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The New Arab Staff

Rohingya rights group urges Facebook to suspend Myanmar military's online campaigns

Burma Campaign requested that Facebook suspends accounts of businesses linked to Burma's military [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 January, 2021

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Burma Campaign UK questioned Facebook’s decision to suspend Donald Trump’s account for inciting violence while continuing to allow the Burmese military to promote recruitment on the platform.
A Rohingya rights group has called on Facebook to suspend Burmese military accounts which promote recruitment and those of companies with ties to the army, Anadolu Agency report.

"Donald Trump has been suspended for inciting violence, but the Burmese military commit violence against civilians every day and are free to use Facebook to recruit soldiers to commit that violence", said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK.

"Military owned companies are allowed to use Facebook to promote products, the profits from which fund the military and help fund violations of international law, including genocide of the Rohingya," he added.

While the social media giant has removed some pages of the Burmese military, including that of army chief Min Aung Hlaing, official accounts still exist.

Burma Campaign's request for the removal of accounts that encourage army recruitment have received no response, the rights group said.

Facebook has also come under fire for failing to tackle hate speech against Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Burma.

Burma Campaign's request for accounts advertising goods and services offered by those businesses have also been turned down, the rights group said.

A 2019 UN report exposed how businesses with connections to the military funded human rights abuses, urging an embargo on arms sales to Myanmar.

Business revenue strengthens the army's "autonomy from civilian oversights and provides financial support for Tatmadaw's (Myanmar's army) operations with their wide array of international human rights and humanitarian law abuses", said Marzuki Darusman, the lawyer at the helm of the UN's fact-finding mission.

The military's economic interests extend to companies involved in selling beer, mobile phone networks, tea and cement.

Over 750,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar's border with Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape a bloody military crackdown launched against the minority, amid accusation that security forces committed mass rapes and killings and burned thousands of homes.

Read also: Bangladesh moves more Rohingya to controversial island

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