has been used as a type of moral category since the late 1990s. (Full article...)

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The process that has been described as the genocide of indigenous peoples in Brazil began with the Portuguese colonization of the Americas, when Pedro Álvares Cabral made landfall in what is now the country of Brazil in 1500. This started the process that led to the depopulation of the indigenous peoples in Brazil, because of disease and violent treatment by European settlers, and their gradual replacement with colonists from Europe and Africa. This process has been described as a genocide, and continues into the modern era with the ongoing destruction of indigenous peoples of the Amazonian region. Over eighty indigenous tribes were destroyed between 1900 and 1957, and the overall indigenous population declined by over eighty percent, from over one million to around two hundred thousand. The 1988 Brazilian Constitution recognises indigenous peoples' right to pursue their traditional ways of life and to the permanent and exclusive possession of their "traditional lands", which are demarcated as Indigenous Territories. In practice, however, Brazil's indigenous people still face a number of external threats and challenges to their continued existence and cultural heritage. The process of demarcation is slow—often involving protracted legal battles—and FUNAI do not have sufficient resources to enforce the legal protection on indigenous land.

Since the 1980s there has been a boom in the exploitation of the Amazon Rainforest for mining, logging and cattle ranching, posing a severe threat to the region's indigenous population. Settlers illegally encroaching on indigenous land continue to destroy the environment necessary for indigenous peoples' traditional ways of life, provoke violent confrontations and spread disease. Peoples such as the Akuntsu and Kanoê have been brought to the brink of extinction within the last three decades. On 13 November 2012, the national indigenous peoples association from Brazil APIB submitted to the United Nation a human rights document with complaints about new proposed laws in Brazil that would further undermine their rights if approved. Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been formed due to the ongoing persecution of the indigenous peoples in Brazil, and international pressure has been brought to bear on the state after the release of the Figueiredo Report which documented massive human rights violations. The abuses have been described as genocide, ethnocide and cultural genocide.

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Vahagn Dadryan.JPG
Vahakn Norair Dadrian (Armenian: Վահագն Տատրեան; 26 May 1926 – 2 August 2019) was an Armenian-American sociologist and historian, born in Turkey, professor of sociology, historian, and an expert on the Armenian genocide. He was one of the early scholars of the academic study of genocide and recognized as one of the key thinkers on the Holocaust and genocide. However, Dadrian's approach to history has been criticized and some of the ideas he advanced are not followed by scholars in the twenty-first century. (Full article...)


Left pointing double angle quotation mark sh3.svg "We are living in a time of the trivialization of the word 'Holocaust,' What happened to the Jews cannot be compared with all the other crimes. Every Jew had a death sentence without a date." Right pointing double angle quotation mark sh3.svg — Simon Wiesenthal, AP Interview, 1999

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International prosecution of genocide (ad hoc tribunals)

It is commonly accepted that, at least since World War II, genocide has been illegal under customary international law as a peremptory norm, as well as under conventional international law. Acts of genocide are generally difficult to establish, for prosecution, since intent, demonstrating a chain of accountability, has to be established. International criminal courts and tribunals function primarily because the states involved are incapable or unwilling to prosecute crimes of this magnitude themselves.

For more information see:

International prosecution of genocide (International Criminal Court)

To date all international prosecutions for genocide have been brought in specially convened international tribunals. Since 2002, the International Criminal Court can exercise its jurisdiction if national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute genocide, thus being a "court of last resort," leaving the primary responsibility to exercise jurisdiction over alleged criminals to individual states. Due to the United States concerns over the ICC, the United States prefers to continue to use specially convened international tribunals for such investigations and potential prosecutions.[1]

For more information see:

  1. ^ "Statement by Carolyn Willson, Minister Counselor for International Legal Affairs, on the Report of the ICC, in the UN General Assembly" (PDF). (123 KiB) November 23 2005

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