Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jennifer Taw


In 1948, the United Nations ratified the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (UNGC) that recognized genocide as solely a physical-biological crime. Using the current genocide occuring in Xinjiang as a case study, this paper demonstrates how governments can destroy a group without systematically exterminating a single person. It examines the reasons why cultural genocide remains unrecognized in international criminal law and argues that a sound interpretation of the UNGC inherently necessitates recognizing cultural genocide. The paper outlines four historical international criminal court (ICC) tribunals that have pushed forward a legal interpretation of genocide that go beyond the de jure physical-biological definition stated in the UNCG, thereby arguing that the legal recognition of cultural genocide is an ever-increasing reality that does not necessarily necessitate a re-ratification of the Convention. Finally, the paper explores other non-legal factors responsible for global inaction in the Ugyhur genocide. It argues that geopolitical interests, a lack of genuine will, and the US’s reluctance to spearhead an equitable structure of global governance are three primary reasons for why the international community has continually failed to honor its promise of “never again” for the past seventy-four years.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.