Prior to 1944, no term had existed to describe the large-scale coordinated efforts to wipe out particular civilian populations.
In 1944, in the wake of the Holocaust, Polish-Jewish legal scholar, Raphael Lemkin, combined the Greek word geno-, meaning race or tribe, and the Latin word -cide, meaning killing to create the term “genocide”.
However atrocities which can now be termed as genocide have occurred throughout human history.
The term “crimes against humanity” has a slightly longer history. In 1860, the American National Republican Convention used it to describe the recent reopening of the African slave trade. In 1890, George Washington Williams, an African American missionary in the Congo Free State, used the term to describe the treatment and condition of the Congolese under Belgian King Leopold II’s rule. During World War I, the Allied powers employed the term in a similar manner, using the term to describe a commission of inquiry that would address the Ottoman government and the Armenian Genocide.
3 Generations was originally created to document and raise awareness of the genocide in Darfur– the first genocide of the 21st Century. In 2005 we visited Sudan and Chad to collect testimonies. Struck by the horror of the situation in Darfur and the lack of international attention, we produced the feature documentary, The Devil Came on Horseback and helped create its extensive engagement campaign.
Since 2005, our agenda has expanded. At its heart, however, our on-going campaign is a story-telling one that includes testimony from survivors from the Armenian genocide in 1915 to the present day. We curate and cross-reference the stories of survivors of different conflicts to show the common experience of genocide survivors. By collecting stories we honor the lives of those who died, help the healing process for survivors and make their stories available to the world, permanently.
Ending genocide remains one of the enduring challenges and obligations of all nations and individuals around the world.
Learn the facts
Listen to their stories.
Join our campaign to urge the United States to recognize the authority of the International Criminal Court.
Recognize that genocide can happen anywhere, anytime. Keep abreast of political news.
In 1944, Polish-Jewish legal scholar, Raphael Lemkin, combined the Greek word geno, meaning race or tribe, and the Latin word cide, meaning killing to create the term “genocide”.
In 1945 the Charter of the International Military Tribunal became the first body of law to codify the principle of “crimes against humanity.”
The Charter defined crimes against humanity as:
“murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated”
On December 9, 1948 the UN Convention of on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was unanimously adopted.
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
Although the United States was one of the original signatories, it wasn’t until 1988 that the Convention was actually ratified by the U.S. Senate and signed by Pres. Ronald Reagan.
The first international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg was also the first tribunal to prosecute the crime of genocide. The tribunal created in 1993 by the UN Security Council was established to address the brutal atrocities occurring at the time in former Yugoslavia.
A second tribunal was created for Rwanda in 1994 where at least 500,000 civilians were murdered in the 100-day genocide.
In September of 1998, Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of the Rwandan town of Taba, became the first to be convicted on the charge of genocide
In July of 1998 the UN ratified an international treaty that permanently established the International Criminal Court at The Hague. The treaty also reconfirmed the 1948 UN Convention and expanded the definition to include crimes committed during times of peace as well as war. Since it began operation in 2002, the International Criminal Court has been formally recognized by 121 countries. The United States is not one of them.
A Problem From Hell: American and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power
“Exterminate All the Brutes”: One Man’s Odyssey into the Heart of Darkness and the Origins of European Genocide by Sven Lindqvist and Joan Tate
Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts edited by Samuel Totten, William S. Parsons, and Israel W. Charny
When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda by Mahmood Mamdani
If This Is A Man by Primo Levi
Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur by Ben Kiernan
Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe by Gerard Prunier
The Key to My Neighbor’s House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rwanda by Elizabeth Neuffer
Never Again, Again, Again…: Genocide: Armenia, The Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Darfur by Lane H. Montgomer
The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders
Ordinary men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher Browning
Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families:Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch
Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Romeo Dallaire and Samanth Power
Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast
The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s response by Peter Balakian
The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia by Michael A. Sells
Darfur: A 21st Century Genocide by Gerard Prunier
In 2010, when 3 Generations first set out to re-define sex trafficking in the United States as a human rights abuse, we pledged to make a series of ten short videos telling the stories of sex trafficking survivors, collaborating with four NGOs working for the cause.
