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Template:Discrimination sidebar Ethnic cleansing "is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas. (Commission of Experts Established Pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 780)".[1]

In 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".[2]

Ethnic cleansing is not to be confused with genocide. These terms are not synonymous, yet the 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."[3] 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."[4] Some academics consider genocide as a subset of "murderous ethnic cleansing."[5] 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."[6]

Synonyms include ethnic purification.[7]


The official United Nations definition of ethnic cleansing is "rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons of another ethnic or religious group."[8]

The term ethnic cleansing has been defined as a spectrum, or continuum by some historians. In the words of Andrew Bell-Fialkoff:

[E]thnic cleansing [...] defies easy definition. At one end it is virtually indistinguishable from forced emigration and population exchange while at the other it merges with deportation and genocide. At the most general level, however, ethnic cleansing can be understood as the expulsion of a population from a given territory.[9]

Terry Martin has defined ethnic cleansing as "the forcible removal of an ethnically defined population from a given territory" and as "occupying the central part of a continuum between genocide on one end and nonviolent pressured ethnic emigration on the other end."[10]

In reviewing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Bosnian Genocide Case in the judgement of Jorgic v. Germany on 12 July 2007 the European Court of Human Rights quoted from the ICJ ruling on the Bosnian Genocide Case to draw a distinction between ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The term 'ethnic cleansing' has frequently been employed to refer to the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina which are the subject of this case ... General Assembly resolution 47/121 referred in its Preamble to 'the abhorrent policy of 'ethnic cleansing', which is a form of genocide', as being carried on in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ... It [i.e. ethnic cleansing] can only be a form of genocide within the meaning of the [Genocide] Convention, if it corresponds to or falls within one of the categories of acts prohibited by Article II of the Convention. Neither the intent, as a matter of policy, to render an area “ethnically homogeneous”, nor the operations that may be carried out to implement such policy, can as such be designated as genocide: the intent that characterizes genocide is “to destroy, in whole or in part” a particular group, and deportation or displacement of the members of a group, even if effected by force, is not necessarily equivalent to destruction of that group, nor is such destruction an automatic consequence of the displacement. This is not to say that acts described as 'ethnic cleansing' may never constitute genocide, if they are such as to be characterized as, for example, 'deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part', contrary to Article II, paragraph (c), of the Convention, provided such action is carried out with the necessary specific intent (dolus specialis), that is to say with a view to the destruction of the group, as distinct from its removal from the region. As the ICTY has observed, while 'there are obvious similarities between a genocidal policy and the policy commonly known as 'ethnic cleansing' ' (Krstić, IT-98-33-T, Trial Chamber Judgment, 2 August 2001, para. 562), yet '[a] clear distinction must be drawn between physical destruction and mere dissolution of a group. The expulsion of a group or part of a group does not in itself suffice for genocide. |ECHR quoting the ICJ.[11]

Origins of the term

The term, ethnic cleansing, appears to have been popularised by the international media around 1992. However, the practice is much older than the term. The French carried out épurations after regaining Alsace-Lorraine at the end of the First World War when they forcibly removed Germans not descended from the population before 1871 when the territory became part of Germany.

During the 1990s the term was used extensively by the media in the former Yugoslavia in relation to the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. The conflicting parties used widespread and systematic acts of persecution (murder, violence, detention, intimidation) against opposing populations, creating a such coercive and frightening atmosphere that the targeted population had no option but to flee or be forcibly deported. These acts were carried out from (at least) August 1991. Croats and Bosniaks were expelled by Serbs, Serbs and Bosniaks by Croats, and even Bosniaks expelled the perceived rival populations from their domains. This period of ethnic cleansing culminated in 1995, when the long-established population of Krajina was completely expunged. Serbs who remained, mostly elderly and helpless, were murdered by Croatian paramilitaries.[12]

As early as 1914, a Carnegie Endowment report on the Balkan Wars points out that village-burning and ethnic cleansing had traditionally accompanied Balkan wars, regardless of the ethnic group in power. However, the term "cleanse" was probably used first by Vuk Karadžić, to describe what happened to the Turks in Belgrade when the city was captured by the Karadjordje's forces in 1806.[13] Konstantin Nenadović wrote, in his biography of the famous Serbian leader published in 1883, that after the fighting "the Serbs, in their bitterness (after 500 years of Turkish occupation), slit the throats of the Turks everywhere they found them, sparing neither the wounded, nor the woman, nor the Turkish children".[14]

During World War Two, Mile Budak laid down the Croatian plan to purge Croatia of Serbs: by killing one third, expelling one third and assimilating the rest.

On the 16th of May 1941, a commander in the Croatian extremist Ustaše faction, Viktor Gutić, said:

"Every Croat who today solicits for our enemies not only is not a good Croat, but also an opponent and disrupter of the prearranged, well-calculated plan for cleansing [čišćenje] our Croatia of unwanted elements [...]."[15][unreliable source?]

Only a month later (30 June 1941), Stevan Moljević (a lawyer from Banja Luka who was also an ideologue of the Chetniks), published a booklet with the title "On Our State and Its Borders". Moljević asserted:

"One must take advantage of the war conditions and at a suitable moment seize the territory marked on the map, cleanse [očistiti] it before anybody notices and with strong battalions occupy the key places (...) and the territory surrounding these cities, freed of non-Serb elements. The guilty must be promptly punished and the others deported - the Croats to (significantly amputated) Croatia, the Muslims to Turkey or perhaps Albania - while the vacated territory is settled with Serb refugees now located in Serbia."[16][unreliable source?]

