The creation of an ethnically homogenous geographic area through the elimination of unwanted ethnic groups by deportation, forcible displacement, or genocide. Ethnic cleansing also has involved attempts to remove physical vestiges of the targeted group in the territory through the destruction and desecration of monuments, cemeteries, and houses of worship. Although some critics of the term have claimed that ethnic cleansing is simply a form of genocide, defenders of the usage have noted that, whereas the murder of an ethnic, racial, or religious group is the primary intention of a genocidal policy, the chief goal of ethnic cleansing is the establishment of homogenous lands, which may be achieved by any of a number of methods including genocide. The term was widely employed in the 1990s to describe the brutal treatment of Bosniacs (Bosnian Muslims), ethnic Serbs in the Krajina region of Croatia, and ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo during the conflicts that erupted in the wake of the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
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