When the United Nations was established in , million people— almost a third of the world population—lived in non-self-governing territories dependent on colonial powers. The UN played a role in bringing about the independence of more than 80 countries that are now sovereign nations. By imposing measures ranging from an arms embargo to a convention against segregated sporting events, the United Nations was a major factor in bringing about the downfall of the apartheid system. In , elections in which all South Africans were allowed to participate on an equal basis led to the establishment of a multiracial Government.
A long-term objective of the United Nations has been to improve the lives of women and empower them to have greater control over their lives. The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified by countries, has helped to promote the rights of women worldwide. Thirty-five per cent of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Some million women live in countries in which domestic violence is not considered a crime. As many as one in four women experience physical or sexual violence during pregnancy. Domestic violence is still condoned in many societies. To address the problem, UN-Women seeks to engage men and boys, works with local partners and supports the adoption of laws against domestic and sexual violence. The global campaign UniTE to End Violence against Women works to raise awareness and increase political will and resources for ending violence against women and girls. The International Labour Organization ILO has established standards and fundamental principles and rights for work, including freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining and the abolition of forced labour, child labour and workplace discrimination.
To allow all people to obtain information that is free of censorship and culturally diverse, UNESCO has helped to develop and strengthen the media and supported independent newspapers and broadcasters. UNESCO also serves as a watchdog for press freedom, and publicly denounces serious violations like the assassination and detention of journalists.
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The United Nations has been at the forefront of the fight for full equality for persons with disabilities, promoting their participation in social, economic and political life. The UN has shown that persons with disabilities are a resource for society, and has negotiated the first-ever treaty to advance their rights and dignity worldwide: the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been ratified by more than countries. The United Nations has brought to the fore injustices against the million to million indigenous people who live in some 90 countries and who are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the world.
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The member Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues works to improve the situation of indigenous peoples all over the world in development, culture, human rights, the environment, education and health. The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples makes proposals on improving indigenous rights. It evolved into a lagoon after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution. The United Nations has been at the forefront in assessing the science and forging a political solution.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which brings together 2, leading climate change scientists, issues comprehensive scientific assessments every five or six years: in , it concluded with certainty that climate change was occurring and that human activities were a primary cause. The members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are negotiating agreements to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and help countries adapt to its effects. The UN helps developing countries to respond to the challenges of global climate change.
Thirty-nine UN bodies have formed a partnership to deal comprehensively with the problem. For instance, the Global Environment Facility, which brings together 10 UN agencies, funds projects in developing countries. The United Nations is working to solve global environmental problems. As an international forum for building consensus and negotiating agreements, the UN is tackling global problems such as ozone layer depletion, toxic waste, loss of forests and species, and air and water pollution.
Unless these problems are addressed, markets and economies will not be sustainable in the long term, as environmental losses are depleting the natural capital on which growth and human survival are based.
As a result of a treaty known as the Montreal Protocol, countries have been phasing out chemicals that cause the depletion of the ozone layer and replacing them with safer alternatives. This will spare millions of people from contracting skin cancer because of exposure to increased ultraviolet radiation. During the first UN decade on water , more than a billion people gained access to safe drinking water for the first time in their lives.
By , another 1. In , the International Year of Freshwater raised awareness of the importance of protecting this precious resource. The second international water decade aims to reduce by half the number of people without a source of clean drinking water. Ninety per cent of major marine commercial fish stocks are exploited to their sustainable limits or beyond.
FAO monitors global fisheries production and the status of wild fish stocks and works with countries to improve the management of fisheries, stamp out illegal fishing, promote responsible international fish trade and protect fragile species and environments. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants seeks to rid the world of some of the most dangerous chemicals ever created.
Ratified by countries, the Convention targets 23 hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals that can kill people, damage the nervous and immune systems, cause cancer and reproductive disorders and interfere with child development. Other UN conventions and action plans help to preserve biodiversity, protect endangered species, combat desertification, clean up seas and curb cross-border movements of hazardous wastes.
By prosecuting and convicting war criminals, the UN tribunals established for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda have helped to expand international humanitarian and international criminal law dealing with genocide and other violations of international law. Both tribunals have contributed to restoring peace and justice in the affected countries and in the region. The International Criminal Court is an independent permanent court that investigates and prosecutes persons accused of the most serious international crimes—genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes—if national authorities are unwilling or unable to do so.
