United Nations investigators cite Facebook role in Myanmar crisis


Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar said that social media, particularly Facebook, had played a "determining role" in Myanmar.

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

Almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown on insurgents six months ago that the U.S. and United Nations have called ethnic cleansing.

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 special rapporteur said she hoped to make official visits to India and China as part of her preparation to report to the General Assembly later this year, and said she remained hopeful the Myanmar government would revisit its decision and grant her access.

A top United Nations rights expert on Monday had warned that the crackdown on Myanmar's Rohingya minority bore "the hallmarks of genocide" and insisted the government should be held accountable.

The three-member probe, which was established last March to investigate allegations of human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Myanmar's Rakhine, Shan, and Kachin States, has conducted hundreds of interviews with refugees in Bangladesh, Thailand, and Malaysia that yielded "hundreds of credible accounts of the most harrowing nature", Darusman told the Human Rights Council on Monday.

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The UN also voiced "strong suspicions" that Myanmar's ethnic Rohingya might be the victims of "genocide" and continued "ethnic cleansing".

Similarly, UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee said Facebook's role in disseminating information to the public plays a huge part of the public's life, which has affected their views on the genocide that is taking place. "I am becoming more convinced that crimes committed".

"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", The Guardianquotedher as saying.

"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended", she said.

This "master database", she said, could then be used as the basis to put the "individuals who gave the orders and carried out violations against individuals and entire ethnic and religious groups" on trial in worldwide criminal courts or tribunals. "The government leadership who did nothing to intervene, stop, or condemn these acts must also be held accountable".

"I have a little bit of hope" for Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize victor, to stop these violations after failing such a long time to do so, she added. But she remains a heroine for most of her compatriots, who largely consider the Rohingya as unwanted illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Though Facebook has yet to comment on UN's recent statement, the social media giant has previously admitted that it faces difficulty in tackling hate speech.


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