Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Ethnic cleansing

The neutrality of this article is disputed.

Ethnic cleansing is a general term (considered by some to be a euphemism) used to describe the forced removal of an ethnic group from an area, in order to create an ethnically homogenous state. The term became popularized in the wars in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, to describe actions done by various forces. Often, the term is used in cases where genocide (or democide) is not appropriate by the number of people killed. Still, campaigns of "ethnic cleansing" tend to carry atrocities with them.

"Ethnic cleansing" is designated a crime against humanity in international treaties, such as that which created the International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was set up in asimilar spirit, and prosecutes these crimes under more generic names.


Some argue that population transfers can create political situations which are more stable than those involving multi-ethnic states, citing the partition of India and the post-World War II political situation in Eastern Europe. Others raise disturbing questions about historical events such as the German expulsion after World War II or Polish minority in Soviet Union.