Poor health – a genocide indicator?

18 October 2011 by Nidzara Ahmetavic

Poor health is a “good indicator” of the risk of genocide facing an ethnic group, new research shows. Skeletal analysis has been used for the first time, to assess the overarching health of genocide victims before their murder in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A health-based approach to identify groups at high risk of genocide is proposed by forensic anthropologists Ann Ross and Ashley Maxwell based on their results.

'Epidemiology of genocide: an example of the former Yugoslavia'
400 body remains found in mass graves around Srebrenica examined by Ross and Maxwell found that those Bosnian Muslim victims had an unusually high frequency of malnutrition, poor health and inadequate prenatal care. For both scientists, these conditions are “good indicators” of a genocide risk because they illustrate the marginalised status of the victims’ ethnic group. They also examined epidemiological data from the World Health Organization on the general health of refugees from Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. These results were consistent with the forensic assessment of the Srebrenica victims.

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