Friday, 3 December 2021
Nov 23 (Reuters) - A shadow government in Myanmar said it has raised $6.3 million on the opening day of its inaugural bonds sale, in its biggest move yet to generate funds for its "revolution" to topple the ruling military junta.
Myanmar has been in bloody turmoil since the military's Feb. 1 coup and movements that have sprang up to challenge the junta have been mainly supported by public donations.
The National Unity Government (NUG), an alliance of pro-democracy groups, ethnic minority armies and remnants of the ousted civilian government, said bonds went on sale on Monday to mainly Myanmar nationals overseas in denominations of $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000, with two-year tenures.
Even though the bonds will generate no interest income for buyers, $3 million worth were sold in the first three hours, the NUG said, increasing to $6.3 million by the end of the day. Its overall target is $1 billion.
"From this, I witness the enthusiasm of people in the case of uprooting the fascist military," NUG spokesman, Dr. Sasa, said on Facebook.
The junta has outlawed the NUG and designated it a "terrorist" movement.
The NUG has not disclosed how the funds would be used.
A spokesperson for the junta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Opposition groups have been trying to stifle the military's efforts to consolidate power by encouraging people not to pay taxes and to join protests, a civil disobedience campaign and boycotts of army-linked businesses and a national lottery.
Buyers of the bonds made payments via international transfers to an account in the Czech Republic, the NUG said.
A 27-year-old Myanmar citizen, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said she invested $500 in the bonds.
"We do not expect to get money back after two years. We are buying it because we want to contribute to the revolution," she said.
Thursday, 14 October 2021
Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Sept 23 (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge has ordered Facebook (FB.O) to release records of accounts connected to anti-Rohingya violence in Myanmar that the social media giant had shut down, rejecting its argument about protecting privacy as "rich with irony".
The judge in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday criticized Facebook for failing to hand over information to investigators seeking to prosecute the country for international crimes against the Muslim minority Rohingya, according to a copy of the ruling.
Facebook had refused to release the data, saying it would violate a U.S. law barring electronic communication services from disclosing users' communications.
But the judge said the posts, which were deleted, would not be covered under the law and not sharing the content would "compound the tragedy that has befallen the Rohingya".
"Facebook taking up the mantle of privacy rights is rich with irony. News sites have entire sections dedicated to Facebook's sordid history of privacy scandals," he wrote.
A spokesperson for Facebook said the company was reviewing the decision and that it had already made "voluntary, lawful disclosures" to another U.N. body, the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar's Rakhine state in August 2017 after a military crackdown that refugees said including mass killings and rape. Rights groups documented killings of civilians and burning of villages.
Myanmar authorities say they were battling an insurgency and deny carrying out systematic atrocities.
The crackdown by the army, during the rule of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government, did not generate much outcry in the Buddhist-majority nation, where the Rohingya are widely derided as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Gambia wants the data for a case against Myanmar it is pursuing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, accusing Myanmar of violating the 1948 U.N. Convention on Genocide.
In 2018, U.N. human rights investigators said Facebook had played a key role in spreading hate speech that fueled the violence.
A Reuters investigation that year found more than 1,000 examples of hate speech on Facebook, including calling Rohingya and other Muslims dogs, maggots and rapists, suggesting they be fed to pigs, and urging they be shot or exterminated.
Facebook said at the time it had been "too slow to prevent misinformation and hate" in Myanmar.
In Wednesday's ruling, U.S. magistrate judge Zia M. Faruqui said Facebook had taken a first step by deleting "the content that fueled a genocide" but had "stumbled" by not sharing it.
"A surgeon that excises a tumor does not merely throw it in the trash. She seeks a pathology report to identify the disease," he said.
"Locking away the requested content would be throwing away the opportunity to understand how disinformation begat genocide of the Rohingya and would foreclose a reckoning at the ICJ."
Shannon Raj Singh, human rights counsel at Twitter (TWTR.N), called the decision "momentous" and "one of the foremost examples of the relevance of social media to modern atrocity prevention & response".