United Nations blames hate posts on Facebook for Rohingya crisis

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Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was last week stripped of a prestigious human rights award by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which accused her of doing little to halt the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee said the government used Facebook to disseminate information to the public. The fact-finding mission is investigating whether the violence in Myanmar falls under genocide.

A United Nations human rights envoy said last week that Myanmar is continuing its "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya with a "campaign of terror and forced starvation" in Rakhine state, six months after a military crackdown sparked a mass exodus of the Muslim minority. "As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", chairman of the fact-finding mission Marzuki Darusman was quoted as saying by the agency.

"The long-standing conflicts in Kachin and Shan states have recently intensified, leading to more reports of serious violations of worldwide human rights and humanitarian law committed in these areas by the security forces", it said.

The U.N. human rights chief said last week he strongly suspected acts of genocide had taken place.

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This "master database", she said, could then be used as the basis to put the "individuals who gave the orders and carried out violations against individuals and entire ethnic and religious groups" on trial in worldwide criminal courts or tribunals. Myanmar's national security adviser demanded "clear evidence".

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

UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee said that "everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", adding it has been used to spread hate speech.

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.

"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast", Lee told reporters. Beyond its global effort to bolster its content moderation by hiring more reviewers, it says it routinely removes hate speech content in the country, including Wirathu's account (although this only happened in late February), and that it has developed and promoted localized guidelines for using Facebook.