United Nations investigators cite Facebook role in Myanmar crisis

United Nations investigators cite Facebook role in Myanmar crisis

The social network offered no immediate comment on the criticism yesterday, although in the past the company has said that it was working to remove hate speech in Myanmar and bar people who indulge in hate speech.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown on insurgents six months ago amid accounts of arson, murder and rape at the hands of soldiers and vigilante mobs in the mainly Buddhist country.

"The long-standing conflicts in Kachin and Shan states have recently intensified, leading to more reports of serious violations of global human rights and humanitarian law committed in these areas by the security forces", it said.

On Monday two UN officials tasked with looking into abuses in Myanmar took shots at Facebook as part of a UN Human Rights Council hearing.

"It has. substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissention and conflict, if you will, within the public".

United Nations special rapporteur for human rights Yanghee Lee also submitted a report to the Human Rights Council this week, warning that violence against the Rohingya bore "the hallmarks of genocide," and expressing concerns over "high levels of hate speech and incitement to hostility, discrimination and violence, particularly on social media".

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Speaking at the UN's human rights council in Geneva, Yanghee Lee, the worldwide organisation's chief monitor on Burma, said that the near-monopoly enjoyed by the social media site within the country allows it to be used to persecute the Rohingya.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on Myanmar also said that the Rohingya crisis in the Rakhine State "bears the hallmarks of genocide". Because of that, it's been easy for ultra-nationalists to use the platform to stoke hatred against the Rohingya minority, who have been targeted by government forces, killed by the thousands and driven out of the country.

"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast", Lee told reporters.

The U.N. adviser on preventing genocide says all information he has received indicates the Myanmar government meant to cleanse Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine state and possibly even destroy them "which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide". At the end of February, Facebook removed the page of Myanmar monk Wirathu.

"If a person consistently shares content promoting hate, we may take a range of actions such as temporarily suspending their ability to post and ultimately, removal of their account", Facebook explained last month.

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