United Nations genocide adviser: Indications Myanmar cleansing Rohingyas

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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.

The three-member probe, which was established last March to investigate allegations of human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Myanmar's Rakhine, Shan, and Kachin States, has conducted hundreds of interviews with refugees in Bangladesh, Thailand, and Malaysia that yielded "hundreds of credible accounts of the most harrowing nature", Darusman told the Human Rights Council on Monday.

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

"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", Ms Lee said in Geneva yesterday, using the alternative name for Burma.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown on insurgents six months ago amid accounts of arson, murder and rape at the hands of soldiers and vigilante mobs in the mainly Buddhist country.

But it has drawn criticism for a take-off that has coincided with a rise in ethnically-charged hate speech and violence, particularly in Rakhine state.

When asked whether the platform was good or bad for the emerging democracy, United Nations special rapporteur Yanghee Lee told reporters it was both but had incited "a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities".

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"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended", she said.

In Myanmar, which is still effectively controlled by the military, Facebook is so prevalent that it essentially functions as the entire internet, and is the main source of information for citizens (a local digital marketing agency puts the share of the population on Facebook at about 20%).

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.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in November to begin repatriating Rohingya who volunteered to return to Rakhine, but the plan has stalled.

"Of course, there is always more we can do and we will continue to work with local experts to help keep our community safe", Budhraja said.

Sri Lanka's government spokesman Harindra B. Dassanayake commenting on the ban said, "These platforms are banned because they were spreading hate speeches and amplifying them", while adding that the government believes fake news of ethnically motivated attacks circulating on the network encouraged retaliatory violence.

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