In fact, the Ustaše carried out widespread persecution and massacre of the Serbs in Croatia during World War II, and on several occasions used the term "cleansing" to describe these acts.[17]

However, the concept of ethnic cleansing was not restricted to Yugoslavia during this period. The Russian term "cleansing of borders" (ochistka granits - очистка границ), was used in Soviet Union documents of the early 1930s to describe the forced resettlement of Polish people from the 22 km border zone in the Byelorussian SSR and Ukrainian SSR. This process was repeated on an even larger and wider scale in 1939–1941, involving many other ethnicities with allegedly external loyalties: see Involuntary settlements in the Soviet Union and Population transfer in the Soviet Union.[10]

Most notoriously, the Nazi administration in Germany under Adolf Hitler applied a similar term to their systematic destruction of the Jewish people. When an area under Nazi control had its entire Jewish population removed, by driving the population out, by deportation to Concentration Camps and/or murder, that area was declared judenrein (lit. "Jew Clean"): "cleansed of Jews" (cf. racial hygiene).

Ethnic cleansing as a military, political and economic tactic

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File:Abkhazia genocidememorial2005.jpg

The 12th anniversary of ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia, which was held in Tbilisi in 2005.

The purpose of ethnic cleansing is to remove competitors. The party implementing this policy sees a risk (or a useful scapegoat) in a particular ethnic group, and uses propaganda about that group to stir up FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) in the general population. The targeted ethnic group is marginalized and demonized. It can also be conveniently blamed for the economic, moral and political woes of that region.[citation needed][original research?]

Physically removing the targeted ethnic community provides a very clear, visual reminder of the power of the current government. It also provides a safety-valve for violence stirred up by the FUD. The government in power benefits significantly from seizing the assets of the dispossessed ethnic group.[citation needed][original research?]

The reason given for ethnic cleansing is usually that the targeted community is potentially or actually hostile to the "approved" population.Template:Weasel-inline Suddenly your neighbour becomes a "danger" to you and your children. In giving in to the FUD, you become as much a victim of political manipulation as the targeted group. Although ethnic cleansing has sometimes been motivated by claims that an ethnic group is literally "unclean" (as in the case of the Jews of medieval Europe), it has generally been a deliberate (if brutal) way of ensuring the complete domination of a region.[citation needed][original research?]

In the 1990s Bosnian war, ethnic cleansing was a common phenomenon. It typically entailed intimidation, forced expulsion and/or killing of the undesired ethnic group, as well as the destruction or removal of key physical and cultural elements. These included places of worship, cemeteries, works of art and historic buildings. According to numerous ICTY verdicts, both Serb[18] and Croat[19] forces performed ethnic cleansing of their intended territories in order to create ethnically pure states (Republika Srpska and Herzeg-Bosnia). Serb forces were also judged to have committed genocide in Srebrenica at the end of the war.[20]

Based on the evidence of numerous attacks by Croat forces against Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks), the ICTY Trial Chamber concluded in the Kordić and Čerkez case that by April 1993, the Croat leadership from Bosnia and Herzegovina had a designated plan to ethnically cleanse Bosniaks from the Lašva Valley in Central Bosnia. Dario Kordić, the local political leader, was found to be the instigator of this plan.[21]

In the same year (1993), ethnic cleansing was also occurring in another country. During the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, the armed Abkhaz separatist insurgency implemented a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the large population of ethnic Georgians.[citation needed] This was actually a case of trying to drive out a majority, rather than a minority, since Georgians were the single largest ethnic group in pre-war Abkhazia, with a 45.7% plurality as of 1989.[22] As a result of this deliberate campaign by the Abkhaz separatists, more than 250,000 ethnic Georgians were forced to flee, and approximately 30,000 people were killed during separate incidents involving massacres and expulsions (see Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia).[23][24] This was recognized as ethnic cleansing by OSCE conventions, and was also mentioned in UN General Assembly Resolution GA/10708.[25]

As a tactic, ethnic cleansing has a number of systemic impacts. It enables a force to eliminate civilian support for resistance by eliminating the civilians — recognizing Mao Zedong's dictum that guerrillas among a civilian population are fish in water, it removes the fish by draining the water[citation needed]. When enforced as part of a political settlement, as happened with the forced resettlement of ethnic Germans to the new Germany after 1945, it can contribute to long-term stability.[26] Some individuals of the large German population in Czechoslovakia and prewar Poland had encouraged Nazi jingoism before the Second World War, but this was forcibly resolved.[27] It thus establishes "facts on the ground" - radical demographic changes which can be very hard to reverse.

For the most part, ethnic cleansing is such a brutal tactic and so often accompanied by large-scale bloodshed that it is widely reviled. It is generally regarded as lying somewhere between population transfers and genocide on a scale of odiousness, and is treated by international law as a war crime. Ethnic cleansing may be seen as a policy aimed to stabilise the borders of the State.[citation needed][original research?]