The sex trafficking campaign grew organically and exponentially. As we met more survivors and experts we created more than twenty videos, two award-winning short films and the feature documentary Tricked. From there we created a dedicated website and amplified our message via social media. We became thought leaders and championed the rights of survivors, with appearances on national and international television and by authoring numerous articles.
We are immensely proud of the evolution of this comprehensive campaign. This work has allowed us to bring the vision of 3 Generations full circle. It has enabled us to expose sex trafficking within Native American communities leading us to our newest film, A Different American Dream, which explores environmental devastation and genocide, a topic that circles back to our film The Devil Came on Horseback and the work of founder Jane Wells’ father, Sidney Bernstein, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, which showed the devastation of the Holocaust.
Today Tricked is available on DVD and streaming through Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and more. Our sex trafficking- related videos are available on Vimeo, YouTube and the websites of our more than 40-partner NGOs. They have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people and elicited tens of millions of media hits. Laws, attitudes and interdictions have changed. There has been tremendous progress.
• Host a screening of TRICKED
Bring our film to your community.
If you see evidence of sex trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Hotline Resource Center — 1(888)-373-7888
• Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry.
• The US Government defines sex trafficking as an event where a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.
• 89% people working in prostitution wish to escape, 71% have been physically assaulted and 63% raped.
• According to the FBI, the average life expectancy of a child after being is prostitution is seven years.
• 9:1 – the ratio of sellers to purchasers arrested in the USA.
• There is no such thing as ‘child prostitution.’ Anyone engaged in sex work under the age of 18 years is a victim of child sexual exploitation.
• An estimated 244,000 American children and youth are at risk of child sexual exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation.
• Sex work is the most dangerous job in America, by 51 times.
• It’s an $87 million a day business in the USA.
• Average entry age of girls into the sex trafficking industry in America is 12 to 14.
• Girls as young as 5 years old are being controlled by pimps and forced to perform sexual acts.
• 80% to 95% of all prostitution is pimp-controlled
• 85% of prostituted women have been raped by their pimps.
• Average entry age of boys into the sex trafficking industry in America is 11 to 13.
• 95% of all commercial sex engaged in by boys is provided to adult males.
• Typical earnings by one child on a weekend night is estimated to be $120.
• Trafficking of children in the US is on the rise.
• Prison terms for pimping are less severe than for drug dealing.
America has deployed over 2 million military personnel to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas in the world in support of the Global War on Terror. As the US military withdraws from these regions and our troops return home permanently to their families, friends, and communities, they stand to face an entirely different type of war – the Reintegration War.
For many of these men and women, the transition from military to civilian life is complicated by long separations from friends and family, disruptions to education and employment, unique economic struggles, physical injuries, emotional injuries, notably Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD], ‘invisible wounds,’ and other challenges.
The unemployment rate of post-9/11 veterans is 12.1%, far exceeding the national average of 7.8%. The high rate of unemployment amongst veterans often leads to additional risk factors including poverty and homelessness. 5.7% of veterans live in poverty and account for approximately one-third of the adult homeless population.
Most Americans are unaware of the prolonged struggle of our troops. Presently, there is one suicide a day among our American soldiers. Public ignorance exacerbates the feelings of alienation and isolation the veterans experience, as they are unable to connect to the very people who can help them.
The 3 Generations campaign began as part of the Clinton Global Initiative Veteran’s Working Group, founded at CGI America in 2010. The purpose of the group and our campaign was to raise awareness of the employment challenges that post 9/11 veterans face and to record the stories of veterans and interview employers who sought to hire veterans.
Today we have expanded our brief to include collecting the stories of veterans suffering from PTSD and homelessness – two other major challenges all veterans face.
This campaign is ongoing.
Learn the facts.
Listen to their stories.
Hire veterans, they have very strong skills to share.
Support organizations that are helping veterans.
• At least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression.
• 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment.
• Of the half that seek treatment, only 50% of them get “minimally adequate” treatment.
• Rates of post-traumatic stress are greater for the Post 9/11 wars than prior conflicts
• Between 529,000 and 840,000 veterans are homeless at some time during the year.
• On any given night, more than 300,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters in the U.S.
• Approx. 33% of homeless males in the U.S. are veterans.
• Veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to become chronically homeless.
• The risk of female veterans becoming homeless is four times greater than for male veterans.
