Aust 'weak' on Myanmar atrocities at UN

UN Fact Finders Say Facebook Played a 'Determining' Role in Violence Against the 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. Investigators also analyzed satellite imagery, photos and video footage.

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee (R) gives her report next to the Chairperson of the Fact-Finding Mission on MyanmSpecial Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee (R) gives her report next to the Chairperson of the Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar Marzuki Darusman, during the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 12, 2018.

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

The report expressed concern over a spike in reported human rights violations in the region that have resulted in significant displacement of population, further exacerbating a "longstanding humanitarian crisis".

More than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state into Bangladesh since insurgent attacks sparked a security crackdown last August. Some were burned alive in their homes - often the elderly, disabled and young children.

Refugees and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, have accused the military of carrying out executions, rapes and the burning and bulldozing of hundreds of villages. "Others were hacked to death".

But Myanmar's government rejected the legitimacy of the reports.

While Lee expressed hope that de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi would eventually put a stop to the campaign of violence, she also said the government leadership who did not intervene must also be held accountable.

He said: "What I have heard and witnessed in Cox's Bazaar is a human tragedy with the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the worldwide community".

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

In response to the United Nations criticism, a Facebook spokesperson on Tuesday defended the site's anti-hate speech strategy and said it had invested significantly in technology and local language expertise in Myanmar. "Hate speech and incitement to violence on social media is rampant, particularly on Facebook".

"Neither the fact-finding mission nor Yanghee Lee are impartial", he said.

She said accountability for the abuses in Rakhine should be "the focus of the global community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar". "It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists ... are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of..."

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