The causes and consequences of ethnic cleansing

Authored by: Erin K. Jenne

Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict

Print publication date:  October  2010
Online publication date:  October  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415476256
eBook ISBN: 9780203845493
Adobe ISBN: 9781136927577

10.4324/9780203845493.ch10

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Abstract

Ethnic cleansing refers to ‘the expulsion of an “undesirable” population from a given territory due to religious or ethnic discrimination, political, strategic or ideological considerations, or a combination of these’ (Bell-Fialkoff 1993, p. 110). On the most basic level, it is the deliberate policy of homogenising the ethnic make-up of a territory. As this definition suggests, ethnic cleansing comprises not only ethnic expulsions and extermination during war, but also policies of ethnic homogenisation undertaken during times of relative peace. In strategic terms, it involves the removal of targeted minorities from a given territory and the subsequent resettlement of members of the dominant group in the minorities’ abandoned homes and property. In sum, ethnic cleansing consists of policies of ethnic expulsion and resettlement, which may be implemented either violently or non-violently. These policies are undertaken with the purpose of achieving ethno-territorial homogenisation.

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