Armenian civilians, being cleansed from their homeland during the Armenian Genocide

Ethnic cleansing as a crime under international law

There is no formal legal definition of ethnic cleansing.[28] However, ethnic cleansing in the broad sense - the forcible deportation of a population - is defined as a crime against humanity under the statutes of both International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[29] The gross human-rights violations integral to stricter definitions of ethnic cleansing are treated as separate crimes falling under the definitions for genocide or crimes against humanity of the statutes.[30]

The UN Commission of Experts (established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780) held that the practices associated with ethnic cleansing "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." The UN General Assembly condemned "ethnic cleansing" and racial hatred in a 1992 resolution.[31]

There are however situations, such as the expulsion of Germans after World War II, where ethnic cleansing has taken place without legal redress (see Preussische Treuhand v. Poland). Timothy V. Waters argues that if similar circumstances arise in the future, this precedent would allow the ethnic cleansing of other populations under international law.[32]

Silent ethnic cleansing

Silent ethnic cleansing is a term coined in the mid-1990s by some observers of the Yugoslav wars. Apparently concerned with Western media representations of atrocities committed in the conflict — which generally focused on those perpetrated by the Serbs — atrocities committed against Serbs were dubbed "silent", on the grounds that they were not receiving adequate coverage.[33]

Since that time, the term has been used by other ethnically oriented groups for situations that they perceive to be similar — examples include both sides in Ireland's recent conflict, and the expulsion of ethnic Germans from former German territories during and after World War II.[citation needed]

Some observers,[who?] however, assert that the term should only be used to denote population changes that do not occur as the result of overt violent action, or at least not from more or less organized aggression - the absence of such stressors being the very factor that makes it "silent", although some form of coercion is still used. The United States practiced this during the Indian Wars of the 19th century.

Instances of ethnic cleansing

This section lists incidents that have been termed "ethnic cleansing" by some academic or legal experts. Not all experts agree on every case; nor do all the claims necessarily follow definitions given in this article. Where claims of ethnic cleansing originate from non-experts (e.g., journalists or politicians) this is noted.

Early modern history

  • Edward I of England expelled the Jews in 1290, executing hundreds of the elders of the community.[34]
  • Spain expelled its Jews in 1492, then its Muslims in 1502, forcibly Christianizing the remaining Muslim. [35]
  • After the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland and Act of Settlement in 1652, the whole post-war Cromwellian settlement of Ireland has been characterised by historians such as Mark Levene and Alan Axelrod as ethnic cleansing, in that it sought to remove Irish Catholics from the eastern part of the country, others such as the historical writer Tim Pat Coogan have describe the actions of Cromwell and his subordinates as genocide.[36]
  • On May 26, 1830, president Andrew Jackson of the United States signed the Indian Removal Act which resulted in the Trail of Tears.[37][38][39][40]
  • Michael Mann, basing his figures on those provided by Justin McCarthy states that between 1821 and 1922, a large number of Muslims were expelled from south-eastern Europe as Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia gained their independence from the Ottoman Empire. Mann describes these events as "murderous ethnic cleansing on a stupendous scale not previously seen in Europe, ...". These countries sought to expand their territory against the Ottoman Empire, which culminated in the Balkan wars of the early 20th century.[41]

20th century

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  • The Bolshevik regime killed or deported an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Don Cossacks during the Russian Civil War, in 1919–1920.[43] Geoffrey Hosking stated "It could be argued that the Red policy towards the Don Cossacks amounted to ethnic cleansing. It was short-lived, however, and soon abandoned because it did not fit with normal Leninist theory and practice".[44]
  • The Nazi German government's persecutions and expulsions of Jews in Germany, Austria and other Nazi-controlled areas prior to the initiation of mass genocide. Estimated number of those who died in the process is nearly 6 million Jews.[45]

Ustaše guard in a mass grave at Jasenovac concentration camp.

  • At least 330,000 Serbs, 30,000 Jews and 30,000 Roma were killed during the NDH (see Jasenovac) (today Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) [46][47] and the same number of Serbs were forced out of the NDH , in May 1941 - May 1945. Croatian fascist regime managed to kill more than 45 000 Serbs, more than 12 000 Jews and apr. 16 000 Roma at Jasenovac concetration camp.[48][49]
  • During World War II, in Kosovo & Metohija, approximately 10,000 Serbs lost their lives[50][51], and about 80[50] to 100,000[50][52] or more[51] were ethnically cleansed.[52] After WWII new communist authorities banned to Serbian and Montenegrin, who had been expelled during the war, from returning to their abandoned estates.[53]
  • During the four years of war time occupation 1941–1944, the Axis (German, Hungarian and NDH) forces committed numerous war crimes against civilian population (Serbs, Roma and Jews): about 50,000 people in Vojvodina (north Serbia) (see Occupation of Vojvodina, 1941–1944) were murdered and about 280,000 were arrested, raped or tortured.[56] The total number of the killed people in Bačka was 19,573 (under Hungarian occupation), in Banat 7,513 (under German occupation) and in Syrmia 28,199 (under Croatian occupation).[57]
  • During the Axis occupation in Albania (1943–1944), the Albanian collaborationist organization Balli Kombëtar with Nazi German support mounted a major offensive in southern Albania (Northern Epirus) with devastating results: over 200 Greek populated towns and villages were burned or destroyed, 2,000 ethnic Greeks were killed, 5,000 imprisoned and 2,000 taken hostages to concentration camps. Moreover, 30,000 people had to flee in nearby Greece during and after this period.[58][59][Need quotation to verify]
  • At the end of World War II as many as 15 million ethnic Germans were expelled from eastern Europe, following major post-war international border revisions. Historians such as Thomas Kamusella, Piotr Pikle, Steffen Prauser and Arfon Rees all describe it as ethic cleansing. Kamusella he links it to the development of ethnic nationalism in central and eastern Europe.[60]
  • During the Partition of India 5 million Hindus and Sikhs fled from what became Pakistan into India and more than 6 million Muslims fled from what became India into Pakistan. The events which occurred during this time period have been described as ethnic cleansing by Ishtiaq Ahmed (an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University) [61][62]


