19 Febr. 1986: US Senate ratifies UN’s Anti-Genocide Convention


On 19 February 1986 the US Senate approved UN’s anti-genocide convention, enabling the United States to become the 98th nation to ratify that international agreement.

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide* had been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260. Then it had been submitted by President Truman to the Senate, where it had languished for many years, even though Senator William Proxmire, a Wisconsin Democrat, had gone to the Senate floor every day it was in session for 19 years and given  more than 3,000 speeches to urge its adoption.

The number of states that have ratified the convention is currently 143.

* Genocide is defined in Article 2 of the Convention 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:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

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