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Rohingya Youth Take Complaint Against Facebook Over Human Rights Violations

On 9 December 2021 – the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide – a group of 16 Rohingya youth, students and advocates in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (a refugee camp in which approx 902,947 Rohingya people live after being displaced following persecution and violence in Myanmar) are submitting a complaint against Facebook to Ireland’s Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the grounds that the platform was used to incite violence against them and their community.

The remedy being sought is for Facebook to divest from a portion of its 2017 profits – certainly those made in Myanmar – and provide remediation for the Rohingya in the form of educational activities and facilities in Cox’s Bazar, so that Rohingya children and young people can look forward to a brighter future. Despite several attempts to engage Facebook on this matter, dating back to June 2020, the company refuses to confirm that it is willing to fund the educational project, and is not agreeing to meeting with leaders of the Rohingya community in Cox’s Bazaar.

Statement from the Rohingya individuals making the complaint:

“We are Rohingya young adults and parents of children living in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, without a proper education; without a proper life. We make this statement on behalf of ourselves, our families, and the half a million Rohingya children who do not have any access to formal education.

In recent months, we have become aware that Facebook knew that it was being used to incite violence against minorities like us, and that their systems were removing less than 1% of violent content. The UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights say that businesses that contribute to human rights violations must commit to providing victims with a remedy.

The remedy we would like is that Facebook use a portion of its profits earned in Myanmar in the months and years leading up to the genocide to provide a remedy to us, the Rohingya, in the form of educational activities and facilities within the refugee camp. In addition, we believe that Facebook should amend its Human Rights Policy to include the right to a remedy for communities, beyond content removal (such as financial compensation) where it contributes to human rights violations.”

For media enquiries and for interviews with members of the Rohingya in Cox’s Bazaar, please contact Rohingya lawyer and representative Clare Brown. Email: [email protected]. Phone/ WhatsApp: +961 818 25364