Situations in nine countries have been referred to the Court, which has already established itself as the centrepiece of the system of international criminal justice. UN-backed courts in Cambodia and Lebanon are prosecuting those responsible for serious violations of international law, including mass killings and war crimes. Over multilateral treaties—on human rights, terrorism, global crime, refugees, disarmament, trade, commodities, the oceans and many other matters—have been negotiated and concluded through the efforts of the United Nations.
By delivering judgments and advisory opinions, the International Court of Justice ICJ has helped to settle international disputes involving territorial questions, maritime boundaries, diplomatic relations, State responsibility, the treatment of aliens and the use of force, among others. The United Nations has spearheaded international efforts to regulate the use of the oceans under a single treaty.
The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which has gained nearly universal acceptance, provides the legal framework for all activities in the oceans and seas. The Convention lays down rules on the rights and duties of coastal and landlocked States—including with regard to navigation, the establishment of maritime zones, the protection of the marine environment, scientific research and the conservation and sustainable use of marine life.
The treaty includes mechanisms for settling disputes. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC works with countries and organizations to counter transnational organized crime by providing legal and technical assistance to fight corruption, money-laundering, drug trafficking and smuggling of migrants, as well as by strengthening criminal justice systems. It helps countries to prevent terrorism, it is a leader in the global fight against trafficking in persons and, together with the World Bank, it helps countries to recover assets stolen by corrupt leaders.
The Office works with countries to improve public health, as well as public security, in order to prevent, treat and control drug abuse. Efforts to contain the global drug problem have reversed a year rise in drug abuse and headed off a pandemic. Nevertheless, several countries and regions remain vulnerable to the instability caused by drug cultivation and trafficking. The World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO promotes the protection of intellectual property rights and ensures that all countries are in a position to harness the benefits of an effective intellectual property system.
Intellectual property, which at its core is a mechanism designed to recognize and reward inventors and creators for their ingenuity while safeguarding the public interest, helps to promote development and create wealth. The incentives built into the intellectual property system act as a spur to human creativity, pushing forward the boundaries of science and technology and enriching the world of literature and the arts. More than 60 million refugees fleeing persecution, violence and war have received aid from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR since , in a continuing effort that often involves other agencies.
UNHCR seeks long-term or "durable" solutions by helping refugees repatriate to their homelands, if conditions warrant, or by helping them to integrate in their countries of asylum or to resettle in third countries. There are more than 42 million refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons, mostly women and children, who are receiving food, shelter, medical aid, education and repatriation assistance from the UN.
As the global community strives for a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East UNRWA , a relief and human development agency, has assisted four generations of Palestinian refugees with education, health care, social services, microfinance and emergency aid. When natural disasters and emergencies arise, the UN coordinates and mobilizes assistance to the victims. UN appeals raise several billion dollars a year for emergency assistance. The World Meteorological Organization WMO has helped to spare millions of people from the calamitous effects of natural and man-made disasters.
Its early warning system, which includes thousands of surface monitors, as well as satellites, has made it possible to predict with greater accuracy weather-related disasters, has provided information on the dispersal of oil spills and chemical and nuclear leaks and has predicted long-term droughts. Chronologically and geographically broad in scope, The Massacre in History provides in-depth analysis of particular massacres and themes associated with them from the 11th century to the present.
Specific attention is paid to 15th century Christian-Jewish relations in Spain, the St. The book explores the subject of massacre from a variety of perspectives - its relationship to politics, culture, religion and society, its connection to ethnic cleansing and genocide, and its role in gender terms and in relation to the extermination of animals. The historians provide evidence to suggest that the "massacre" is often central to the course of human development and societal change. It painstakingly reconstructs their historical context and textual content, revealing complex literary works that resist narrow moral judgment and engage difficult questions about the limits of testimony.
The participation of German physicians in medical experiments on innocent people and mass murder is one of the most disturbing aspects of the Nazi era and the Holocaust. Six distinguished historians working in this field are addressing the critical issues raised by these murderous experiments, such as the place of the Holocaust in the larger context of eugenic and racial research, the motivation and roles of the German medical establishment, and the impact and legacy of the eugenics movements and Nazi medical practice on physicians and medicine since World War II.
