In Myanmar, "Facebook has now turned into a beast", United Nations investigators say


According to Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, social media had played a "determining role" in Myanmar. This content goes viral, normalizing hate speech and shaping public perception.

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.

Lee was speaking at the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority nation, in an attempt to escape the violence, murder, and rape reportedly being perpetrated by the country's military.

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.

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".

"The government leadership who did nothing to intervene, stop or condemn these acts must also be held accountable", she added.

Lee adds that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists also have their own Facebook accounts which incite "a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities".

The U.N. adviser on preventing genocide says all information he has received indicates the Myanmar government meant to cleanse Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine state and possibly even destroy them "which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide". "And I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, (instead of) what it was originally meant to be used (for) - maybe in other parts of the world too".

She called for the establishment of a United Nations structure, based in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, for a duration of three years to investigate, document, collect, consolidate, map, and analyse evidence of human rights violations and abuses.

Lee, who was banned from Myanmar a year ago after it claimed a previous report by her was biased and unfair, said she had seen evidence that Myanmar's military was continuing to target the Rohingya, razing their villages.

Though Facebook has yet to comment on UN's recent statement, the social media giant has previously admitted that it faces difficulty in tackling hate speech.