Facebook blocks accounts of Myanmar Armed Forces’ top leadership

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Yangon, Myanmar, Aug 27 (IANS) Facebook announced on Monday that it has blocked the accounts of the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces and others to prevent the spread of hate speech and fake news.

The United Nations on Monday recommended that Min Aung Hlaing and other members of the Myanmar military leadership, should face genocide charges for their campaign that has seen hundreds of thousands of mostly-Muslim Rohingyas flee to Bangladesh since last August, Efe news reported.

“Today, we are taking more action in Myanmar, removing a total of 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account and 52 Facebook Pages, followed by almost 12 million people. We are preserving data, including content, on the accounts and pages we have removed,” Facebook said in a statement.

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It pointed out that the UN investigative report had found evidence that “many of these individuals and organizations committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in the country.”

“We want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions,” added Facebook.

In addition to General Hlaing, the Myanmar military television network, Myawady, has also been blocked.

The UN-authorized Fact-Finding Mission, presented in Geneva on Monday, said that there were elements of intentional genocide in the military operation launched a year ago in the western state of Rakhine against the Rohingya minority.

The mission condemned the government of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, for not doing enough to stop the violence and recommended the establishment of an international tribunal to investigate and prosecute the alleged perpetrators belonging to the Armed Forces.

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It demanded the prosecution of General Hlaing, his second in command, Soe Win, and four other army officers.

The presentation of the report comes one year after rebel attacks on several security posts in Rakhine triggered a military retaliation by the Myanmar army and the subsequent exodus of 700,000 Rohingyas to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The Rohingyas are mostly Muslim minority ethnic group that Myanmar does not recognize as citizens, considering them illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and imposing many restrictions on them, including freedom of movement.

–IANS

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