UN investigators cite Facebook role in Myanmar crisis

UN investigator blames Facebook for spreading hate against Rohingyas

United Nations human rights experts blame Facebook for spreading hatred against Rohingya in Myanmar

A girl from the Pauktaw township stands in front of her family's shelter in a Rohingya internally displaced persons (IDP) camp outside Sittwe May 15, 2013.

The UN human rights chief said last week he strongly suspected there had been acts of genocide against the Rohingyas to which Myanmar's security adviser had called for "clear evidence". Since then, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority nation, in an attempt to escape the violence, murder, and rape reportedly being perpetrated by the country's military.

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

She said accountability for the abuses in Rakhine should be "the focus of the global community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar".

The Fact-Finding Mission said in an interim report presented in Geneva that "patterns of human rights abuse across the country are linked", with events in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states all "products of a longstanding, systemic pattern of human rights violation and abuse in Myanmar". "As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", Darusman said.

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

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".

Lee said that Facebook was used as the toll by the state government to disseminate information to the public.

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

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.

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