March 23, 2018

United Nations genocide adviser: Indications Myanmar cleansing Rohingyas

13 March 2018, 09:38 | Brandon Parsons

A young woman looks at her Facebook wall while she travels on a bus

A young woman looks at her Facebook wall while she travels on a bus in Yangon

Lee, who was informed late past year that her access to the country was denied, also expressed serious concern that "the repressive practices of previous military governments were returning as the norm once more" in Myanmar, describing the situation faced by civil society across the country as "increasingly perilous".

"The external review should assess whether the United Nations and worldwide community could have prevented or managed the situation differently that occurred regarding the Rohingya and in Rakhine state, and make recommendations for accountability if appropriate", she said.

Both Darusman and Lee said Facebook had played a key role in the spread of conflict and hate speech in Myanmar.

He adds that it has "substantially contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict".

Investigators from the United Nations are now looking into a potential - the investigators recently said they are "becoming more convinced" that a genocide occurred - genocide in Myanmar that happened between October 2016 and August 2017.

"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar". "It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists ... are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of..."

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In an emailed statement, Facebook spokesperson Ruchika Budhraja said in part: "There is no place for hate speech or content that promotes violence on Facebook, and we work hard to keep it off our platform".

"And I am afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast than what it was originally meant to be used in other parts of the world too", she added.

Over 671,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority have fled Myanmar's western Rakhine state for neighboring Bangladesh since August 25, many bearing tales of atrocities committed by Myanmar's military, including executions, gang rapes, and the razing of homes and villages. The fact-finding mission is investigating whether the violence in Myanmar falls under genocide. So far, it's estimated that 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh as a result.

Last month, Facebook removed the page of a Myanmar monk once dubbed the "Buddhist Bin Laden" for his incendiary posts about Muslims, the company confirmed, as it faces pressure to clamp down on hate speech.

In response to the United Nations criticism, a Facebookspokesperson on Tuesday defended the site's anti-hate speech strategy and said it had invested significantly in technology and local language expertise in Myanmar.

"We work with local communities and NGOs to increase awareness of our policies and reporting process, and are always looking for ways to improve people's experience on Facebook", the spokesperson said.

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