A massacre is a killing, typically of multiple victims, considered morally unacceptable, especially when perpetrated by a group of political actors against defenseless victims. The word is a loan of a French term for "butchery" or "carnage".
There is no objective definition of what constitutes a "massacre". Various international organisations have proposed a formal definition of the term "crimes against humanity", which would however include incidents of persecution or abuse that do not result in deaths. Conversely, a "massacre" is not necessarily a "crime against humanity". Other terms with overlapping scope include war crime, pogrom, mass killing, mass murder, and extrajudicial killing.
Since 1948, an average of 100,000 persons have been killed every year, frequently as a result of massacres, in acts of war. Following seizure of power in 1965, between 500,000 and 1 million people had been murdered by, or with the complicity, of the military. In the 1965-1966 Indonesian massacre, one of the worst, yet least known, mass killings since World War II, an estimated half a million Indonesians suspected of being Communists were murdered by soldiers and paramilitary death squads. In Java in the mid-1980s, 5,000 people were killed by government-sanctioned death squads. Since 1989 a further 2,000 civilians have been killed in the North of Sumatra. 200,000 East Timorese were killed by Indonesian military personal in the mid 1970's. A million Cambodians died in the 1970's under the regime of Pol Pot. In the early 1980's 100,000 people were massacred in Mozambique, mainly by the rebel group Renamo. In Burma, the army killed an estimated 3,000 people as they protested 26 years of authoritarian rule in September 1988. In the past 50 years more than a million Tibetans have died at the hands of the Chinese. In Brazil, on 28 March 1988, 14 Tikuna Indians were massacred and in April 1988, 20 Yanomanis in the State of Toraima were killed. On March 1987 more than 1,000 Dinkas of Sudan were massacred in the most abominable manner by the inhabitants of a town in the west of the country where they had taken refuge after repeated attacks on their villages by Arab militia. On October 30, 1992, an estimated 60 Unita rebels and civilians of Luanda were killed by the Angolan police force. The Burundian army, dominated by the Tutsi tribe, was reported in 1993 to be carrying out systematic slaughter of the long-oppressed, though numerically dominant, Hutu tribe following the murder, after three months in office, of the first democratically-elected president, also a Hutu. Between 1969 and 1988, as many as 300,000 Hutu people of Burundi were killed by the Tutsi minority. In 1994 several thousand people were massacred in Rwanda.
It is estimated that the purges of Stalin cost as many as 40 million lives. Between 1941 and 1945, the Ustashe regime in the Nazi puppet state of Croatia exterminated some 500,000 Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews. Gypsies and communists. Massacres have recently occurred in Uganda under Idi Amin and Milton Obote, the village of My Lai in Vietnam by American soldiers, South Korea, Zimbabwe, The Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, China, and Liberia. Many of the 150,000 Soviet Greeks who fled Turkey during the extermination of 350,000 Greeks in 1918, are using recent political reforms as an opportunity to end decades of forced exile.
During the 20th century, some 40 million people have died in international wars, but it is estimated that over 100 million have been killed by their own governments.