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

A young woman looks at her Facebook wall while she travels on a bus in Yangon

A young woman looks at her Facebook wall while she travels on a bus

Myanmar's government on Tuesday rejected two reports presented to the UN Human Rights Council that concluded it committed extreme human rights violations, probably amounting to crimes under global law, in its repression of several minority groups.

United Nations human rights officials have said it is likely that "crimes under worldwide law" have been committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar and called for a body to collect evidence that could be presented in global criminal courts.

U.N. Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee said Facebook was a huge part of public, civil and private life, and the government used it to disseminate information to the public.

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To date, more than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state into Bangladesh, with many refugees providing testimonies of executions and rapes by Myanmar's security forces.

Facebook's response: In a statement issued to the BBC, the social network says that there is "no place for hate speech" on its pages, adding that it takes the claims "incredibly seriously" and will "continue to work with local experts to help keep our community safe".

Myanmar's government has rejected two reports presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council that concluded it committed extreme human rights violations, probably amounting to crimes under global law, in its repression of several minority groups.

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"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", she said.

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

The UN has been denied access to Rahkine since late past year, so both Yee and the fact-finding mission have been forced to conduct their investigations in Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are now living in refugee camps.

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"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast", Lee told reporters. The quest for accountability "must be aimed at the individuals who gave the orders and carried out violations against individuals and entire ethnic and religious groups", Lee said. "The government leadership who did nothing to intervene, stop, or condemn these acts must also be held accountable". But she remains a heroine for most of her compatriots, who largely consider the Rohingya as unwanted illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Facebook did not immediately comment on the fresh charges.

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