Myanmar Brushes Aside UN Reports On Human Rights Violations in Rakhine

A young woman looks at her Facebook wall while she travels on a bus in Yangon

United Nations officials say that social media has had a "determining role" in anti-Rohingya Muslim violence in Myanmar, which the organization itself has called "ethnic cleansing."

In addition the team has analysed satellite imagery, photographs and video footage taken within Myanmar. "As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", Reutersquoted him saying.

"We are not denying rights violations but we are asking for strong, fact-based, and trustworthy evidence for the allegations they are making", Zaw Htay said.

To date, more than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state into Bangladesh, with many refugees providing testimonies of executions and rapes by Myanmar's security forces. Some were burned alive in their homes - often the elderly, disabled and young children.

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.

Two reports to the United Nations have found that Myanmar has carried out extreme human rights violations against the Rohingya people, abuses that are most likely crimes under global law. "Others were hacked to death".

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Independent journalists have been barred from visiting the area, aside from rare government-escorted tours, and Myanmar has arrested two Reuters reporters for their detailed coverage documenting the killings.

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

Myanmar argues that its "clearance operation" is a counter-insurgency in response to deadly attacks by Rohingya militants, and last week demanded the United Nations provide "clear evidence" of atrocities against the Rohingya. Last year, medical humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières said that at least 6,700 Rohingya were slain in Rakhine by "the most conservative estimations".

"Whether or not we consider that the crimes committed amount to crimes against humanity or genocide, this should not delay our resolve to act and to act immediately".

Lee said the violence in Rakhine had eclipsed anything seen in recent years in Myanmar, where the government has also fought insurgents in Shan, Kayin and Kachin states. In the past, the company has said it's working to remove hate speech on Facebook in Myanmar and to remove users who share this kind of content consistently.

Lee said the platform had "turned into a beast". Because of that, it's been easy for ultra-nationalists to use the platform to stoke hatred against the Rohingya minority, who have been targeted by government forces, killed by the thousands and driven out of the country.

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