systematic removal of a certain ethnic or religious group
Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial and/or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, often with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous. The forces which may be applied may be various forms of forced migration (deportation, population transfer), intimidation, as well as genocide and genocidal rape.
Ethnic cleansing is usually accompanied by efforts to remove physical and cultural evidence of the targeted group in the territory through the destruction of homes, social centers, farms, and infrastructure, as well as through the desecration of monuments, cemeteries, and places of worship.
Although ethnic cleansing has occurred long through history, the term was initially used by the perpetrators during the Yugoslav Wars and cited in this context as a euphemism akin to that of Nazi Germany's "Final Solution", by the 1990s, and gained widespread acceptance due to journalism and the media's heightened use of the term in its generic meaning.
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