Facebook had a 'role' in Rohingya genocide

Rohingya Muslim refugees children queue for aid suplies at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar

Dhaka - The UN's top official on preventing genocide said Tuesday efforts were made to "cleanse" the Rohingya and that returning the persecuted Muslim minority to Myanmar risked further atrocities against them.

Adama Dieng recently visited Bangladesh to assess the situation of the Rohingyas and said Tuesday that what he heard and witnessed "is a human tragedy with the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the worldwide community".

She said accountability for the abuses in Rakhine should be "the focus of the worldwide community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar".

Over 671,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority have fled Myanmar's western Rakhine state for neighboring Bangladesh since August 25, many bearing tales of atrocities committed by Myanmar's military, including executions, gang rapes, and the razing of homes and villages. Many have provided harrowing testimonies of executions and rapes by Myanmar security forces.

"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended", said United Nations investigator Yanghee Lee.

"We know that the ultranationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and really (are) inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities", Lee said.

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, presented a 30-page report on the situation of human rights in the country on Monday (12 March).

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"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended", she added. "Hate speech and incitement to violence on social media is rampant, particularly on Facebook".

The most prominent of Myanmar's hard-line nationalist monks, Wirathu, emerged from a one-year preaching ban on Saturday and said his anti-Muslim rhetoric had nothing to do with violence in Rakhine state.

Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission in Myanmar told reporters that social media had a "determining role" in spreading hate speech in the country, according to Reuters.

"There is no place for hate speech or content that promotes violence on Facebook, and we work hard to keep it off our platform".

"We take this incredibly seriously and have worked with experts in Myanmar for several years to develop safety resources and counter-speech campaigns", a Facebook spokesperson told the BBC.

"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.

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