Rohingya: A Genocide or Ethnic Cleansing

November 21st, 2018  

Topic: Rohingya: A Genocide or Ethnic Cleansing

From my latest article on genocide and ethnic cleansing for the Modern Diplomacy magazine

Difference between Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing

To simplify, the term genocide commonly refers to mass murder that is prohibited and punishable under the jurisdiction of the Convention. Genocide and ethnic cleansing are very similar with respect to their intent or purpose; that is, a political or religious group intends to exterminate another political or religious group from the midst of their presence. However, the difference is found within the means by which each concept achieves their intentions. Genocide adopts a much more brutal approach that utilizes mass murders and brutal killings, while ethnic cleansing adopts a more limited approach that utilizes forced deportation or population transfer. In other words, ethnic cleansing chooses to terrify a particular ethnic group, forcing them to leave a particular area in order to create a more homogenous population (Lieberman 2010). For example, although historians have used the word ethnic cleansing to explain the systematic and brutal killings of Jews during the Holocaust of the Second World War, the very fact that it involved mass murders of some six million Jews indicates that it was more of a genocide than ethnic cleansing. To distinguish, some 50,000 Hindus from the state of Jammu and Kashmir were displaced through acts of bodily harm and theft or the imposition of fear there from; thereby illustrating the acts of ethnic cleansing.

Debates over the classification of ethnic cleansing often focus on the intent of the perpetrator. Refugee movements, for example, confirms the characteristic of ethnic cleansing actions, but to apply the term ethnic cleansing, one must also entail a judgment or interpretation of the organization’s intent and the planning of their encouraged eviction. For example, the removal of civilians during wartime could be considered a war crime, however; the distinction of ethnic cleansing occurs when refugees flee a war zone as the result of the fear of uncertainty or the risk of grave harm. Genocide, on the other hand, would not involve such large emigration of refugees due to the mere extent of murder that would be involved. Therefore, it becomes clear that both ethnic cleansing and genocide involve roots of ethnic and religious hatred and refer to the intention of removing an ethnic or religious group from a particular area. The only difference that separates ethnic cleansing from genocide lies in the fact that ethnic cleansing is more of the nature of forced migrations, while genocide strictly involves absolute elimination through mass murders and brutal killings.
November 21st, 2018  
I think you would be hard pushed not to describe it as genocide with the byproduct being ethnic cleansing.
November 23rd, 2018  
I haven't read any historian calling the holocaust an ethnic cleansing, but the result will be a macabre cleansing. What I can call an ethnic cleansing is what happened to the German populations in the Eastern Europe in the end of the Second World War and shortly after it. I might push some buttons when I say Israel has practicing the ethnic cleansing, but not committing a genocide toward the Palestinians. What happened in the Balkans is somewhat a grey area.

What happens to the Rohingya's ins't a genocide and the article describes the difference between the two terms. There are killings during an ethnic cleansing, but there is a difference. the article provided by the TS, it goes back to the intends of the perpetrator. he wants to move an ethnic group, but knows he cannot kill them all. It goes back to the simple facts, the cost and the benefits of doing wherever suits and most of the time, it will come back and bite the perpetrator in the rear end
November 27th, 2018  
I disagree as the army could simply round them up and dump them at the border if ethnic cleansing was the goal but in this case, the aim is clearly to kill as many as possible or it wouldn't be shooting those fleeing to the border.

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