United Nations says Facebook has 'turned into a beast' in violence-plagued Myanmar

UN Fact Finders Say Facebook Played a 'Determining' Role in Violence Against the Rohingya
UN officials point finger at Myanmar for 'crimes under international law'

14 March, 2018

The mission found that so-called "clearance operations" by Myanmar security forces had driven almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh since August - and that many Rohingya were killed in such operations: "People died from gunshot wounds, often due to indiscriminate shooting at fleeing villagers".

The report was based on information gathered from a series of missions to Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand, where teams of investigators conducted over 600 in-depth interviews with victims and witnesses of reported human rights violations and abuses.

In response to a question last month about the most prominent of Myanmar's hardline nationalist monks, Wirathu, whose one-year preaching ban has recently expired, Facebook said it suspends and removes anyone who "consistently shares content promoting hate".

"People died from gunshot wounds, often due to indiscriminate shooting at fleeing villagers", the report said.

THE widespread and systematic nature of the State-led violence against Rohingya Muslims in Burma (Myanmar) "points to prior planning and organisation", according to a new report released Monday by the UN Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar.

Facebook is a major news source for people in Myanmar, where it has been used as a platform to stir up public outrage against the Rohingya.

Lee said the platform had "turned into a beast".

"It points at human rights violations of the most serious kind, in all likelihood amounting to crimes under worldwide law".

The report expressed concern over a spike in reported human rights violations in the region that have resulted in significant displacement of population, further exacerbating a "longstanding humanitarian crisis".

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Myanmar's envoy Htin Lynn rejected Lee's remarks and called for the council to fire her.

Zaw Htay went on to say that the genocide and ethnic cleansing accusations that Lee and the fact-finding commission have raised could serve as fodder for ARSA members based just over the border in Bangladesh to incite further terrorist attacks.

However, Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has vehemently denied USA and United Nations allegations of ethnic cleansing, insisting it was responding to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army in late August.

Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been the target of global vitriol for a perceived failure to stand up for the stateless minority.

"They were created by terrorists and their incitements of terrorism", he said.

In a statement on Tuesday, Dieng recalled his visit between March 7 and March 13 to Bangladesh to assess the situation of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

"Whether or not we consider that the crimes committed amount to crimes against humanity or genocide, this should not delay our resolve to act and to act immediately".

Though refugee processing centers have been built in Rakhine, the repatriation program has yet to begin, with the Myanmar and Bangladeshi sides blaming each other for delays.

Reported by Khin Khin Ei for RFA's Myanmar Service. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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