Based on the authors' original scholarship, these essays offer an excellent and very accessible introduction to an important and controversial subject. They are also particularly relevant in light of current controversies over the nature and application of research in human genetics and biotechnology. How does scale affect our understanding of the Holocaust?
In particular, recent scholarship has demonstrated a willingness to study the Holocaust at scales as focused as a single neighborhood, family, or perpetrator. This volume brings together an international cast of scholars to reflect on the ongoing microhistorical turn in Holocaust studies, assessing its historiographical pitfalls as well as the distinctive opportunities it affords researchers. First published in , The Nanking Atrocity remains an essential resource for understanding the massacre committed by Japanese soldiers in Nanking, China during the winter of This second edition includes an extensive new introduction by the editor reflecting on the historiographical developments of the last decade, in advance of the 80th anniversary of the massacre.
In National Policy, Global Memory , Sarah Gensburger uses this dramatic episode to lend a new perspective to debates over memory and nationhood. Moving beyond the well-established problems and public discussions of the Holocaust, this collection of essays, written by some of the leading German historians of the younger generation, leaves behind the increasingly agitated arguments of the last years and substantially broadens, and in many areas revises, our knowledge of the Holocaust.
Unlike previous studies, which have focused on whether the Holocaust could best be understood as the "fulfilment of a world view or as a process of "cumulative radicalisation," these articles provide an overview of how situational elements and gradual processes of radicalisation were variously combined with ever-changing objectives and fundamental ideological convictions. Focusing on the developments in Poland, the Soviet Union, Serbia, and France the authors find that heretofore we have actually had very little knowledge of many aspects of this history, particularly with regards to the specific forces that motivated German policy in the individual regions of Central and Eastern Europe.
Thus the National-Socialist extermination policy is not seen as a secret undertaking but rather as part of the German conquest and occupation policy in Europe. Using the framework of genocide, this volume analyzes the patterns of persecution of the Roma in Nazi-dominated Europe. Detailed case studies of France, Austria, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine, and Russia generate a critical mass of evidence that indicates criminal intent on the part of the Nazi regime to destroy the Roma as a distinct group.
Other chapters examine the failure of the West German State to deliver justice, the Romani collective memory of the genocide, and the current political and historical debates. As this revealing volume shows, however inconsistent or geographically limited, over time, the mass murder acquired a systematic character and came to include ever larger segments of the Romani population regardless of the social status of individual members of the community. Between July and August , nearly eight hundred prisoners spent a few weeks to a year in one of these buildings, previously been used to store furniture, and were subjected to forced labor.
This lack of attention by the most authoritative voices on the subject can perhaps be explained by the absence of a collective memory or by the marginal status of the Parisian detainees - the spouses of Aryans, wives of prisoners of war, half-Jews. Still, the Parisian camps did, and continue to this day, lack simple and straightforward descriptions. This book is a much needed study of these camps and is witness to how, sixty years after the events, expressing this memory remains a complex, sometimes painful process, and speaking about it a struggle.
Given their geographical separation from Europe, ethno-religious and cultural diversity, and subordinate status within the Nazi racial hierarchy, Middle Eastern societies were both hospitable as well as hostile to National Socialist ideology during the s and s. By focusing on Arab and Turkish reactions to German anti-Semitism and the persecution and mass-murder of European Jews during this period, this expansive collection surveys the institutional and popular reception of Nazism in the Middle East and North Africa. Nearly the New World tells the extraordinary story of Jewish refugees who overcame persecution and sought safety in the West Indies from the s through the end of the war.
At the same time, it gives an unsparing account of the xenophobia and bureaucratic infighting that nearly prevented their rescue—and that helped to seal the fate of countless other European Jews for whom escape was never an option. The persecution and mass-murder of the Jews during World War II would not have been possible without the modern organization of division of labor.
Moreover, the perpetrators were dependent on human and organizational resources they could not always control by hierarchy and coercion. Instead, the persecution of the Jews was based, to a large extent, on a web of inter-organizational relations encompassing a broad variety of non-hierarchical cooperation as well as rivalry and competition. Based on newly accessible government and corporate archives, this volume combines fresh evidence with an interpretation of the governance of persecution, presented by prominent historians and social scientists. Why did the Armenian genocide erupt in Turkey in , only seven years after the Armenian minority achieved civil equality for the first time in the history of the Ottoman Empire?
