Myanmar forces construct military bases in Rohingya villages

Myanmar forces construct military bases in Rohingya villages

A U.N. fact-finding mission has highlighted the role of social media networks, and Facebook in particular, in fueling hate speech against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, telling the U.N. Human Rights Council this week that "incitement to violence" is "rampant" and "unchecked".

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

"The body of information and materials we are collecting is concrete and overwhelming", Marzuki Darusman, former Indonesian Attorney-General and chair of the Fact-Finding Mission said when delivering the group's interim oral report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Crimes verging on genocide were being committed against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, and those crimes bore "the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the global community", the United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide said on Tuesday.

Calls have been mounting for the creation of a UN-backed investigation to prepare criminal indictments over atrocities committed in Myanmar.

One of the team probing possible acts of genocide said Facebook had "turned into a beast".

UN Fact Finders Say Facebook Played a 'Determining' Role in Violence Against the Rohingya

Myanmar argues that its "clearance operation" is a counter-insurgency in response to deadly attacks by Rohingya militants, and last week demanded the United Nations provide "clear evidence" of atrocities against the Rohingya. "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 hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities".

UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee credited Facebook with helping the predominately Buddhist country of Myanmar to communicate. Hate speech is certainly of course a part of that.

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.

Facebook also came under scrutiny for the role its platform played in spreading hate speech, Reuters reports. "We are ready to take action, where there is the evidence", he said.

"We take this incredibly seriously and have worked with experts in Myanmar for several years to develop safety resources and counter-speech campaigns", a Facebook spokeswoman told the BBC.

"Learning from experts on-the-ground, we will continue to refine the way in which we implement and promote awareness of our policies to ensure that our community is safe, especially people who may be vulnerable or under attack".

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