Ethnocide refers to extermination of national culture as a genocide component.
Reviewing the legal and academic history of usage of the terms genocide and ethnocide, Bartolomé Clavero differentiates between them in that "Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls". In addition, "since cultural genocide can only be the cultural dimension of genocide", the idea of ethnocide is more than just "cultural genocide", but also part of broader genocidal process.
Because concepts such as cultural genocide and ethnocide have been used in different contexts, the anthropology of genocide examines their inclusion and exclusion in law and policies.
Raphael Lemkin, the linguist and lawyer who coined genocide in 1943 as the union of "the Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing)", also suggested ethnocide as an alternative form representing the same concept, using the Greek ethnos (nation) in place of genos. However, the term genocide has received much wider adoption than ethnocide.
As early as 1933, lawyer Raphael Lemkin proposed a cultural component to genocide, which he called "cultural genocide". The term has since acquired rhetorical value as a phrase that is used to protest against the destruction of cultural heritage.
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.
Article 7 of a 1994 draft of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples uses both the word "ethnocide" and the phrase "cultural genocide" but does not define what they mean. The complete article reads as follows:
Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress for:
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 62nd session at UN Headquarters in New York City on 13 September 2007, but only mentions "genocide", not "cultural genocide", although the article is otherwise unchanged.
In UNESCO "Declaration of San Jose":
Ethnocide means that an ethnic group is denied the right to enjoy, develop and transmit its own culture and its own language, whether collectively or individually. This involves an extreme form of massive violation of human rights and, in particular, the right of ethnic groups to respect for their cultural identity.
The French ethnologist Robert Jaulin (1928-1996) proposed a redefinition of the concept of ethnocide in 1970, to refer not the means but the ends that define ethnocide. Accordingly, the ethnocide would be the systematic destruction of the thought and the way of life of people different from those who carry out this enterprise of destruction. Whereas the genocide assassinates the people in their body, the ethnocide kills them in their spirit.