January 16, 2015 2:25 pm

Terrorism is something today’s world is experiencing on an everyday basis. While everyone’s eyes were pointed at the Paris attacks, the terrorist group Boko Haram pulled off a terrible attack in Baga and 16 other communities around the Nigerian side of Lake Chad, on the north-eastern corner of Nigeria. The death toll is around 2000 people, making it the deadliest attack of the group´s history. As of today, Boko Haram controls towns and villages across about 20,000 square miles.

The reasons behind the attacks are many: Boko Haram, which comes from the Muslim and historically marginalized and underdeveloped north, is perhaps trying to derail the electoral process due in June; at the same time its actions may have little to do with the electoral process: the group became interested in actually securing and creating a “caliphate”, and most of all is trying to threat stability in the country.

What is being done right now in Nigeria can be described as a genocide, the word we chose this week as IATE term of the week.

Genocide IATE

Genocides are violent acts perpetrated for a number of different reasons, as the UN Resolution no. 96 of 11 December 1946 explains, i.e. with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.

The term did not exist until 1944: it was created by Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish Polish lawyer, by combining geno-, from the Greek word for race or tribe, with –cide, derived from the Latin word for killing. He wanted to describe “a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves”.

The official definition was given by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG), later adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948, though many historians, professors and scholars have suggested during the years to change and/or integrate the definition due to its limitations, particularly considered the different contexts of past and on-going genocides.

The Genocide Convention does not focus only on the term, but on something much more urgent: preventing genocide is its major obligation, and it remains a challenge that nations and individuals continue to face.


We invite you to suggest the equivalent terms in the missing EU languages, or alternatives to the existing term in your language if you consider the proposed term inaccurate.

Provide your answer with a reliable reference and an accurate definition and/or context if possible.


By Silvia Piparo

Freelance Translator

Terminology Trainee at TermCoord

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