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Ethnic Cleansing, Wars, and Conflicts

  • By: Barclay T. Stewart
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Although the meaning is heavily debated, ethnic cleansing is defined by the United Nations (UN) 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.” Ethnic cleansing has long been a cause, and an instrument, of civil and international conflicts. It is difficult to characterize ethnic cleansing, which can describe an evolution from ethnic cleansing to war. Examples of ethnic cleansing have left scars throughout history, but there methods for redress also exist.

Characterizing Ethnic Cleansing

The term ethnic cleansing became popularized during the early 1990s in relation to the wars in Bosnia and Croatia, of the former Yugoslavia. Conflicting parties employed systematic destruction of villages, tactics of intimidation, rape, ...

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