Ethnic cleansing (compare Serbo-Croatian etničko čišćenje) is a policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to purposely remove by violent and terror-inspiring means as well as deportation and killing the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.
The term ethnic cleansing gained widespead acceptance by the 1990s in academic discourse; despite originally being used by the perpetrators during the Yugoslav Wars, it is now considered "the widely accepted scholarly term used to describe the systematic and violent removal of undesired ethnic groups from a given territory."
An earlier draft by the Commission of Experts described ethnic cleansing as "the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory, persons of a particular ethnic group, by force or intimidation, in order to render that area ethnically homogenous." which it based on "the many reports describing the policy and practices conducted in the former Yugoslavia, 'ethnic cleansing' has been carried out by means of murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, extra-judicial executions, rape and sexual assaults, confinement of civilian population in ghetto areas, forcible removal, displacement and deportation of civilian population, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, and wanton destruction of property. Those practices constitute crimes against humanity and can be assimilated to specific war crimes. Furthermore, such acts could also fall within the meaning of the Genocide Convention".
Ethnic cleansing is not to be confused with genocide; however, academic discourse considers both as existing in a spectrum of assaults on nations or religio-ethnic groups. Ethnic cleansing is similar to forced deportation or population transfer whereas genocide is the intentional murder of part or all of a particular ethnic, religious, or national group. The idea in ethnic cleansing is "to get people to move, and the means used to this end range from the legal to the semi-legal." Some academics consider genocide as a subset of "murderous ethnic cleansing." Thus, these concepts are different, but related, "literally and figuratively, ethnic cleansing bleeds into genocide, as mass murder is committed in order to rid the land of a people."
Synonyms include ethnic purification.
Read more about Ethnic Cleansing: Definitions, Origins of The Term, Ethnic Cleansing As A Military, Political and Economic Tactic, Ethnic Cleansing As A Crime Under International Law, Silent Ethnic Cleansing, Instances of Ethnic Cleansing, Criticism of The Term
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