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United Nations mission blames Facebook for hate speech against Rohingyas

United Nations mission blames Facebook for hate speech against Rohingyas

United Nations investigators blamed Facebook for allowing the platform to be used as a vehicle to spread hate speech, which played a "determining role" in the persecution and potential genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, according to The Guardian.

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. The organisation also said the government in Myanmar tried to block efforts to carry out an independent investigation in the country.

"These operations resulted in a very high number of casualties", the report said.

Yanghee Lee, a UN Myanmar investigator, explained that Facebook played a part in the spread of hate speech in the country.

"The government leadership who did nothing to intervene, stop, or condemn these acts must also be held accountable", added Yee.

Lee told the Human Rights Council that violent sweeps by the Myanmar army in Rakhine state that prompted about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh "bear the hallmarks of genocide".

Those military operations were by almost all accounts disproportionate to the threat represented by ARSA's ragtag, lightly armed fighters.

The two countries reached a deal in November to begin repatriation within two months, but repatriation has not begun, with stateless Rohingya, who face restrictions on their movements in Myanmar, still crossing the border.

Burma's national security adviser, Thaung Tun, last week said his government did not support such atrocities.

"We are not denying rights violations but we are asking for strong, fact-based, and trustworthy evidence on the allegations they are making", Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay told the AP. "If [they provide it], we will investigate the charges and take action against people who have committed any crimes, but we don't want stories by refugees who were interviewed at camps".

Myanmar has verified only 374 Rohingyas from over 8,000 identified by Bangladesh for possible repatriation to their homeland in Rakhine state, the relief and refugee repatriation commissioner said on Wednesday. "That's why they can come back immediately if they want", U Myint Kyaing said.

Whatever the figure, pressure is rising on Myanmar's government to acknowledge the scale of the violence and accept accountability for the crimes.

Ten Rohingya Muslim men with their hands bound kneel in Inn Din village September 1, 2017.

At least four mosques that had not been wrecked by fire have been destroyed, or had their roofing or other materials removed, since late December, a time when significant conflict was not reported in the area, Amnesty said.

"Despite the numerous warnings I have made of the risk of atrocity crimes, the global community has buried its head in the sand".

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.


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