September 16, 2019
 In 2023-Definition of Genocide

Country: Ecuador
Delegate Name: Gabe Henderson

Honorable Chairs, Distinguished Delegates,
The Republic of Ecuador approaches this esteemed assembly with a solemn
acknowledgment of the gravity surrounding the issue of genocide. The quest to define,
prevent, and address genocidal acts has been central to the mission of the United
Nations since its inception, borne from the horrors witnessed during World War II.
The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide, adopted in 1948, stands as a pivotal legal instrument defining genocide. The
Convention’s definition, recognizing genocide as a crime committed with the intent to
destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, is acknowledged as a cornerstone
of customary international law. While this definition sets a crucial standard, critics rightly
highlight the challenges in clearly delineating when an act of genocide can be
prosecuted, especially concerning the burden of proving “intent.”
Beyond defining genocide lies the imperative to understand the factors leading to such
atrocities. The United Nations has developed frameworks to identify risk factors present
in states where genocide might occur. Ecuador recognizes the significance of these
frameworks, emphasizing the necessity of preventive measures alongside punitive
actions to avert and address such catastrophic events.
However, the journey toward accurately defining genocides did not conclude with the
1948 Convention. The world has sadly witnessed numerous atrocities that fall outside
the strict confines of that definition. Enhancing the 1948 definition demands grappling
with complex histories that some states may be reluctant to confront, especially when
their past actions may fall under the category of genocide. Ecuador acknowledges the
challenges involved and stresses the need for a balanced approach that respects
victims’ narratives while aligning with the United Nations’ mission.
Ecuador underscores the importance of engaging in constructive dialogue to refine the
definition of genocide, ensuring it encapsulates contemporary complexities while
remaining faithful to its original intent. This process must be guided by a commitment to
justice, accountability, and the prevention of mass atrocities. Ecuador stands ready to
collaborate with the international community in this endeavor, prioritizing respect for
victims and the UN’s noble mission.
In conclusion, Ecuador reiterates its dedication to addressing the evolving nature of
genocidal acts through nuanced and inclusive discussions, paving the way for a more
comprehensive framework that upholds the principles of justice and humanity.

Thank you.