After UN report on Rohingya, Facebook bans leader of Myanmar's armed forces

A Rohingya woman at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh on Friday

A report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday is calling for the investigation and prosecution of Myanmar's military leaders for war crimes, including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing.

It said Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize victor, had failed to use her position to protect the country's civilian population.

Referring to Mrs Suu Kyi's culpability, the investigators state that "if the Nobel prize victor has such moral authority, perhaps she should act", but clarified that the biggest share of blame is placed on the military.

"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.

But the report said the crimes it documented were "shocking for the level of denial, normalcy and impunity that is attached to them".

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, the head of the mission, Marzuki Darusman, insisted that "the only way forward is to call for (Min Aung Hlaing's) resignation and stepping down immediately".

The U.N.'s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar released its report on Monday.

The investigators urged the U.N. Security Council, which will convene tomorrow, to refer Myanmar's top brass to the International Criminal Court.

A year-long fact-finding mission determined that six Tatmadaw military commanders - including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing - are responsible for leading a campaign of genocide and other war crimes against Rohingya Muslims in the country.

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Myanmar has vehemently denied allegations of ethnic cleansing, insisting it was responding to attacks by Rohingya rebels. The civilian government, the report said, failed to speak out against unfolding events, spread "false narratives, oversaw the destruction of evidence in Rakhine state and blocked independent investigations". Brig. Gen. Maung Maung, a military representative in Parliament, said the army doesn't have any comment on the United Nations report.

They included Brigadier-General Aung Aung, commander of the 33rd Light Infantry Division, which oversaw operations in the coastal village of Inn Din where 10 Rohingya captive boys and men were killed.

The U.N. panel, set up a year ago, interviewed 875 victims and witnesses in Bangladesh and other countries, and analyzed documents, videos, photographs and satellite images.

At a press conference, the mission said the actions in Myanmar account to the "gravest crimes under worldwide law", stating that "criminal prosecution is warranted", under the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. "And that is the role of the commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing". The U.S. already maintains restrictions on visas, arms sales and assistance to Myanmar's military.

As NPR's Colin Dwyer reported earlier this month, "The Trump administration's sanctions were quickly criticized for aiming at the middle tiers of Myanmar's security apparatus and leaving its highest rungs untouched".

"Almost all instances of sexual violence are attributable to the Tatmadaw [the Myanmar Armed Forces]", it said. In the same post, Facebook said the move was meant to prevent inflammatory posts from these accounts.

"We want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions", Facebook said in a post, noting that around 12 million have followed the pages.

The social media giant was previously accused by United Nations experts of helping incite violence in Myanmar and failing to take measures to stop the spread of hate and anti-Rohinyga propaganda on its platform.

"While we were too slow to act, we're now making progress", the company said.

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