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What is the definition of Genocide?

Genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer and a Polish Jew, in 1944. It is a combination of a Greek word genos (meaning "race," "group," or "tribe") and a Latin ending ...cide (meaning "killing").

Genocide was declared an international crime in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Convention defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

a. Killing members of the group;
b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.


Public Service Announcement (PSA) for the ENOUGH! project to abolish genocide & mass atrocities.
Length: 0:30

How can I find information about Genocide or narrow my focus?

You can find information about genocide by using resources recommended to you in this guide and by following suggested search tips. Although the following suggested subject headings may be related, they are not interchangeable.They may, nonetheless, generate resources related to your research:

  • Genocide
  • Ethnic cleansing
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Holocaust
  • Massacre
  • War crimes

Additionally, you may choose to focus on a specific group of people, such as women or child soldiers, or on a particular genocide, including, but not limited to:

  • Armenia
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Chechnya, Russia
  • DR Congo
  • East Timor
  • Nazi Holocaust
  • Rape of Nanking
  • Rwanda
  • Sudan

International Federation for Human Rights

The aim of the FIDH is to obtain effective improvements in the protection of victims, the prevention of Human Rights abuse and the prosecution of those responsible.

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