  • However, that was not the last Labrang saw of General Ma. Ma Qi launched a war against the Tibetan Ngoloks, which author "Dinesh Lal" calls "genocidal", in 1928, inflicting a defeat upon them and seizing the Labrang Buddhist monastery.[63] The muslim forces looted and ravaged the monastery again.[64]
  • Authors Uradyn Erden Bulag called the events that follow genocidal and David Goodman called them ethnic cleansing:: The Republic of China government supported Ma Bufang when he launched seven extermination expeditions into Golog, eliminating thousands of Tibetans.[65] Some Tibetans counted the number of times he attacked him, remembering the seventh attack which made life impossible.[66] Ma was highly anti-communist, and he and his army wiped out many Tibetans in the northeast and eastern Qinghai, and also destroyed Tibetan Buddhist Temples.[67][68][69]


  • After the Republic of Indonesia achieved independence from the Netherlands in 1949, around 300.000 people, predominantly Indos or Dutch Indonesians (people of mixed Indonesian and European descent), fled or were expelled.[80]


  • On 5 and 6 September 1955 the Istanbul Pogrom or "Septembrianá"/"Σεπτεμβριανά", secretly backed by the Turkish government, was launched against the Greek population of Istanbul. The mob also attacked some Jews and Armenians of the city. The event contributed greatly to the gradual extinction of the Greek minority in the city and country, which numbered 100,000 in 1924 after the Turko-Greek population exchange treaty. By 2006 there were only 2,500 Greeks.[82]


  • On 5 July 1960, five days after the Congo gained independence from Belgium, the Force Publique garrison near Léopoldville mutinied against its white officers and attacked numerous European targets. This caused the fear amongst the approximately 100,000 whites still resident in the Congo and led to their mass exodus from the country.[83]
  • Ne Win's rise to power in 1962 and his relentless persecution of "resident aliens" (immigrant groups not recognised as citizens of the Union of Burma) led to an exodus of some 300,000 Burmese Indians. They migrated to escape racial discrimination and wholesale nationalisation of private enterprise a few years later in 1964.[84][85]
  • The creation of the apartheid system in South Africa, which began in 1948 but reached full flower in the 1960s and 1970s, involved some ethnic cleansing, including the separation of blacks, Coloureds, and whites into separate residential areas and private spheres. The government created Bantustans, which involved forced removals of non-white populations to reserved lands.[86][87] The governing minority forced relocation of the majority to different areas, as well as restricting their movement, education and social activities.[citation needed]
  • As Algeria fought for independence, it expelled the pied-noir population of European descent and Jews; most fled to France, where they had citizenship. In just a few months in 1962, 900,000 of these European descendants and native Jewish people left the country.[88][89]
  • Some 150,000 Italians settled in Libya, constituting about 18% of the total population.[92] In 1970, the government expelled all of Libya's ethnic Italians, a year after Muammar al-Gaddafi seized power (a "day of vengeance" on 7 October 1970).[93]
  • Between 1967 and 1973, the British government expelled the entire population of Diego Garcia, a small island in the Indian Ocean. There are ongoing court cases as regards the rights of the population to return to the island.[94]
  • By 1969, more than 350,000 Salvadorans were living in Honduras. In 1969, Honduras enacted a new land reform law. This law took land away from Salvadoran immigrants and redistributed this land to native-born Honduran peoples. Thousands of Salvadorans were displaced by this law (see Football War).[citation needed]


  • Idi Amin's regime forced the expulsion in 1972 of Uganda's entire ethnic Asian population, mostly of Indian descent.[96]
  • Following the U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam in 1973 and the communist victory two years later, the Kingdom of Laos' coalition government was overthrown by the communists. The Hmong people, who had actively supported the anti-communist government, became targets of retaliation and persecution. Tens of thousands trekked to the Mekong River and sought refuge in Thailand, often under communist attack. The exodus continued for several years.[citation needed]
  • The communist Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia disproportionately targeted ethnic minority groups, including ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese and Thais. In the late 1960s, an estimated 425,000 ethnic Chinese lived in Cambodia; by 1984, as a result of Khmer Rouge genocide and emigration, only about 61,400 Chinese remained in the country. The small Thai minority along the border was almost completely exterminated, only a few thousand managing to reach safety in Thailand. The Cham Muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated. A Khmer Rouge order stated that henceforth “The Cham nation no longer exists on Kampuchean soil belonging to the Khmers” (U.N. Doc. A.34/569 at 9).[98][99][100]
  • The Sino-Vietnamese War resulted in the discrimination and consequent migration of Vietnam's ethnic Chinese. Many of these people fled as "boat people". In 1978-79, some 450,000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees (many officially encouraged and assisted) or were expelled across the land border with China.[citation needed]


  • Aftermath of Indira Gandhi assassination in 1984, the ruling party Indian National Congress supporters formed large mobs and killed around 3000 Sikhs around Delhi which is known as the Anti Sikh Riots during the next four days. The mobs using the support of ruling party leaders used the Election voting list to identify Sikhs and kill them.
  • In 1987 and 1988 Al-Anfal Campaign, the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein and headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid started Al-Anfal against the Iraqi Kurdistan or Kurdish civilian in Northern Iraq. Massacred 100,000 to 182,000 non-combatant civilians including women and children;, destroyed about 4,000 villages (out of 4,655) in Iraqi Kurdistan. Between April 1987 and August 1988, 250 towns and villages -were exposed to chemical weapons;, destroyed 1,754 schools, 270 hospitals, 2,450 mosques, 27 churches; and wiped out around 90% of Kurdish villages in targeted areas.
  • Between 16–17 March 1988, the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein carried out a poison gas attack in the Kurdish town of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan. Between 3,200 and 5,000 civilians died instantly, and between 7,000 and 10,000 civilians were injured, and thousands more would die in the following years from complications, diseases, and birth defects caused by the attack.
File:Chemical weapons Halabja Iraq March 1988.jpg

Aftermath of the Halabja poison gas attack.

