September 16, 2019
 In 2023-Definition of Genocide

Country: France
Delegate Name: Harini Manikandan

Legal Committee
The Definition of Genocide
French Republic
Harini Manikandan
City High Middle
Genocide is one of the most horrific things the French Republic has witnessed. Genocide was defined by the United Nations in the 1949 Genocide Convention as “a crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, in whole or in part”. History is filled with notorious genocides like those in Armenia, Cambodia, and Darfur. The Holocaust is the most renowned example with over 6 million Jewish people being killed for only their religion. The Rwandan genocide from April to July of 1994 is an example of a modern genocide. It is a time when everyone stood blindly and under 1 million people died. Every nation has an individual view when it comes to genocide. Therefore, it is not about categorizing the past of who was wrong or who was right, but it is about honoring those who were harmed. In the 1900s, over 39 million people were killed by genocide. It is every nation’s duty to admit their past and secure a better future for those they have wronged. Thus we must write a definition of genocide to show that we have learned from our mistakes. This issue is of utmost importance, for this would be atonement for the role France played in the Rwandan genocide. The United Nations first started awareness of genocide in 1946, and it was declared an international crime in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The definition of genocide hasn’t changed since 1948. France believes that the United Nations should work on finding a better definition that includes aspects that weren’t talked about prior.

France believes that there should be immediate action to change the definition and raise awareness of genocide. Although we do not face many problems with genocide nationally, we advocate for genocide awareness and human rights throughout the world. Nationally, the French parliament has approved of many changes to the legislation about crimes against humanity, and it has a legal system that will allow for easy prosecution of individuals who commit crimes against humanity or genocide. In Article 211-1 of our Constitution, we “extend the definition of protected victim groups to include groups determined from any other arbitrary criterion”. This modified definition is an excellent idea that could be used as inspiration for the universal change of it. In France, there are severe consequences for discrimination of people based on race, gender, and religion, which are known to be the main causes of genocide. We not only work on raising awareness and prevention for genocide, but we also seek to stop the problems that lead to genocide such as discrimination and hate speech. France considers the duty of remembrance to be an integral part of its foreign policy. It is committed to using its entire diplomatic, scientific and cultural network to encourage human rights education and remembrance of genocides”. We acknowledge genocides but we also seek to increase human rights awareness. Underneath every moral issue, France faces is a correlation to human rights which are the foundation of justice and democracy. France is honored to play a leading role in the United Nations on topics of peace, security, and mostly human rights. We talk about many issues in the Human Rights Council and are firm supporters of all human rights especially ones involving crimes against humanity. France believes that changing the definition of genocide is critical for clarifying standards for genocide which would then inform national decisions and would inspire better response to human rights globally.

The French Republic urges the United Nations to modify the definition that will inspire the international community and give clear guidance to both state and international powers when they deal with conflicts. France recommends having a meeting involving all state powers, and we can all collectively speak about improving the definition. Improving the definition is more than just helping convict the correct people. It sets the standard, so that if nations are faced with conflicts, then they can go about solving them in ways that don’t involve the degeneration of innocents and children. This is all about prevention. We stand for human rights. Our willingness to advance human rights and genocide prevention in the world is so that innocents no matter where they were born, who they were born to, or what they believe in have a right to liberty and self-determination.