Ethnic cleansing

Refugees at Taurus Pass during the Armenian genocide. The Ottoman government aimed to reduce the number of Armenians below 5–10% of the population in any part of the empire, which necessarily entailed the elimination of a million Armenians.[1]

Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial, and religious groups from a given area, with the intent of making a region ethnically homogeneous. Along with direct removal, extermination, deportation or population transfer, it also includes indirect methods aimed at forced migration by coercing the victim group to flee and preventing its return, such as murder, rape, and property destruction.[2][3][4] It constitutes a crime against humanity and may also fall under the Genocide Convention, even as ethnic cleansing has no legal definition under international criminal law.[2][5][6]

Many instances of ethnic cleansing have occurred throughout history; the term was first used by the perpetrators as a euphemism during the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s. Since then, the term has gained widespread acceptance due to journalism and the media's heightened use of the term in its generic meaning.[7]

  1. ^ Akçam, Taner (2011). "Demographic Policy and the Annihilation of the Armenians". The Young Turks' Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-15333-9. The thesis being proposed here is that the Armenian Genocide was not implemented solely as demographic engineering, but also as destruction and annihilation, and that the 5 to 10 percent principle was decisive in achieving this goal. Care was taken so that the number of Armenians deported to Syria, and those who remained behind, would not exceed 5 to 10 percent of the population of the places in which they were found. Such a result could be achieved only through annihilation... According to official Ottoman statistics, it was necessary to reduce the prewar population of 1.3 million Armenians to approximately 200,000.
  2. ^ a b "Ethnic cleansing". United Nations. United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  3. ^ Walling, Carrie Booth (2000). "The history and politics of ethnic cleansing". The International Journal of Human Rights. 4 (3–4): 47–66. doi:10.1080/13642980008406892. S2CID 144001685. Most frequently, however, the aim of ethnic cleansing is to expel the despised ethnic group through either indirect coercion or direct force, and to ensure that return is impossible. Terror is the fundamental method used to achieve this end.
    Methods of indirect coercion can include: introducing repressive laws and discriminatory measures designed to make minority life difficult; the deliberate failure to prevent mob violence against ethnic minorities; using surrogates to inflict violence; the destruction of the physical infrastructure upon which minority life depends; the imprisonment of male members of the ethnic group; threats to rape female members, and threats to kill. If ineffective, these indirect methods are often escalated to coerced emigration, where the removal of the ethnic group from the territory is pressured by physical force. This typically includes physical harassment and the expropriation of property. Deportation is an escalated form of direct coercion in that the forcible removal of 'undesirables' from the state's territory is organised, directed and carried out by state agents. The most serious of the direct methods, excluding genocide, is murderous cleansing, which entails the brutal and often public murder of some few in order to compel flight of the remaining group members.13 Unlike during genocide, when murder is intended to be total and an end in itself, murderous cleansing is used as a tool towards the larger aim of expelling survivors from the territory. The process can be made complete by revoking the citizenship of those who emigrate or flee.
  4. ^ Schabas, William A. (2003). "'Ethnic Cleansing' and Genocide: Similarities and Distinctions". European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online. 3 (1): 109–128. doi:10.1163/221161104X00075. The Commission considered techniques of ethnic cleansing to include murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, extrajudicial executions, sexual assault, confinement of civilian populations in ghetto areas, forcible removal, displacement and deportation of civilian populations, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, and wanton destruction of property.
  5. ^ Jones, Adam (2012). "'Ethnic cleansing' and genocide". Crimes Against Humanity: A Beginner's Guide. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-78074-146-8.
  6. ^ Schabas, William A. (2003). "'Ethnic Cleansing' and Genocide: Similarities and Distinctions". European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online. 3 (1): 109–128. doi:10.1163/221161104X00075. 'Ethnic cleansing' is probably better described as a popular or journalistic expression, with no recognized legal meaning in a technical sense... 'ethnic cleansing' is equivalent to deportation,' a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions as well as a crime against humanity, and therefore a crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.
  7. ^ Thum 2010, p. 75: way. Despite its euphemistic character and its origin in the language of the perpetrators, 'ethnic cleansing' is now the widely accepted scholarly term used to describe the systematic and violent removal of undesired ethnic groups from a given territory.

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