  • The Nagorno Karabakh conflict has resulted in the displacement of population from both sides. 528,000 Azerbaijanis from Nagorno Karabakh Armenian controlled territories including Nagorno-Karabakh, and 185,000[103] to 220,000 Azeris, 18,000 Kurds and 3,500 Russians fled from Armenia to Azerbaijan from 1988 to 1989.[104] 280,000 to 304,000[103] persons—virtually all ethnic Armenians—fled Azerbaijan during the 1988–1993 war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.[105]


File:Ethnic Clensing.JPG

Serbian ethnic clensing

  • The widespread ethnic cleansing accompanying the Croatian War of Independence that was committed by rebel Serbs and Serb-led JNA on the occupied areas of Croatia (self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina) (1991–1995). Large number of Croats and non-Serbs were removed, either by murder, deportation or being forced to flee. The majority of Croatia's Serb population left the country by the orders of local Serb leaders which organised retreat of up to 200,000 Serbs Operation Storm.[113] In few last days of August 1995, more than 250.000 Serb refugees[114] fled out of Croatia.
  • The widespread ethnic cleansing accompanying the Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1995), Large numbers of Croats, Bosniaks were forced to flee their homes and were expelled by Serbs.[115] Beginning in 1991, political upheavals in the Balkans displaced about 2,700,000 people by mid-1992, of which over 700,000 of them sought asylum in Europe.[116][117]
  • The widespread ethnic cleansing committed against Albanians on the Albanian-dominated breakaway Kosovo province (of Serbia) (1999). Large numbers of Albanians were forced to flee their homes and expelled.[115]
  • The mass expulsion of southern Lhotshampas (Bhutanese of Nepalese origin) by the northern Druk majority of Bhutan in 1990.[120] The number of refugees is approximately 103,000.[121]
  • An estimated 1,000 Tamil people were killed, tens of thousands of houses were destroyed by the Sinhalese-dominated government of Sri Lanka in what is commonly known as Black July.The murder, looting and general destruction of property was well organized. Mobs armed with petrol were seen stopping passing motorists at critical street junctions and, after ascertaining the ethnic identity of the driver and passengers, setting alight the vehicle with the driver and passengers trapped within it. Mobs were also seen stopping buses to identify Tamil passengers and subsequently these passengers were knifed, clubbed to death or burned alive.[citation needed]
  • In October 1990, the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), forcibly expelled the entire ethnic Muslim population (approx 75,000) from the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The Muslims were given 48 hours to vacate the premises of their homes while their properties were subsequently looted by LTTE. Those who refused to leave were killed. This act of ethnic cleansing was carried out so the LTTE could facilitate their goal of creating a mono-ethnic Tamil state in Northern Sri Lanka.[citation needed]
  • More than 800,000 Kosovar Albanians fled their homes in Kosovo during the Kosovo War in 1998-9, after being expelled. Although on the contrary over 200,000 Serbs and other non-Albanian minorities were forced out of Kosovo during and after the war while most Albanians returned.[127][128]
  • There have been serious outbreaks of inter-ethnic violence on the island of Kalimantan since 1997, involving the indigenous Dayak peoples and immigrants from the island of Madura. In 2001 in the Central Kalimantan town of Sampit, at least 500 Madurese were killed and up to 100,000 Madurese were forced to flee. Some Madurese bodies were decapitated in a ritual reminiscent of the headhunting tradition of the Dayaks of old.[129]