How can we explain the Rwandan genocide occurring in , after decades of relative peace and even cooperation between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority? Addressing the question of how the risk of genocide develops over time, On the Path to Genocide contributes to a better understand why genocide occurs when it does. It provides a comprehensive and comparative historical analysis of the factors that led to the Armenian genocide and the genocide in Rwanda, using fresh sources and perspectives that yield new insights into the history of the Armenian and Rwandan peoples.
Finally, it also presents new research into constraints that inhibit genocide, and how they can be utilized to attempt the prevention of genocide in the future. The interconnections between histories and memories of the Holocaust, colonialism and extreme violence in post-war French and Francophone fiction and film provide the central focus of this book. In doing so it is argued that a poetics dependent on tropes and techniques, such as metaphor, allegory and montage, establishes connections across space and time which oblige us to perceive cultural memory not in terms of its singular attachment to a particular event or bound to specific ethno-cultural or national communities but as a dynamic process of transfer between different moments of racialized violence and between different cultural communities.
The structure of the book allows for both the theoretical elaboration of this paradigm for cultural memory and individual case-studies of novels and films. On 20 January , fifteen senior German government officials attended a short meeting in Berlin to discuss the deportation and murder of the Jews of Nazi-occupied Europe.
Yet while the conference itself has been exhaustively researched, many of its attendees remain relatively obscure. Combining accessible prose with scholarly rigor, The Participants presents fascinating profiles of the all-too-human men who implemented some of the most inhuman acts in history. Also visit the Edition Temmen for more information.
During World War II Poland lost more than six million people, including about three million Polish Jews who perished in the ghettos and extermination camps built by Nazi Germany in occupied Polish territories. This book is the first to address the representation of the Holocaust in Polish film and does so through a detailed treatment of several films, which the author frames in relation to the political, ideological, and cultural contexts of the times in which they were created. Of the three categories that Raul Hilberg developed in his analysis of the Holocaust—perpetrators, victims, and bystanders—it is the last that is the broadest and most difficult to pinpoint.
Combining historiographical, conceptual, and empirical perspectives on the bystander, the case studies in this book provide powerful insights into the complex social processes that accompany state-sponsored genocidal violence. Despite Adorno's famous dictum, the memory of the Shoah features prominently in the cultural legacy of the 20th century and beyond.
It has led to a proliferation of works of representation and re-memorialization which have brought in their wake concerns about a 'holocaust industry' and banalization. This volume sheds fresh light on some of the issues, such as the question of silence and denial, of the formation of contemporary identities — German, East European, Jewish or Israeli, the consequences of the legacy of the Shoah for survivors and for the 'second generation,' and the political, ideological, and professional implications of Shoah historiography.
One of the conclusions to be drawn from this volume is that the 'Auschwitz code,' invoked in relation to all 'unspeakable' catastrophes, has impoverished our vocabulary; it does not help us remember the Shoah and its victims, but rather erases that memory. The NMT trials marked a decisive shift both in terms of analysis of the Third Reich and conceptualization of international criminal law. This volume is the first comprehensive examination of the NMT and brings together diverse perspectives from the fields of law, history, and political science, exploring the genesis, impact, and legacy of the twelve Military Tribunals held at Nuremberg between and Since the end of World War II, the ongoing efforts aimed at criminal prosecution, restitution, and other forms of justice in the wake of the Holocaust have constituted one of the most significant episodes in the history of human rights and international law.
As such, they have attracted sustained attention from historians and legal scholars. The robbery and restitution of Jewish property are two inextricably linked social processes. It is not possible to understand the lawsuits and international agreements on the restoration of Jewish property of the late s without examining what was robbed and by whom. In this volume distinguished historians first outline the mechanisms and scope of the European-wide program of plunder and then assess the effectiveness and historical implications of post-war restitution efforts.
Everywhere the solution of legal and material problems was intertwined with changing national myths about the war and conflicting interpretations of justice. Even those countries that pursued extensive restitution programs using rigorous legal means were unable to compensate or fully comprehend the scale of Jewish loss.
