WHAT TO DO ABOUT ETHNIC CLEANSING? BACKGROUND PAPER In 1994, unrest swept through the Maryland-sized African nation of Rwanda. Thousands of Hutu extremists launched a massive assault on the Tutsi, who traditionally make up Rwanda's upper class, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people (Night Rider - "most days"). The United States immediately responded to this slaughter by turning the other way, denying that a problem existed until years after the genocide had ceased. In 1999, ethnic cleansing (hostility between ethnic groups) broke out in Kosovo in a less severe form. This time, instead of being killed, the Kosovars were driven out of their homes and neighborhoods. This time, United States and NATO forces immediately confronted the problem by launching a substantial air war on the area. Clearly, the doctrine for ethnic cleansing is widely varied, and merits further discussion.
Ethnic cleansing is a "phrase for an attempt to purge an area of an unwanted ethnic group.
It can include deportation, intimidation, and acts of genocide or mass murder." (Encarta, "Ethnic cleansing"). It occurs most frequently in third world countries. Whenever it arises, it is followed by a host of moral questions. Do we just stay out completely and allow the country to deal with its own problems? Or, if we decide to take action, do we merely send medical aid or help militarily? Should we send in the army? Or is an air war the only acceptable option? It all comes down to an ethical issue, with one group insisting that preventing the loss of lives is paramount. The other side states that ethnic cleansing is caused by a fundamental disagreement between two ethnic groups, so unless we allow the groups to resolve their own issues, they can never be content and productive.
Whenever any human rights issue...