European colonization of the Americas

Ethnic cleansing in the Soviet Union

Genocide is intentional action to destroy a people (usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group) in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Greek word génos ("race, people") and the Latin suffix -cide ("act of killing"). The United Nations Genocide Convention, which was established in 1948, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group".

The term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe; it has been applied to the Holocaust, and many other mass killings including the genocide of indigenous peoples in the Americas, the Armenian Genocide, the Greek genocide, the Assyrian genocide, the Serbian genocide, the Holodomor, the Guatemalan genocide, the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, the Cambodian genocide, and – after 1980 – the Bosnian genocide, the Kurdish genocide, the Darfur genocide, and the Rwandan genocide.

The Political Instability Task Force estimated that, between 1956 and 2016, a total of forty-three genocides took place, causing the death of about 50 million people. The UNHCR estimated that a further 50 million had been displaced by such episodes of violence up to 2008.

Before 1944, various terms, including "massacre", "crimes against humanity", and "extermination" were used to describe intentional, systematic killings. In 1941, Winston Churchill, when describing the German invasion of the Soviet Union, spoke of "a crime without a name".

This page was last edited on 14 June 2018, at 16:13.
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