United Nations official says violence and torture continues on Rohingya

Mar 14, 2018, 05:44
United Nations official says violence and torture continues on Rohingya

Speaking at the UN's human rights council in Geneva, Yanghee Lee, the worldwide organisation's chief monitor on Burma, said that the near-monopoly enjoyed by the social media site within the country allows it to be used to persecute the Rohingya.

"As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", he said.

Social media has "substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict", Darusman told reporters on March 12. In the past, the company has said it's working to remove hate speech on Facebook in Myanmar and to remove users who share this kind of content consistently.

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

Buddhist mobs backed by Myanmar's armed forces have launched a campaign of terror against Muslim families living in Rakhine State, killing and raping members of the minority group and torching their houses, forcing hundreds of thousands of them to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

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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.

"There are accusations from the worldwide community - and we will have more of them - but we won't deny them; we will prove [them wrong] with our practical work", he said.

"We work with local communities and NGOs to increase awareness of our policies and reporting process, and are always looking for ways to improve people's experience on Facebook", the spokesperson said. The fact-finding mission is investigating whether the violence in Myanmar falls under genocide.

"The body of information and materials we are collecting is concrete and overwhelming", the experts of the Fact-Finding Mission said in their oral report.

"People died from gunshot wounds, often due to indiscriminate shooting at fleeing villagers", the report said. Some were burned alive in their homes - often the elderly, disabled and young children.

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Lee said investigators should be based out of Bangladesh and work for three years to "collect, consolidate, map, analyse and maintain evidence of human rights violations and abuses".

His remarks come a day after United Nations special rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee warned the violence against the Rohingya bears "the hallmarks of genocide".

Last July, it gave the example of policing use of the word "kalar", which it said could be used both innocuously and as a slur against Muslims.

"We've had trouble enforcing this policy correctly recently, mainly due to the challenges of understanding the context; after further examination, we've been able to get it right".

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