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'Facebook had role in violence in Myanmar forcing Rohingyas to flee'

  • Published at 05:06 pm August 23rd, 2020
Nearly a million Rohingyas crossed over to Bangladesh after insurgent attacks on Myanmar security forces in August 2017 triggered a sweeping military crackdown throughout Rakhine State in Myanmar Mahmud Hasan Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Facebook’s director for human rights says the online social media platform is working with independent investigative mechanism for Myanmar to identify the information that can be used in legal cases

Facebook played a role in the violence in Myanmar that forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas to flee their homes to Bangladesh, four groups of the persecuted people have claimed, stressing that it is now the responsibility of the online social media platform to help them get justice.

On Thursday, representatives of the Voice of Rohingya (VOR), Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH), Rohingya Youth for Legal Action (RYLA), and Rohingya Women for Justice and Peace had a call with Facebook Director for Human Rights Miranda Sissons, and her colleague Alex Waraofka.

“In our call, 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. Now, it is Facebook’s responsibility to help us get justice, and to improve our lives in the camps,” said a joint statement, signed by the representatives of the four Rohingya groups.

Md Matin, an official of AARSPH, confirmed the telephone call and the content of the joint statement posted on the organization’s Facebook page.  

“We asked her [Sissons] to share the information Facebook has with international justice mechanisms, because we had read that they had not done so,” said the statement.

Also Read- Rohingya Repatriation: Dhaka for involving youths globally to mobilize opinion on accountability, justice

“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. The mechanism will then share it with the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and the lawyers taking the case in Argentina,” it said.

“We are happy to hear this and request that we are informed when it has been shared,” the statement added.

The Rohingya groups requested for financial support for services and activities in the refugee camps, in cooperation with the Bangladesh government, specifically in 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. 

“We hope Facebook will continue to reach out to us to keep us informed and updated on what they are doing to ensure the vents of 2017 never happen again,” the statement said.

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