Facebook bans Myanmar army pages after UN probe calls for 'genocide' prosecution

Facebook bans Myanmar army pages after UN probe calls for 'genocide' prosecution
Facebook has reacted quickly to a UN investigation which found that Myanmar's top military generals must be investigated for alleged genocide, by banning and removing pages related to the military.
2 min read
27 August, 2018
Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled over the border to Bangladesh [LightRocket]
Facebook banned Myanmar's army chief and removed other pages tied to the country's military on Monday after a UN probe called for the army leader to be prosecuted for genocide over a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.

"We are banning 20 Burmese individuals and organisations from Facebook - including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces," the social media giant said in a statement on its site.

It added that it wants to prevent them from using the service to "further inflame ethnic and religious tensions".

An investigation carried out by the UN called on Monday for an international probe and prosecution of senior figures in Myanmar's army for genocide against the country's Rohingya minority.

"Myanmar's top military generals, including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, must be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in the north of Rakhine State, as well as for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States," a UN-backed fact-finding mission said.

Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled over the border to Bangladesh, since last August, to escape a bloody military crackdown that has left a trail of torched villages in its wake as refugees allege murder and rape by Myanmar's armed forces.

Myanmar's security forces have been accused of rape, killing, torture and the burning of Rohingya homes. The UN and the US have described the army crackdown as "ethnic cleansing".

The government has denied the accusations, instead blaming the violence on Rohingya insurgents alleging they attacked security posts triggering reprisals. It is the latest exodus of the population that has long been denied citizenship and other basic rights.

But in Monday's report, the UN mission insisted the army tactics had been "consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats."

"The crimes in Rakhine State, and the manner in which they were perpetrated, are similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocidal intent to be established in other contexts," the report said.

The investigators called on the UN Security Council to refer the Myanmar situation to the International Criminal Court, or for an ad hoc international criminal tribunal to be created.

They also recommended an arms embargo and "targeted individual sanctions against those who appear to be most responsible."