Digital Hate is an ongoing series by Burma Human Rights Network that will regularly publish information regarding the spread of hate speech inside of Burma and the risks of escalating tensions and violence that could occur as a result. Issues will be released as relevant topics emerge, rather than monthly, to ensure that the information contained in the issue is pertinent and current.
BHRN has tried best the nearest translation of the original Facebook post from Burmese to English and apology in advance if there is any shortcoming.
The information compiled in this report is based upon the monitoring of hundreds of social media accounts and thousands of posts. The information presented in this report highlights the most prominent figures among those posting hate speech on social media. The information compiled is from December of 2019 to February of 2020. The staff who compiled this information live inside of Burma and are native Burmese speakers. Any interviews conducted in relation to this report were done in Burmese by native Burmese speakers living inside of Burma.
This first issue of Digital Hate focuses on hate speech around the International Court of Justice’s ruling to allow provisional measures against Burma to protect the ethnic Rohingya while the court investigates Burma for genocide against them. Burma was ordered to submit a review on 23rd May of measures they’ve taken to demonstrate to the court that they have complied with the ruling. Burma Human Rights Network has documented several of Burma’s failings to do so since the order was issued and it appears possible Burma will not submit any documents demonstrating compliance.
Since a lawsuit against Burma was submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), there have been increased attacks against the case on several social media platforms, including Facebook and VK (A Russian based social media). Most of the comments in the social media posts about the issue suggest that the lawsuit was unjustly submitted to the ICJ through collusion between the court and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
There have been several posts by pro-nationalists that appeared on Facebook and VK against the West African State of The Gambia which filed the lawsuit against Burma in the ICJ. The posts also criticised political activists and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) which support the lawsuit, calling them traitors.
In an address to the nation on 18 December last year, the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi shared her experience of representing the country at the ICJ. She said the accusations made in the lawsuit by The Gambia were based on the report of the International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM). She said Burma did not recognise the FFM from the time it was established by the United Nations Human Rights Council. She said, “If the people of Myanmar stand together with us it would be an invaluable strength for us”. This message amounts to advocating for public opposition to the case.