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Rights body: Facebook allowing Myanmar military to recruit for and fund genocide

  • Published at 03:57 pm January 9th, 2021
Myanmar army- Rakhine
File photo: Myanmar army soldiers patrol a village in Maungdaw located in Rakhine State as security operation continue following the attacks by armed militants on October 21, 2016 AFP

'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'

After Facebook suspended US President Donald Trump for inciting violence, rights body Burma Campaign UK has repeated its call to Facebook to stop the Myanmar military using Facebook to recruit members.

The Burma Campaign UK also reiterated its call to stop the Myanmar military promoting its businesses on Facebook, profits from which help fund genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

"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." 

Burma Campaign UK works for human rights, democracy and development in Myanmar. Founded in 1991, Burma Campaign UK is one of the leading organizations in the world committed to a more just society in Myanmar.

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Facebook has faced severe criticism of its failure to tackle hate speech against the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar, and has taken down some military pages, including that of Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the military, it said.

Numerous official military Facebook pages still exist, including some with the official Facebook blue tick.

Burma Campaign UK has asked Facebook to ensure these pages are not used for recruitment, but no action has been taken.

The Myanmar military has significant economic interests in Burma, owning companies involved in a wide range of products including beer, mobile phone networks, tea, cement, and even ballrooms.

There are dozens of Facebook pages for these companies, promoting their products.

Facebook has not acted on Burma Campaign UK requests to remove these pages, despite a United Nations report detailing how military owned companies help fund violations of international law.

"Facebook appears to have double standards," said Farmaner bluntly. "If you incite violence in America you get banned from Facebook, but if you recruit people to commit violence in Burma you still get an official Facebook blue tick."

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