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PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GENOCIDE: SLAUGHTERING THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND OTHER MINORITIES

PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GENOCIDE: SLAUGHTERING THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND OTHER MINORITIES

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Published by Amjad Nazeer
PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GENOCIDE
SLAUGHTERING THE RIGHTS OF
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND OTHER MINORITIES
PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GENOCIDE
SLAUGHTERING THE RIGHTS OF
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND OTHER MINORITIES

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Published by: Amjad Nazeer on Dec 01, 2010
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PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GENOCIDPHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GENOCIDPHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GENOCIDPHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GENOCIDEEEE
SLAUGHTERING THE RIGHTS OFSLAUGHTERING THE RIGHTS OFSLAUGHTERING THE RIGHTS OFSLAUGHTERING THE RIGHTS OFINDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND OTHER MINORITIESINDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND OTHER MINORITIESINDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND OTHER MINORITIESINDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND OTHER MINORITIES
Amjad NazeerAmjad NazeerAmjad NazeerAmjad NazeerAprilAprilAprilApril, 2010, 2010, 2010, 2010Roehampton University, London.Roehampton University, London.Roehampton University, London.Roehampton University, London.
 
 
Amjad Nazeer Physical and Cultural Genocide 1
PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GENOCID(SLAUGHTERING THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND OHTERMINORITIES)
Abstract
Genocide is the most serious crime against humanity. It is ancient in age but youngin the arena of human rights scholarship. Ex-post holocaust 1940s, United NationsConvention on Genocide (UNCG) is supposed to be the historic document that setout to prevent and punish the crime of genocide. But the dream of ‘never again’ hasbrazenly shattered more than once. Since 1970s we have seen several morehorrendous acts and events of genocide across the world. Millions more innocentsouls were lost ever since. Realizing the continuity and complications it involves,intellectual and legal interest has ensued in the crime of genocide. How to definegenocide, therefore, is the first stride. Obviously, it is the definition, national andinternational law, preventive and administrative measures depend on. But the verydefinition of genocide has turned to be an enigma. A massive debate surrounds thenature, methods, typology, intent and causes and consequences of genocide. APolish legal scholar Raphael Lemkin, single headedly contributed so much to theconcept of genocide that any scholar can hardly neglect his thoughts. Same is truefor this essay. It draws heavily from the ideas and preventive suggestions made byLemkin. However latest research and present day understanding has not beenundermined either. The idea of ‘social death’ and destruction of people’s ‘way of life’has been elaborated to explain the distinctiveness of the crime. Its’ predominantconnection with war, however, has been mainly dealt at the subsurface level. Theessay analyzes and advocates for a broader definition of genocide, believing it to bethe most effective way of minimizing the possibilities of genocide in future.Incorporating ‘cultural genocide’ along with the prohibition of genocidal acts againstminorities and indigenous people has been emphatically argued for. The overallapproach adopted here is analytical and suggestive rather than investigative.
 
 
Amjad Nazeer Physical and Cultural Genocide 2
Naming the Crime:
The word
‘genocide’ 
is composed of the Greek prefix
genos
meaning race or tribeand the Latin suffix
cide
means killing
1
.Now the globally recognized term and theconcept,
genocide,
was invented and introduced by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewishlegal scholar in the preface of his groundbreaking work,
 Axis Rule in Occupied Europe 1943,
replacing the terms then in currency
‘homicide’ 
,
‘barbarity’ 
and
‘vandalism’ 
that he himself also used in Madrid Conference 1933. While fleeing fromNazi atrocities and seeking refuge in USA, he carefully studied
German occupationdecrees and policies
of exterminating Jewish population and providing opportunitiesto the self-assumed superior-race of German ‘
 Aryans’ 
to thrive and flourish.
Germanization
and
denationalization
did not signify the
biological 
and
 physical destruction
that it involved but only the imposition of the
national pattern
of theoppressor on the
oppressed nation
. To him, it was not only an act of 
depopulation
or 
mass killing 
but a planned and premeditated process of a
social 
and
cultural destruction
of a
national group
2
. 
Genocide
was the ‘word’ that adequately expressedthe semantic precision and intensity of the crime with all its’ entirety. Beyond
war crimes
and
crimes against humanity 
Nazi Germans were engaged in an offense thatasked for a new interpretation and a fresh nomenclature. It was not only an act of extinguishing Jews but a systematic restructuring of European populations as well.However, post UN GC 1948, the social-scientific interest in the problem of 
genocide
 commenced in the 1970s continuing to date
3
.
Putting the Evil in Abstraction - Defining Genocide:
Typologies and definitions of 
genocide
vary from narrow to the broader context,depending on the normative and prescriptive assumptions of the definers, however maintaining a consensus on the core concept of the problem
4
.The most frequentlyquoted definition of 
‘genocide’ 
is the one adopted by the UN General Assembly
 
inDecember 9, 1948, in the
International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (IC-PPCG)
. Article 2 of the Convention saysthat,
‘genocide’ 
means any of the following acts committed with an
intent to destroy 
,
wholly or in part 
, a
national, ethnic, racial, or religious group
as such:
“Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of thegroup; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring its physical destruction in whole or in part; Imposing measures to prevent birth in thegroup; and Forcibly transferring children of the groups to another group” 
.
The above quoted definition is mainly stressing on
 physical destruction
. Frank Chalkand Kurt Johnson further narrow down the definition to the
 physical elimination
of thevictims, failing to identify other forms of biological elimination in the following words:
Genocide is a form of one sided mass killing, in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a groups as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrators” 
.But exclusively linking it with the state or an authority puts other possible perpetrators in oblivion. However, broadens the range of 
the victim group
bythe very idea of being subjectively defined by the perpetrators
6
. 
Israel Charny settlesdown with what he calls a
humanistic definition
of genocide that
, “a wanton murder of human beings on the basis of any identity whatsoever that they share
.” 
 

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