Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

United Nations investigators cite Facebook role in Myanmar crisis

United Nations investigators cite Facebook role in Myanmar crisis

"It has ... substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, if you will, within the public".

Lee, who was informed late a year ago that her access to the country was denied, also expressed serious concern that "the repressive practices of previous military governments were returning as the norm once more" in Myanmar, describing the situation faced by civil society across the country as "increasingly perilous". This content goes viral, normalizing hate speech and shaping public perception.

The U.N. Human Rights Council heard both reports on Monday: one from the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, and another from Yanghee Lee, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar.

"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.

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"The external review should assess whether the United Nations and global community could have prevented or managed the situation differently that occurred regarding the Rohingya and in Rakhine state, and make recommendations for accountability if appropriate", she said. "As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", he said.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August, crossing into Bangladesh with stories of murder, rape and arson at the hands of soldiers and Buddhist mobs in Rakhine state.

"The body of information and materials we are collecting is concrete and overwhelming", Marzuki Darusman, former Indonesian Attorney-General and chair of the Fact-Finding Mission said when delivering the group's interim oral report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Lee called for a thorough, impartial and credible investigation to be conducted without delay and perpetrators to be held responsible for the alleged crimes that were committed in Rakhine state since 9 October 2016 and 25 August 2017, and for the violations that continue today.

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Wirathu, a prominent face of Myanmar's Buddhist ultra-nationalist movement, had amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on the network, using it as a platform to attack Muslims, singling out the stateless Rohingya minority.

No social media service has more reach in Myanmar than Facebook, where nationalist hard-liners have been able to gather substantial followers by fanning the flames of anti-Muslim sentiment.

"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended", she warned. During a press conference in Dhaka on Tuesday, he called on neighboring powers China and India to "show not only political or economic leadership" but also "moral leadership".

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