21st century

  • In 2003, Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti Pygmies, told the UN's Indigenous People's Forum that during the Congo Civil War, his people were hunted down and eaten as though they were game animals. Both sides of the war regarded them as "subhuman" and some say their flesh can confer magical powers. Makelo asked the UN Security Council to recognise cannibalism as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide.[133][134]
  • From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Indonesian paramilitaries organized and armed by Indonesian military and police killed large numbers of civilians in East Timor.[135][136][137][138][139][140][141] After the East Timorese people voted for independence in a 1999 referendum, Indonesian paramilitiaries retaliated, murdering some supporters of independence and levelling most towns. More than 200,000 people either fled or were forcibly taken to Indonesia before East Timor achieved full independence.[142]
  • Since the mid-1990s the central government of Botswana has been trying to move Bushmen out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. As of October 2005, the government has resumed its policy of forcing all Bushmen off their lands in the Game Reserve, using armed police and threats of violence or death.[143] Many of the involuntarily displaced Bushmen live in squalid resettlement camps and some have resorted to prostitution and alcoholism, while about 250 others remain or have surreptitiously returned to the Kalahari to resume their independent lifestyle.[144] “How can we continue to have Stone Age creatures in an age of computers?“ asked Botswana’s president Festus Mogae.[145][146]
  • Since 2003, Sudan has been accused of attempting to ethnically cleanse several black African ethnic groups in response to a rebellion by Africans alleging mistreatment. Attacks by irregular militia known as the Janjaweed and Sudanese military and police forces on the African population of Darfur, a region of western Sudan.[147][148] A 14 July 2007 article notes that in the past two months up to 75,000 Arabs from Chad and Niger crossed the border into Darfur. Most have been relocated by the Sudanese government to former villages of displaced non-Arab people. Some 450,000 have been killed and 2.5 million have now been forced to flee to refugee camps in Chad after their homes and villages were destroyed.[149] Sudan refuses to allow their return, or to allow United Nations peacekeepers into Darfur.
  • In 2005, the historian Gary Clayton Anderson of the University of Oklahoma published The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land, 1830-1875/ This book repudiates traditional historians, such as Walter Prescott Webb and Rupert N. Richardson, who viewed the settlement of Texas by the displacement of the native populations as a healthful development. Anderson writes that at the time of the outbreak of the American Civil War, when the Texas population was nearly 600,000, the still new state was "a very violent place. . . . Texans mostly blamed Indians for the violence -- an unfair indictment, since a series of terrible droughts had virtually incapacitated the Plains Indians, making them incapable of extended warfare. . . . "[150]The Conquest of Texas was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Anderson lectures across the country on the theme of the Indians and "ethnic cleansing," a term not well known in the United States until the middle 1990s with the American intervention in Kosovo.[150]
  • Currently in the Iraq Civil War (2003 to present), entire neighborhoods in Baghdad are being ethnically cleansed by Shia and Sunni militias.[151][152] Some areas are being evacuated by every member of a particular group due to lack of security, moving into new areas because of fear of reprisal killings. As of 21 June 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that 2.2 million Iraqis had been displaced to neighboring countries, and 2 million were displaced internally, with nearly 100,000 Iraqis fleeing to Syria and Jordan each month.[153][154][155]
  • Although Iraqi Christians represent less than 5% of the total Iraqi population, they make up 40% of the refugees now living in nearby countries, according to UNHCR.[156][157] In the 16th century, Christians constituted half of Iraq's population.[158] In 1987, the last Iraqi census counted 1.4 million Christians.[159] But as the 2003 invasion has allowed the growth of militant Islamism, Christians' total numbers slumped to about 500,000, of whom 250,000 live in Baghdad.[160] Furthermore, the Mandaean and Yazidi communities are at the risk of elimination due to the ongoing atrocities by Islamic extremists.[161][162] A 25 May 2007 article notes that in the past 7 months only 69 people from Iraq have been granted refugee status in the United States.[163]
  • In October 2006, Niger announced that it would deport the Arabs living in the Diffa region of eastern Niger to Chad.[169] This population numbered about 150,000.[170] While the government was rounding up Arabs in preparation for the deportation, two girls died, reportedly after fleeing government forces, and three women suffered miscarriages. Niger's government had eventually suspended a controversial decision to deport Arabs.[171][172]
  • In 1950, the Karen had become the largest of 20 minority groups participating in an insurgency against the military dictatorship in Burma. The conflict continues as of 2008. In 2004, the BBC, citing aid agencies, estimates that up to 200,000 Karen have been driven from their homes during decades of war, with 120,000 more refugees from Burma, mostly Karen, living in refugee camps on the Thai side of the border. Many accuse the military government of Burma of ethnic cleansing.[173] As a result of the ongoing war in minority group areas more than two million people have fled Burma to Thailand.[174]
  • Civil unrest in Kenya erupted in December 2007.[175] By 28 January 2008, the death toll from the violence was at around 800.[176] The United Nations estimated that as many as 600,000 people have been displaced.[177][178] A government spokesman claimed that Odinga's supporters were "engaging in ethnic cleansing".[179]
  • South Africa Ethnic Cleansing erupted on 11 May 2008 within three weeks 80 000 were displaced the death toll was 62, with 670 injured by the violence when South Africans ejected non-nationals in a nationwide ethnic cleansing/xenophobic outburst. The most affected foreigners have been Somalis, Ethiopians, Indians, Pakistanis, Zimbabweans and Mozambiqueans. Local South Africans have also been caught up in the violence. Refugee camps a mistake Arvin Gupta, a senior UNHCR protection officer, said the UNHCR did not agree with the City of Cape Town that those displaced by the violence should be held at camps across the city.[184] During the 2010 FIFA world cup, rumors were reported that xenophobic attacks will be commenced after the final. A few incidents occurred where foreign individuals were targeted, but the South African police claims that these attacks can not be classified as xenophobic attacks but rather regular criminal activity in the townships. Elements of the South African military were sent into the affected townships to assist the police in keeping order and preventing continued attacks.
  • The deportation of Roma by France in 2010 was called a "disgrace" by the European Commission, and has been likened to ethnic cleansing by Viviane Reding, the European Justice Commissioner, who called it “a situation that I had thought that Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War.”[187]

Criticism of the term

Gregory Stanton, the founder of Genocide Watch, has criticised the rise of the term and its use for events that he feels should be called "genocide": as "ethnic cleansing" has no legal definition, its media use can detract attention from events that should be prosecuted as genocide.[188][189]

