Genocide Convention by the United Nations: UPSC Study Notes

By Saroj Singh|Updated : March 16th, 2021

Genocide convention is in discussion in the international fraternity for its violation. China is accused of violating the Geneva Convention for the crime against humanity. China is committing Genocide in Xingjiang to finish and destroy Uyghurs as per a new report by the US think tank, ‘New Lines Institute for strategy and policy.’ It has allegedly blamed China for indulging in legal detentions, sexual assault and forced sterilization of Uighurs. And all of this is happening in violation of the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention.

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Genocide Convention by the United Nations: UPSC Study Notes

Reports suggest that an independent non-governmental organization, ‘New Lines Institute for strategy and policy’ has done this study of genocide allegations in Xinjiang against Uyghurs for the first time. 


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Who are Uyghurs?

  • Around 12 million Uyghurs are living in the Xinjiang region of north-western China. These people are mostly Muslims and speak their language. This region where they live is officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).   
  • Several reports keep coming up about torture on Uyghurs. They feel that their culture and livelihood are under serious threat. Human Rights activists have alleged that Xinjiang is home to an extensive network of extra-judicial detention centres where around 1-2 million people are kept. However, China has said that these are occasional training centres to counter extremism in the region.
  • More than 50 global experts on international laws, Genocide, China’s ethnic policies and Xingjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have written this report titled ‘The Uyghur Genocide’. It is for the first time an independent legal analysis has undertaken by a non-governmental organization.


Highlights of the report

  • The report alleged that the Chinese government had violated all the rules of the Genocide Convention. 
  • In 2014, Uyghurs, in between 1-2 million, have allegedly been detained by China officials. These detentions are concerned with 1400 extra-judicial internment facilities across the Xinjian province. 
  • The report claims that Uyghur detainees within the internment camps are deprived of their basic human needs and are often put in solitary confinement for prolonged periods without food. 
  • They are inhumanly treated, punished, and severely humiliated.
  • Their 
  • They were inhumanly treated, punished, and severely humiliated, and in the camps, they are forcibly taught Mandarin and tortured if they refuse to do so.
  • Textbooks for Uyghur literature, culture and history were removed from classes for the Xingjiang school children. 
  • There is a dramatic drop in the Uyghur birth rate.
  • One of the government directives allegedly called on local authorities to ‘break their roots, their lineage, connections, and origins.’
  • China is in perpetual denial over the allegations related to the detention of these many Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the detention centres across the Xingjian province.


What is Genocide?

  • The deliberate and systematic act of destruction of a group of people based on their nationality, ethnicity, race, or religion is known as Genocide. It is an intentional action to destroy a specific group of people in whole or part. United Nations Genocide Convention has defined it on many broad parameters, and there are five ways in which the Genocide can take place:

o Killing members of the group

o Causing severe mental or bodily harm to members of the group

o Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

o Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group

o Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

All the report findings comply with this United Nations Genocide Convention and have found China violating the Convention.



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Adoption of the United Nations Genocide Convention 

  • United Nations Genocide Convention, i.e., the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, was drafted after the second world war. In December 1948, the Convention was approved by the United Nations General Assembly. 
  • One hundred fifty-two member states, including China, have ratified the Genocide Convention. Among all the states, Mauritius has ratified as the latest on 8th July 2019.

Note: The Dominion Republic, although a signatory, has not ratified the Genocide Convention.

The Genocide is forbidden both in time of peace and in times of war by the Genocide Convention.


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