Especially in Eastern Europe, it was not until the collapse of communism that the concept of restoring some Jewish property rights even became a viable option. Integrating the abundance of new research on the material effects of the Holocaust and its aftermath, this comparative perspective examines the developments in Germany, Poland, Italy, France, Belgium, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Only in recent years has the history of European colonial concentration camps in Africa—in which thousands of prisoners died in appalling conditions—become widely known beyond a handful of specialists. Were they designed for mass killing, a misbegotten attempt at modernization, or something else entirely?
A Sad Fiasco confronts this difficult question head-on, reconstructing the actions of colonial officials in both British South Africa and German South-West Africa as well as the experiences of internees to explore both the similarities and the divergences between the African camps and their Nazi-era successors. Increasingly, German Studies programs include courses on the Holocaust, but suitable course materials are often difficult to find. Teachers in higher education will therefore very much welcome this volume that examines and reflects both the practical and theoretical aspects of teaching about the Holocaust.
Though designed primarily by and for North American Germanists and German Studies specialists, this book will prove no less useful for teachers in other countries and associated disciplines. It presents and describes successful Holocaust-related courses that have been developed and taught at U. Reflecting as it does, the innovative Holocaust pedagogy in North American German and German Studies, this collection serves the needs of educators who wish to revise or update their existing Holocaust courses and of those who are seeking guidance, ideas, and resources to enable them to develop their first Holocaust course or unit.
Pertinent to contemporary demands for reparations from Turkey is the relationship between law and property in connection with the Armenian Genocide. This book examines the confiscation of Armenian properties during the genocide and subsequent attempts to retain seized Armenian wealth. Through the close analysis of laws and treaties, it reveals that decrees issued during the genocide constitute central pillars of the Turkish system of property rights, retaining their legal validity, and although Turkey has acceded through international agreements to return Armenian properties, it continues to refuse to do so.
The book demonstrates that genocides do not depend on the abolition of the legal system and elimination of rights, but that, on the contrary, the perpetrators of genocide manipulate the legal system to facilitate their plans. Between and , thousands of German Jews, in fear for their lives, made the choice to flee their impending deportations and live submerged in the shadows of the Nazi capital. Drawing on a wealth of archival evidence and interviews with survivors, this book reconstructs the daily lives of Jews who stayed in Berlin during the war years.
In Poland and elsewhere there has been a noticeable increase of interest in various aspects of the Polish-Jewish past which can be explained, the author argues, in terms of a broader intellectual need to explore the "blank spots" of Poland's national history. This quest begins and ends with Polish anti-Semitism and the Shoah, during which most of Europe's Jews were annihilated on Polish soil, but also focuses on the events of , the years of pogroms, anti-Semitic campaigns, and mass emigration of the Jews from Poland.
All these became main issues of public reflection in Poland after a silence for almost forty years and led to the widespread view that Polish-Jewish relations are irredeemably poisoned by anti-Semitism. If this is the case, how is it possible then, the author asks, that Jews still play an important role in the cultural expressions and the consciousness of the Polish people?
East West Street by Philippe Sands review – putting genocide into words
To find an answer, she explored Polish-Jewish relations in a small Galacian town from the early 19th century to the end of World War II. Detailed analysis of archival materials as well as interviews with Polish inhabitants of this town and Jewish survivors living elsewhere reveal a pattern of Polish-Jewish interdependence that has led to a far more complex picture than is generally assumed. As eyewitnesses to and unwilling abettors of the murder of their fellow Jews, they are the object of fierce condemnation even today.
Yet it was a group of these seemingly compromised men who carried out the revolt of October 7, , one of the most celebrated acts of Holocaust resistance. This interdisciplinary collection assembles careful investigations into how the Sonderkommando have been represented—by themselves and by others—both during and after the Holocaust.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. For example, H. Hirschfeld, 7 Google Scholar. For com-mentary, see A. December Cambridge: Polity, CrossRef Google Scholar. Kaye and B. Google Scholar. Katz, The Holocaust in Historical Context , vol.
Volume two has not appeared at the time of writing. Bauman, Postmodern Ethics Oxford: Blackwell, , p. Good surveys of the literature are D. Bessel Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , pp. Moses and D. Stone London: Routledge, , pp. Exceptions are S.
I take this concept from G. See D. Dunning and S. Horkheimer and T.
Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment , trans. Commentary: J. See A. Caillois wrote about traditional rituals of excess and chaos that he thought regenerated the collective order.