Several of the Rohingya groups within VAI’s membership- groups who were displaced by the anti-Rohingya violence in Myanmar and are now living in Bangladesh- have been petitioning Facebook to take a more active role in redressing the harm it has inflicted on their community. Facebook has admitted that its platform allowed hate speech to spread in Myanmar in 2017. The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar found that this directly linked to real-world violence to which Facebook’s response was inadequate.
For groups who have been displaced into refugee camps in Bangladesh, these apologies are insufficient. Many of the groups in VAI’s membership are youth or student groups, who are worried about their ability to obtain a quality equation, which may give them a chance of a better life. This is difficult while they are displaced.
The letter the groups initially wrote to Ms. Miranda Sissons, the Director of Human Rights at Facebook, and their follow-up statement after having a phone call with her, are included below. On that initial phone call, the groups requested Facebook to fund an education project in the refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. They followed up with a proposal, describing a one million dollar project which they asked Facebook to fund.
The proposal was accompanied by a letter written by 21 groups in the camp, in support of a proposal by a Bangladeshi academic institution to train a large number of Rohingya teachers on instructing children using the Myanmar curriculum and international materials. As stated by that letter, “Every community wants to educate its own children, and ours is no exception.”
The final letter included below is Facebook’s refusal of the proposal, from February 2021.
In April 2021, Facebook released its first corporate human rights policy The policy’s section on redress for human rights violations makes no mention of providing a recess for communities who have suffered from real-world violence, persecution or discrimination that was incited or allowed to spread on the Facebook platform.