When a high level State Dept. official calls a situation ï¿½ethnic cleansing,ï¿½ it carries some weight. One Harvard analyst says the term ï¿½ethnic cleansingï¿½ not only describes what's happening but is also a warning, it's not genocide but is approaching. A murky line where ethnic cleansing ends and genocide begins, says this American U analyst. He says it's important to issue a warning of ethnic cleansing early. But today's statement was curious. State Department is contradicting itself, one official says it is ethnic cleansing, another says it isn't. The American U analyst says it was a political recalculation: the State Dept. may believe it is ethnic cleansing, but assesses that it doesn't have the resources to engage the situation. Some African human rights groups are saying it's also not ethnic cleansing, but a political fight with ethnic dimensions and when a US diplomat calls it as such it just adds fuel to the fire. She worries that such a lable may derail the negotiation and resolution process. If the US labels it as ethnic cleansing, the American U analyst says that means it's no longer an internal affair: Ethnic cleansing is a crime against humanity and international community must then engage the situation.
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