Social cleansing
Social cleansing is the elimination of what can be considered "undesirable" social elements, such as criminals, homosexuals, and the homeless. Clandestine organizations have engaged in social cleansing in several Latin American countries since at least the late 1980s.

Social cleansing in Guatemala

Following the 1996 peace agreement ending the Guatemalan civil war
Guatemalan Civil War
The Guatemalan Civil War ran from 1960-1996. The thirty-six-year civil war began as a grassroots, popular response to the rightist and military usurpation of civil government , and the President's disrespect for the human and civil rights of the majority of the population...

, Guatemala experienced a wave of criminal activity. Of particular concern were the activities of Mara Salvatrucha
Mara Salvatrucha
Mara Salvatrucha is a transnational criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles and has spread to other parts of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America. The majority of the gang is ethnically composed of Central Americans and active in urban and suburban areas...

 gangsters, who extorted money from small businesses and the drivers of buses and trucks, assassinating those who refused to comply. Faced with the inability of the state to maintain order, some former combatants in the civil war (both insurgents and paramilitary), organized themselves and began to murder those they had identified as criminals.

Social cleansing in Colombia

Colombia has seen killings of prostitutes, street children, and criminals, since the early 1990s.

Social cleansing in Brazil

In Brazil, homeless street children have been murdered at alarmingly high rates, since the late 1980s.

Controversy in Britain

In October 2010, Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

, Shadow Minister Chris Bryant
Chris Bryant
Christopher John Bryant is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Rhondda since 2001...

 accused the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 of implementing policy that would "cleanse" the bigger cities of poorer people, due to their housing benefit
Housing Benefit
Housing Benefit is a means tested social security benefit in the UK that is intended to help meet Housing costs for rented accommodation. The primary legislation governing Housing Benefit is the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992. Operationally, the governing Regulations are...

 cuts. Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a British journalist and Conservative Party politician, who has been the elected Mayor of London since 2008...

, Mayor of London
Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is an elected politician who, along with the London Assembly of 25 members, is accountable for the strategic government of Greater London. Conservative Boris Johnson has held the position since 4 May 2008...

 and a Conservative, also accused the cuts of social cleansing. This resulted in many political figures rebuking this claim. Some, such as Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg
Nicholas William Peter "Nick" Clegg is a British Liberal Democrat politician who is currently the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council and Minister for Constitutional and Political Reform in the coalition government of which David Cameron is the Prime Minister...

, claimed such a description "offensive".
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.