See also



  1. Report of the Commission of Experts Established Pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 780 (1992), 27 May 1994 (S/1994/674), English page=33, Paragraph 130
  2. Report of the Commission of Experts Established Pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 780 (1992), 27 May 1994 (S/1994/674), English page=33, Paragraph 129
  3. [Schabas W. A., 2000, Genocide in International Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.][1]
  4. Naimark, 2001 [Naimark N. M., 2001, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in 20th Century Europe, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.][2]
  5. [Mann M., 2005,The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.][3]
  6. [Naimark, N. 2007, Theoretical Paper: Ethnic Cleansing, Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence][4]
  7. Drazen Petrovic, "Ethnic Cleansing - An Attempt at Methodology", European Journal of International Law, Vol. No. 3. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  8. Hayden, Robert M. (1996). "Schindler's Fate: Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, and Population Transfers". Slavic Review 55 (4): 727–48. doi:10.2307/2501233.;2-Y.
  9. Andrew Bell-Fialkoff, "A Brief History of Ethnic Cleansing", Foreign Affairs 72 (3): 110, Summer 1993. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Martin, Terry (1998). The Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing. The Journal of Modern History 70 (4), 813-861. pg. 822
  11. ECHR Jorgic v. Germany §45 citing Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro (“Case concerning the application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”) the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found under the heading of “intent and 'ethnic cleansing'” § 190
  12. FACTBOX - Brief history of Croatia's rebel Serb Krajina region | World | Reuters
  13. Judah, Tim (1997). The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 75. ISBN 0300085079.
  14. Mirko Grmek, Marc Gjidara, Neven Simac (1993) (in French). Le Nettoyage ethnique: Documents historiques sur une idéologie serbe. Paris. pp. 24.
  16. The Moljevic Memorandum
  18. "ICTY: Radoslav Brđanin judgement".
  19. "ICTY: Kordić and Čerkez verdict". Archived from the original on 2011-05-14.
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  21. "ICTY: Kordić and Čerkez verdict - IV. Attacks on towns and villages: killings - C. The April 1993 Conflagration in Vitez and the Lašva Valley - 3. The Attack on Ahmići (Paragraph 642)". Archived from the original on 2001-03-08.
  22. US State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, Abkhazia case.
  23. Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow. Gothic Image Publications, 1994.
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  28. Ward Ferdinandusse, The Interaction of National and International Approaches in the Repression of International Crimes, The European Journal of International Law Vol. 15 no.5 (2004), p. 1042, note 7.
  29. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article 7; Updated Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Article 5.
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  31. A/RES/47/80 ""Ethnic cleansing" and racial hatred" United Nations. 12/16/1992. Retrieved on 2006, 09-03
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  35. A brief History of Ethnic Cleansing, by Andrew Bell-Fialkoff, p. 4
    • Albert Breton (Editor, 1995). Nationalism and Rationality. Cambridge University Press 1995. Page 248. "Oliver Cromwell offered Irish Catholics a choice between genocide and forced mass population transfer"
    • Ukrainian Quarterly. Ukrainian Society of America 1944. "Therefore, we are entitled to accuse the England of Oliver Cromwell of the genocide of the Irish civilian population.."
    • David Norbrook (2000).Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics, 1627–1660. Cambridge University Press. 2000. In interpreting Andrew Marvell's contemporarily expressed views on Cromwell Norbrook says; "He (Cromwell) laid the foundation for a ruthless programme of resettling the Irish Catholics which amounted to large scale ethnic cleansing.."
    • Frances Stewart (2000). War and Underdevelopment: Economic and Social Consequences of Conflict v. 1 (Queen Elizabeth House Series in Development Studies), Oxford University Press. 2000. p. 51 "Faced with the prospect of an Irish alliance with Charles II, Cromwell carried out a series of massacres to subdue the Irish. Then, once Cromwell had returned to England, the English Commissary, General Henry Ireton, adopted a deliberate policy of crop burning and starvation, which was responsible for the majority of an estimated 600,000 deaths out of a total Irish population of 1,400,000."
    • Alan Axelrod (2002). Profiles in Leadership, Prentice-Hall. 2002. Page 122. "As a leader Cromwell was entirely unyielding. He was willing to act on his beliefs, even if this meant killing the king and perpetrating, against the Irish, something very nearly approaching genocide"
    • Tim Pat Coogan (2002). The Troubles: Ireland's Ordeal and the Search for Peace. ISBN 978-0-312-29418-2. p 6. "The massacres by Catholics of Protestants, which occurred in the religious wars of the 1640s, were magnified for propagandist purposes to justify Cromwell's subsequent genocide."
    • Peter Berresford Ellis (2002). Eyewitness to Irish History, John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 978-0-471-26633-4. p. 108 "It was to be the justification for Cromwell's genocidal campaign and settlement."
    • John Morrill (2003). Rewriting Cromwell - A Case of Deafening Silences, Canadian Journal of History. Dec 2003. "Of course, this has never been the Irish view of Cromwell.
      Most Irish remember him as the man responsible for the mass slaughter of civilians at Drogheda and Wexford and as the agent of the greatest episode of ethnic cleansing ever attempted in Western Europe as, within a decade, the percentage of land possessed by Catholics born in Ireland dropped from sixty to twenty. In a decade, the ownership of two-fifths of the land mass was transferred from several thousand Irish Catholic landowners to British Protestants. The gap between Irish and the English views of the seventeenth-century conquest remains unbridgeable and is governed by G.K. Chesterton's mirthless epigram of 1917, that "it was a tragic necessity that the Irish should remember it; but it was far more tragic that the English forgot it."
    • James M Lutz, Brenda J Lutz, (2004). Global Terrorism, Routledge:London, p.193: "The draconian laws applied by Oliver Cromwell in Ireland were an early version of ethnic cleansing. The Catholic Irish were to be expelled to the northwestern areas of the island. Relocation rather than extermination was the goal."
    • Mark Levene (2005). Genocide in the Age of the Nation State: Volume 2. ISBN 978-1-84511-057-4 Page 55, 56 & 57. A sample quote describes the Cromwellian campaign and settlement as "a conscious attempt to reduce a distinct ethnic population".
    • Mark Levene (2005). Genocide in the Age of the Nation-State, I.B.Tauris: London:

