Speech for the American Approval of an International Convention to Outlaw and Punish Genocide
I have chosen the following topic: It is 1948, and you are a member of Congress. Write a speech for or against American approval on an international convention to outlaw and punish genocide. Back in 1948, the phenomenon of genocide was of an utmost importance. During the World War II, around 11 million people were killed because of their racial or ethnic belonging. As a result, the nations tried to create legal instruments for preventing the occurrence of a similar tragedy in the future. The position of the United States on the issue of the ratification of the Convention to Outlaw and Punish Genocide divided. As the opposition had a strong influence, the Convention was ratified only in 1988. However, I believe that the support of the international instruments aimed at the human rights prevention represents an integral part of the county’s domestic policy and foreign affairs. Thus, I would like to support the ratification of the Genocide Convention.
Distinguished members of the Senate and the House, guests, ladies and gentlemen,
The international community is still in shock over the Nazis’ cruel murders of millions of Jews during the World War II. Numerous people were killed because of their ethnic or racial background. The Nazi regime and its allies are responsible for exterminating not only around six million Jews but also about five million representatives of other nationalities, who became victims of the mass murders committed in different parts of Europe. The World War II tragedy of the Jewish people is known as the Holocaust. However, murdering of the Jews is not the only example of a genocide that took place in the history of humankind. However, until the 1940s, the crimes committed on the basis of racial or ethnic discrimination had no name. As a result, the global community could do little to prevent the occurrence of the acts of the genocide; no measures could be taken to punish the offenders.
Today, the situation has changed. The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide aims to mobilize international efforts and determining a new kind of crime. According to the UN Convention, the genocide is defined as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing, causing serious bodily or mental harm, deliberately inflicting on the conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births, forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” (Gaeta, 2009). In such a manner, the international community convicts any kind of racial and ethnic inequality and oppression. The Unites States of America has to join the global movement of combating any expressions of genocide.
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The United States of America has to ratify the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This necessity is predetermined by several factors. First, the ratification of the Convention will demonstrate the efforts of our country to prevent any kind of genocide in the future. In addition, such a decision will contribute to the creation of powerful international instruments for combating any form of ethnic or racial discrimination. Second, the ratification of the Convention addresses the human rights concerns not only in the US but also in the whole world. The protection of human rights has gained an utmost importance with the increased occurrence of the sinister crimes against humanity. Adherence to the international legislation that determines and protects human rights is an inevitable part of the U.S. foreign policy. Otherwise, refusal to ratify the treaty will undermine the credibility of our country. Third, the United States of America can be accused of doubletalk. On the one side, American government convicts any kind of genocide; on the other, the U.S. Congress hesitates to ratify the Genocide Convention. Finally, the ratification of the Convention will provide a mechanism for addressing the issue of the black American population’s oppression.
The opponents of the Convention’s ratification claim that the mechanisms, developed by the international community, do not resolve the issue in a manner compatible with the U.S. Constitution and form of the Government. In addition, they beware that the ratification of the document can cause a number of negative results in the American society. For example, the dual court system of the United States will not be able to address the cases of local crimes of race riots and crimes of genocide properly. Consequently, American citizens charged with the crime of genocide will not be able to use the protection of the national legislation. In addition, according to the opponents of the Convention, the ratification of the document can create a threat to the freedom of speech. Mass media is considered to become a mechanism for encouraging the expressions of genocide. Thus, the basic human rights in the country will be threatened.
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However, we gather here today to commemorate the past and draw vital conclusions from the terrible crime of genocide. We must remember the tremendous scale and intent of the event that we witnessed few years ago, as well as the disastrous results of the Nazi crimes against humanity. We have to prevent the occurrence of any potential expressions of the racial and ethnic discrimination both within the United States and at the international scale. As a result, we have to make sure that the United States of America will engage in combating any kind of genocide, and ratifying the United Nations’ Convention is the crucial first step. The ratification of the document will guarantee that the United States of America will punish any acts of genocide in accordance with the international law and justice.
Thank you for your attention!