In Eastern Europe, Communist governments had maintained strict control over their people.
In Yugoslavia this control had helped suppress tensions between the many different ethnic and religious groups that lived in that country’s six republics.
Feelings of nationalism in Yugoslavia’s republics grew as ethnic and religious tensions increased.
Some republics declared independence.
Serbia—and ethnic Serbs living in other republics—tried to prevent the breakup of Yugoslavia, and conflict soon broke out in several republics.
The most violent of these wars took place in the republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1992.
Many Bosnian Serbs wanted to remain part of Yugoslavia, and they began a war to prevent Bosnian independence.
During this war, Serbs used a policy of ethnic cleansing against Bosnian Muslims.
Ethnic cleansing is the elimination of an ethnic group from society through killing or forced emigration.
Soon after, another conflict began in the region.
This time, fighting was located in the Serbian province of Kosovo, where Serbs and ethnic Albanians fought over control of the area.
Ethnic Tensions in Africa In the 1990s tensions between two ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi, in Rwanda erupted in widespread violence.
In 1994 the Hutu-led government encouraged a genocide of Tutsi and moderate Hutu civilians, which resulted in the massacre of about 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutus.
Many more civilians fled to refugee camps in the neighboring countries of Burundi, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.