      [The Act of Settlement of Ireland], and the parliamentary legislation which succeeded it the following year, is the nearest thing on paper in the English, and more broadly British, domestic record, to a programme of state-sanctioned and systematic ethnic cleansing of another people. The fact that it did not include 'total' genocide in its remit, or that it failed to put into practice the vast majority of its proposed expulsions, ultimately, however, says less about the lethal determination of its makers and more about the political, structural and financial weakness of the early modern English state.

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  130. Expressing the sense of Congress that the Government of the Republic of India and the State Government of Jammu and Kashmir should take immediate steps to remedy the situation of the Kashmiri Pandits and should act to ensure the physical, political, and economic security of this embattled community. HR Resolution 344, United States House of Representatives, 2006-02-15
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  148. Arabs pile into Darfur to take land 'cleansed' by janjaweed
  149. 150.0 150.1 The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land, 1830-1875. University of Oklahoma Press, 2005, p. 9 (quotation), ISBN: 0-8061-3698-7. 2005. ISBN 9780806136981. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  150. Iraq is disintegrating as ethnic cleansing takes hold
  151. "There is ethnic cleansing"
  152. Iraq refugees chased from home, struggle to cope
  153. U.N.: 100,000 Iraq refugees flee monthly. Alexander G. Higgins, Boston Globe, 3 November 2006.
  154. In North Iraq, Sunni Arabs Drive Out Kurds
  155. Christians, targeted and suffering, flee Iraq
  156. IRAQ Terror campaign targets Chaldean church in Iraq - Asia News
  157. UNHCR | Iraq
  158. Christians live in fear of death squads
  159. Jonathan Steele: While the Pope tries to build bridges in Turkey, the precarious plight of Iraq's Christians gets only worse | World news |
  160. Iraq's Mandaeans 'face extinction'
  161. Iraq's Yazidis fear annihilation
  162. Ann McFeatters: Iraq refugees find no refuge in America. Seattle Post-Intelligencer May 25, 2007.
  163. Roots of Latino/black anger
  164. Ethnic Cleansing in L.A.
  165. Thanks to Latino Gangs, There’s a Zone in L.A. Where Blacks Risk Death if They Enter
  166. FBI called to deal with 'race' gang violence
  167. A bloody conflict between Hispanic and black gangs is spreading across Los Angeles
  168. Niger starts mass Arab expulsions
  169. Reuters Niger's Arabs say expulsions will fuel race hate
  170. Niger's Arabs to fight expulsion
  171. UNHCR | Refworld - The Leader in Refugee Decision Support
  172. Burma Karen families 'on the run', BBC News
  173. " Human Rights in Burma: Fifteen Years Post Military Coup ", Refugees International
  174. U.S. envoy calls violence in Kenya 'ethnic cleansing'
  175. Al Jazeera English - News - Kenya Ethnic Clashes Intensify
  176. U.N.: 600,000 Displaced In Kenya Unrest
  177. BBC NEWS | Africa | Kenya opposition cancels protests
  178. BBC NEWS | Africa | Kenya diplomatic push for peace
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  180. "25000 North Indians leave, Pune realty projects hit". Times of India. 24 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  181. "Maha exodus: 10,000 north Indians flee in fear". Times of India. 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  182. "MNS violence: North Indians flee Nashik, industries hit". Rediff. 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  183. "Ethnic cleansing: South Africa's shame". The Independent (London). 25 May 2008.
  186. E.U. Calls France’s Roma Expulsions a ‘Disgrace’, New York Times, September 14, 2010,
  187. Blum, Rony; Stanton, Gregory H.; Sagi, Shira; Richter, Elihu D. (2007). "‘Ethnic cleansing’ bleaches the atrocities of genocide". European Journal of Public Health 18 (2): 204–209. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckm011. PMID 17513346.
  188. See also "'Ethnic Cleansing and Genocidal Intent: A Failure of Judicial Interpretation?", Genocide Studies and Prevention 5, 1 (April 2010), Douglas Singleterry


External links

Template:Racism topics Template:Ethnicity

ar:تطهير عرقي bs:Etničko čišćenje bg:Етническо прочистване ca:Neteja ètnica da:Etnisk udrensning de:Ethnische Säuberung et:Etniline puhastus el:Εθνοκάθαρση es:Limpieza étnica eo:Etna purigado fa:پاکسازی قومی fr:Nettoyage ethnique ko:민족 청소 hr:Etničko čišćenje it:Pulizia etnica he:טיהור אתני sw:Utakaso wa kikabila nl:Etnische zuivering ja:民族浄化 no:Etnisk rensning nn:Etnisk reinsing pl:Czystka etniczna pt:Limpeza étnica ro:Purificare etnică ru:Этнические чистки sr:Етничко чишћење sh:Etničko čišćenje fi:Etninen puhdistus sv:Etnisk rensning ta:இனக்கருவறுப்பு tr:Etnik temizlik uk:Етнічна чистка zh:种族清洗

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