Before conflicts broke out, Yugoslavia was comprised of several regions, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. In 1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence from Yugoslavia. In March 1992, Bosnia declared its independence from what remained of Yugoslavia, in effect, Serbia. Driven by ethnic loyalties, Serbs, Croats and Muslims became involved in the fighting.

Atrocities and massacres were committed by all sides. Serbs, and to a lesser degree Croatians, were involved in "ethnic cleansing," the forced removal, and sometimes murder, of unwanted groups. A refugee crisis was created as ethnic groups were either driven out or fled in fear. In 1994, there were over 320,000 Bosnian refugees.

In 1995 a cease-fire was established and Bosnia was divided among the three ethnic groups. Canada and other countries provided peacekeeping forces and other assistance. Close to thirteen thousand Bosnian refugees entered Canada between 1992 and 1997.
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