Cultural genocide is a concept that lawyer Raphael Lemkin distinguished in 1944 as a component to genocide. The term was considered in the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples juxtaposed next to the term "ethnocide," but it was removed in the final document, replaced with simply "genocide." The precise definition of "cultural genocide" remains unclear. Some ethnologists, such as Robert Jaulin, use the term "ethnocide" for "cultural genocide", although this usage has been criticized as engendering a risk of confusion between ethnicity and culture.
As early as 1944, lawyer Raphael Lemkin distinguished a cultural component to genocide, which since then has become known as "cultural genocide". The term has since acquired rhetorical value as a phrase that is used to protest against the destruction of cultural heritage. It is also often misused as a catchphrase to condemn any destruction the speaker disapproves of, without regard for the criterion of intent to destroy an affected group as such.
The drafters of the 1948 Genocide Convention considered the use of the term, but dropped it from their consideration. The legal definition of genocide is left unspecific about the exact nature in which genocide is done only that it is destruction with intent to destroy a racial, religious, ethnic or national group as such.
In 2007, a Canadian Member of Parliament criticized the Ministry of Indian Affairs' destruction of documents regarding the treatment of First Nations members as "cultural genocide."
The destruction by Azerbaijan of thousands of medieval Armenian gravestones at a cemetery in Julfa, and Azerbaijan's subsequent denial that the site had ever existed, has been written about as being an example of cultural genocide by some scholars.
Historian Jean Brownfield cited the 1638 Treaty of Hartford as a "clear and explicit historical example of a cultural genocide, in which the Pequot language and name were outlawed and there was a clearly stated intention that this cultural entity would simply cease to exist."
^Robert Jaulin (1970). La paix blanche : introduction à l’ethnocide (in French). Éditions du Seuil.
^Gerard Delanty; Krishan Kumar (29 June 2006). The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalism. SAGE. p. 326. ISBN978-1-4129-0101-7. Retrieved 28 February 2013. The term 'ethnocide' has in the past been used as a replacement for cultural genocide (Palmer 1992; Smith 1991:30-3), with the obvious risk of confusing ethnicity and culture.
^Draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples drafted by The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities Recalling resolutions 1985/22 of 29 August 1985, 1991/30 of 29 August 1991, 1992/33 of 27 August 1992, 1993/46 of 26 August 1993, presented to the Commission on Human Rights and the Economic and Social Council at 36th meeting 26 August 1994 and adopted without a vote.
^History Today, November 2007, "Sacred Stones Silenced in Azerbaijan"
^Switzerland-Armenia Parliamentary Group, "The Destruction of Jugha", Bern, 2006.
^CGS 1st Workshop: “Cultural Genocide” and the Japanese Occupation of Korea (archive) "During Germany's occupation of Poland (1939-1945) and Japan's occupation of Korea (1910-1945), the prohibition of use of the native tongue, the renaming of people and places, the removal of indigenous people from institutions of higher education, the destruction of cultural facilities, the denial of freedom of religious faith, and the changing of cultural education all took place. The instances of German cultural genocide, which Lemkin took as his basis, cannot be ignored when conducting comparative research.""One of the most striking features of Japan 's occupation of Korea is the absence of an awareness of Korea as a “colony”, and the absence of an awareness of Koreans as a “separate ethnicity”. As a result, it is difficult to prove whether or not the leaders of Japan aimed for the eradication of the Korean race."