An interesting discussion on ethnic cleansing vs. voluntary migration

1 posts

Niccolo and Donkey

The loaded term "ethnic cleansing" that came out of the Balkans in the 1990s has unfortunately gone from being a precise definition to an imprecise one. Ethnic cleansing implies forceful movement of populations under threat to areas under the control of their own forces or to a third party in order to "clean the terrain" of opposing ethnicities. Now the definition seems to have ballooned to encompass people fleeing areas under military threat or even more loosely, people choosing to relocate amongst populations of their own people away from from places where they were in a minority previously.

The classic example of the misuse of the term ethnic cleansing is from 1995 Croatia when rebel Serb officials ordered their civilians to evacuate their homes and go in the direction of Serbian forces in Bosnia. Croatian forces did not encounter these people and force them at gunpoint to leave. Yet one of the narratives fighting to be the official story is that Croatia "ethnically cleansed 200,000 Serbs".

During that series of wars, ethnic cleansing did occur and it happened on all sides with the Serbs being the most "successful" in respect to numbers of those forcibly moved. Also during that series of wars military forces ordered their own populations to move/flee. There is a difference between these two types of cases and it has been brought up at The Hague.

Demography professor tells courts of difference between ethnic cleansing and “voluntary migration”