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Migration and Home Affairs


Rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons of another ethnic or religious group, which is contrary to international law.


UN Security Council: Final Report of the Commission of Experts established Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780 (1992)


  • BG: етничеко прочистване
  • CS: etnická čistka
  • DE: ethnische Säuberung
  • EL: εθνική εκκαθάριση / εθνοκάθαρση
  • EN: ethnic cleansing
  • ES: limpieza étnica
  • ET: etniline puhastus
  • FI: etninen puhdistus
  • FR: nettoyage ethnique
  • GA: glanadh eitneach
  • HU: etnikai tisztogatás
  • IT: pulizia etnica
  • LT: etninis valymas
  • LV: etniskā tīrīšana
  • MT: Tindif etniku
  • NL: etnische zuivering
  • PL: czystki etniczne
  • PT: limpeza étnica
  • RO: purificare etnică
  • SK: etnické čistky
  • SL: etnično čiščenje
  • SV: etnisk rensning
  • NO: etnisk rensing (b); etnisk reinsing (n)
  • KA: ეთნიკური წმენდა
  • UK: етнічна чистка

Related Term(s)


1.General Assembly resolution 47/121: The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina referred in its Preamble to ‘the abhorrent policy of “ethnic cleansing”’.
2. Trial Chamber Judgment of 2 August 2001 of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has observed, while ‘there are obvious similarities between a genocidal policy and the policy commonly known as “ethnic cleansing”’, yet ‘a clear distinction must be drawn between physical destruction and mere dissolution of a group. The expulsion of a group or part of a group does not in itself suffice for genocide’.
3. These legal documents thus state that crimes committed during an ethnic cleansing are similar to those of genocide, but while genocide includes an intent at complete or partial destruction of the target group, ethnic cleansing may involve murder only to the point of mobilising the target group out of the territory. Hence, there may be varied degrees of mass murder in an ethnic cleansing, often subsiding when the target group appears to be leaving the desired territory, while during genocide the mass murder is ubiquitous and constant throughout the process, continuing even while the target group tries to flee.