To Repair the World: Becoming a Human Rights Defender

To Repair the World: Becoming a Human Rights Defender

To Repair the World: Becoming a Human Rights Defender What is genocide? Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group The crime of genocide has two elements: intent and action. "Intentional" means purposeful. Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders. But more often, it must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts. Convention on the Prevention and

Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Approved and proposed for signature and ratification or accession by General Assembly resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948 Entry into force: 12 January 1951, in accordance with article XIII Defines genocide in legal terms, and is the culmination of years of campaigning by lawyer Raphael Lemkin. All participating countries are required to prevent and punish actions of genocide, whether carried out in war or in peacetime. The law protests four groups

National group- a set of individuals whose identity is defined by a common country of nationality or national origin. Ethnical group- a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common cultural traditions, language or heritage. Racial group- a set of individuals whose identity is defined by physical characteristics. Religious group-a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common religious creeds, beliefs, doctrines, practices, or rituals

Prevention of genocide requires a structural understanding of the genocidal process. Genocide has eight stages or operational processes. The first stages precede later stages, but continue to operate throughout the genocidal process. Each stage reinforces the others. A strategy to prevent genocide should attack each stage, each process. 8 Stages of Genocide

Classification Symbolization Dehumanization Organization

Polarization Preparation Extermination Denial Classification All languages and cultures

require classification division of the natural and social world into categories. We distinguish and classify objects and people. All cultures have categories to distinguish between us and them, between members of our Symbolization We use symbols to name and

signify our classifications. We name some people Hutu and others Tutsi, or Jewish or Gypsy, or Christian or Muslim. Sometimes physical characteristics - skin color or nose shape - become symbols for classifications. Other symbols, like customary dress or facial scars, are socially imposed by groups on their own members.

Dehumanization Classification and symbolization are fundamental operations in all cultures. They become steps of genocide only when combined with dehumanization. Denial of the humanity of others is the step that permits killing with impunity. The universal human abhorrence of murder of members of one's own group is

overcome by treating the victims as less than human. Organization Genocide is always collective because it derives its impetus from group identification. It is always organized, often by states but also by militias and hate groups. Planning need not be elaborate: Hindu mobs may hunt down Sikhs or Muslims, led by local leaders. Methods of killing need not be complex. The social organization of genocide varies by culture.

Polarization Genocide proceeds in a downward cycle of killings until, like a whirlpool, it reaches the vortex of mass murder. Killings by one group may provoke revenge killings by the other. Such massacres are aimed at polarization, the systematic elimination of moderates who would slow the cycle. Extremists target moderate leaders and their

families. The center cannot hold. The most extreme take over, polarizing the conflict until negotiated settlement is impossible. Preparation Preparation for genocide includes identification. Lists of victims are drawn up. Houses are marked. Maps are made. Individuals are forced to carry ID cards identifying their ethnic or religious group. Identification greatly speeds the slaughter. Preparation also includes expropriation of the property of the

victims. It may include concentration: herding of the victims into ghettos, stadiums, or churches. Extermination The seventh step, the final solution, is extermination. It is considered extermination, rather than murder, because the victims are not considered human. Because they are not considered persons, their bodies are

mutilated, buried in mass graves or burnt like garbage. Denial Every genocide is followed by denial. The mass graves are dug up and hidden. The historical records are burned, or closed to historians. Even during the genocide, those committing the crimes dismiss reports as propaganda. Afterwards such deniers are called revisionists.

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