Journeying into Rwanda

Placing Philip Gourevitch’s Account of Genocide within Literary, Postcolonial, and Human Rights Frameworks

Authored by: Zoe Norridge

The Routledge Companion to Literature and Human Rights

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415736411
eBook ISBN: 9781315778372
Adobe ISBN: 9781317696285

10.4324/9781315778372.ch32

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Abstract

Three years after the end of the Second World War, the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1948 in Paris. A day later, the same Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Genocide, or more specifically, responses to the horrors of the Holocaust, played a key role in the international community’s turn towards human rights in the second half of the twentieth century. Defined as the attempt to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, in whole or in part, the concept of genocide was comparative from the start. Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term in 1944, cited the Armenian genocide as evidence of such an attempt, and sadly, by the end of the century, there would be several more examples across different continents, including genocides in the Balkans and Rwanda in the mid-1990s.

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