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The "ethnic cleansing" by Bosnian Serbs in 1992 is an example of human rights abuse. Ethnic cleansing is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "the systematic elimination of an ethnic group or groups from a region or society, as by deportation, forced emigration, or genocide."
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was established in 1945 after World War II, consisting of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Montenegro. On March 5, 1992, Bosnia declared its separation from and independence of Yugoslavia. The area had been shared between Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks). There were no clear geographical divisions between ethnic groups, and none held absolute majority over the area (see Appendix A).
The main objective of the Serbs was to expel and eradicate the Bosniaks from the country. They developed a policy of ethnic cleansing, using intimidation, forced expulsion and/or killing, as well as the destruction or removal of physical vestiges, such as places of worship, cemeteries and cultural and historical buildings.
The Bosniaks became significantly outnumbered and were rounded up by the Serbs, with Nazi Germany-style mass shootings, forced repopulations, and confinement in concentration camps for men and boys, while their women and girls were raped and abused.
One of the most publicised and atrocious examples of ethnic cleansing in the Bosnian war was the Srebrenica massacre in 1992. Bosniaks seeking refuge from the Serbs had gathered in Srebrenica under UN protection; however Dutch UN forces refused to arm the Bosniaks for defense. Men were held in trucks and warehouses, and 15,000 Bosniaks attempting to escape overnight were shot at on July 11. Dutch peacekeepers handed over 5,000 Bosniaks to the Serbs and approximately 7,000 Bosniak men were massacred .