• Vets make up 7% of the American population, but they account for 20% of its suicides.
• In 2012 Suicide was the number 1 cause of death among US troops.
The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, by George Packer (2005)
The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family by Martha Raddatz (2007)
Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in A Combat Hospital by Heidi Squier Kraft (2007)
The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel (2009)
Warby, by Sebastian Junger (2010)
Service and Sacrifice by Sam 1st Lieutenant Console (2011)
Out of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition by Tom Wolfe (2011)
The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Lifer After by Brian Castner
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (2012).
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (2012).
Unspoken Abandonment: Sometimes the hardest part of going to war is coming home by Bryan A. Wood (2012)
The War Tapes (2006) Directed by Deborah Scranton
No End in Sight (2007) Directed by Charles Ferguson
Stop-Loss (2008) Directed by Kimberly Pierce
Taxi To the Dark Side (2008) Directed by Alex Gibney
The Hurt Locker (2009) Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Greeen Zone (2010) Directed by Paul Greengrass
Restrepo (2010) Directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
The Invisible War (2012) Directed by Kirby Dick
The engagement campaign for A Different American Dream calls for environmental justice for the MHA Nation and other Native American Nations. The term “Ecocide” has recently become popular, especially in reference to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and to extraction in the Alberta tar sands, yet we prefer to advocate for positive-leaning change. Thus we are campaigning broadly for safe and healthy land and water on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation as an imperative today and in the future.
With A Different American Dream we propose two major calls to action: the support of existing NGOs that are experts in environmental justice, and those that are working towards language and cultural preservation and regeneration.
Towards our first goal, we plan to partner with organizations that recognize and respond to the threats that fracking and oil extraction pose not just for the members of the MHA but for all Native American Nations. We have called for stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline which threatens the water rights and future of the neighboring Standing Rock Sioux Nation. We are committed to supporting campaigns fighting for environmental justice for all indigenous groups in North America.
Towards our second goal, we recognize and support organizations working to preserve Native American culture and language. Specifically we recognize The Language Conservancy and the MHA Nation Summer Institute in their efforts to preserve the three languages of the MHA Nation – Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara – all of which are endangered. At 3 Generations we have long recognized that cultural and language destruction are an intrinsic tool of genocide. Language and cultural preservation are vital acts of progress and reversal of past crimes against humanity.
• The Fort Berthold Reservation lies in western North Dakota. The 980,000-acre reservation is home to the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA).
• There are currently 10,249 enrolled members of the MHA Nation, 4,053 of whom reside on the Fort Berthold Reservation.
• The Fort Berthold Reservation sits atop the Bakken Formation, one of the largest oil-producing formations in the lower 48 states.
• In 2014, at least 1,370 wells had been drilled and hydraulically fractured. 386,000 barrels of oil a day were pumped.
• As of today, more than 1,700 oil and gas leases have been approved and over $80 million in bonus payments have been distributed.
• An additional 1,000 wells will be drilled over the course of the next 10 years.
• The Bureau of Indian Affairs states that “the environmental effects [of the oil industry] will be substantial.”
• Tribal members face increased truck traffic, degraded roads, increased crime, strained public services and pollution from spills, flares and illegal dumping.
• Despite the increase in jobs and the influx of money, most of the enrolled members of the MHA Nation do not receive significant oil royalties and little of this new money has been invested in social welfare.
• The average life expectancy on Fort Berthold is 57 years in contrast to 79 years for the rest of North Dakota.
Books and Articles:
“The Origins of Ecocide” – Seeing the Woods: A Blog By the Rachel Carson Center
Eradicating Ecocide: Laws and Governance to Prevent the Destruction of Our Planet – Polly Higgins
“In North Dakota, A Tale of Oil, Corruption, and Death” – New York Times
“The Downside of the Boom” – New York Times
“An Oil Boom is Ravaging an Indian Reservation in North Dakota” – Vice
“Three Tribes, a Dam, and a Diabetes Epidemic” – High Country News
“Land Grab Cheats North Dakota Tribes Out of $1 Billion, Suits Allege” – ProPublica
“As Oil Prices Collapse, North Dakota Considers Weakening Standards on Radioactive Drilling Waste” – Desmog Blog
“New Federal Rules Are Set for Fracking” – New York Times