FB played role in 2017 Myanmar violence: Rohingya rights groups

Dhaka, Aug 24 (IANS) Facebook continues to face flak for failing to prevent hate speech from spreading on its platform as four rights groups have claimed that the social networking giant played a role in the 2017 violence in Myanmar that forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas to seek refuge in Bangladesh.

The rights groups in a joint statement on Sunday demanded that Facebook help the Rohingya refugees to get justice.

Representatives of the Voice of Rohingya, Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights, Rohingya Youth for Legal Action, and Rohingya Women for Justice and Peace said they had a phone call with Facebook Director for Human Rights Miranda Sissons, and her colleague Alex Waraofka.

“We told her that we were forced to flee from Myanmar to Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh after the violence in Myanmar, which Facebook played a role in,” said the joint statement.

“Now, it is Facebook's duty to help us to get justice and, and to improve our lives in the camp,” it added.

During the phone call, the representatives of the rights groups asked Sissons to share the information Facebook has with international justice mechanisms, “because we had read that they had not done so.”

“Sissons informed us that Facebook is working with the independent investigative mechanism for Myanmar to identify the information that can be used in legal cases,” it added.

The rights groups requested that Facebook provide financial support for services and activities in the refugee camps such as arranging education and training for young people and the elders.

“Sissons told us that Facebook is doing a lot of work to counter violent hate speech. This work is important in Myanmar, especially in the lead up to elections (scheduled for November 8),” the statement said.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said last week that the international community must adapt its assistance to the critical needs of those displaced and the host communities supporting them.

UNHRC spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said the UN refugee agency and the Bangladesh government have individually registered over 860,000 Rohingya refugees in the Cox's Bazar settlements.

The country now hosts nine out of 10 Rohingya refugees registered in the Asia-Pacific region.



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