World News

Facebook is being used to incite hatred in Myanmar, says the UN

Facebook is being used to incite hatred in Myanmar, says the UN

According to the Times, Marzuki Darusman, who oversees the human rights investigation into Myanmar for the United Nations, says "speech and incitement to violence on social media is rampant, particularly on Facebook", in the country.

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.

In the past, Al Jazeera had highlighted how Facebook was used to amplify hate speech against Rohingya Muslims, while previous year, Daily Beast reported that activists documenting the alleged ethnic cleansing in Myanmar were silenced by Facebook, as their postings were removed and their accounts suspended.

Just last week the Myanmar military released a lengthy denial stating that the Rohingya - who they refer to as "illegal Bengalis"- had burned down their own villages and that their own investigation had concluded "security personnel did not commit extrajudicial killings or sexually abuse and rape women". Heavy artillery was being used in the offensives, U.N. Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Myanmar's national security adviser, Thaung Tun, last week said his government did not support such atrocities."It is not the policy of the government, and this we can assure you", he said."Although there are accusations, we would like to have clear evidence".

The U.N. human rights chief said last week he strongly suspected acts of genocide had taken place.

More news: Star Lotulelei will sign with Buffalo Bills — NFL free agency

The evidence they had collected "points at human rights violations of the most serious kind, in all likelihood amounting to crimes under global law".

According to Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, social media had played a "determining role" in Myanmar. "As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", he said.

But it has drawn criticism for a take-off that has coincided with a rise in ethnically-charged hate speech and violence, particularly in Rakhine state. "And I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, (instead of) what it was originally meant to be used (for) - maybe in other parts of the world too".

In late January Facebook removed the page of popular anti-Rohingya monk Wirathu, and past year it regulated the use of the word "kalar" which is considered derogatory against Muslims.

"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".


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