Other Names:
Cultural genocide
Racial ethnocide
Dependence on ethnocide
Suppression of culture

A culture may be suppressed by the prohibition of the use of its language, and the destruction or prevention of use of libraries, museums, ethnic schools, historic monuments, places of worship and other cultural institutions and objects. In its extreme form it may involve the prevention of births among an ethnic group and transference of children to another group. Cultural genocide may refer to ethnic groups but also to intellectual schools of thought and nations under foreign domination.

The systematic extermination of native races and indigenous tribes by outsiders, either 'nationals' of the country in question, or foreigners, is undertaken in order to expropriate land and safeguard implanted workers from attack. Ethnocide may be by killing or by destruction of the social structure and pauperization of the people or their enslavement, leading to disease, death, and lack of reproduction.


Ethnocide has been practised by colonists especially in Africa, the Americas and in Australia. It is alleged that ethnocide continues to be practised in some countries, with or without the tacit approval of the government. Recent examples are in Romania against the ethnic Hungarians and in Bulgaria against ethnic Turks.

Referring to events in Kosovo, European Commissioner for Social Affairs, Padraig Flynn, said : "We need only look just over the borders of the EU, into the former Yugoslavia, to see the horrifying effects of racism and xenophobia at their most extreme. We should not however think that Western Europe, the countries of the EU, are free from the same sort of racism and misguided discrimination which is at the root of the events in Kosovo. Even if we have been spared over the last 50 years the scale of the horror we are now witnessing in Kosovo, we have nevertheless had to come to terms with countless acts of racist violence and even murder in all our countries. People from ethnic and religious minorities in Europe face racism and discrimination every day of their lives in many, different ways" (29 April 1999).

Narrower Problems:
Ethnic cleansing
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality Education
Problem Type:
C: Cross-sectoral problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST