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Reviewing the legal and the academic history of the usage of the terms genocide and ethnocide, Bartolomé Clavero differentiates them by stating that "Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls". Ethnocide or cultural genocide is possible without a genocide.
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.
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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, the lawyer Raphael Lemkin proposed that genocide had a cultural component, a component 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 the word "ethnocide" as well as the phrase "cultural genocide" but it does not define what they mean. The complete article reads as follows:
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.
The Declaration of San Jose commits the United States and the nations of Central America to engage in a more in-depth discussion about a broad range of issues. These issues include: strengthening democracy and regional security, building trade and investment, combating crime, drugs and corruption, promoting dialogue on immigration, and achieving more equitable and sustainable development. In the Declaration of San José, UNESCO also addresses and works to define ethnocide. UNESCO defines the term as follows:
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.
In Chapter 4 of The Archeology of Violence by Pierre Clastres
Ethnocide, unlike genocide, is not based on the destruction of the physical person, but rather on the destruction of a person's culture. Ethnocide exterminates ways of thinking, living, and being from various cultures. It aims to destroy cultural differences, especially focused on the idea of "wrong" differences, that are present in a minority group by transforming the group's population into the culture norm of a certain place. This measuring of differences according to one's own culture is called ethnocentrism. The ethnocentric mind is based on the assumption that there is a hierarchy of superior and inferior cultures. Therefore, ethnocide hopes to raise inferior cultures to the status of superior cultures by any means necessary.
Barry Victor Sautman is a professor with the Division of Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
The "intent that underlies ethnocide is not the same intent as the intent of cultural genocide, for the same reason that it is not tied to physical or biological destruction of a group. The intent is therefore typically aimed at forced assimilation and not on population decimation. Thus the intent that underlies ethnocide is an intentional act resulting in cultural death" 
So the idea that ethnocide or 'cultural genocide' is distinct from physically violent genocide is misleading, since cultural genocide can only be the cultural dimension of genocide, something which is integral to every genocidal attack. ... It is better to refer to cultural suppression as the pre-genocidal denial of culture, because the cultural dimension of genocide or cultural suppression is part of a broader genocidal process, and it is different from unintentional group destruction or destruction which occurs when groups are destroyed by diseases and famines which were originally unintended.
The term 'ethnocide' has in the past been used as a replacement for cultural genocide (Palmer 1992; Smith 1991:30-3), with the obvious risk of confusing ethnicity and culture.
Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls.