Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded to the backlash over his comments about a 10-day meditation retreat in Myanmar, which has seen the country’s Rohingya Muslims suffering at the hands of its military.
Dorsey, 42, was called “tone deaf” over his praise of the country and its people, and the fact that he did not comment on the widely acknowledged human rights abuses impacting the Rohingya.
In a continuation of his original tweet thread regarding the trip, Dorsey clarified that the Myanmar trip was a personal one and that he only went there because the region maintains vipassana meditation, which he’s been practicing for two years, in its original form.
“I’m aware of the human rights atrocities and suffering in Myanmar. I don’t view visiting, practicing, or talking with the people, as [an] endorsement,” he said on Twitter. “I didn’t intend to diminish by not raising the issue but could have acknowledged that I don’t know enough and need to learn more.”
Dorsey also added that he had no conversations with government organizations or NGOs during the trip.
Since August 2017, an estimated 10,000 Rohingya are reported to have been murdered at the hands of the military, according to Doctors Without Borders. In addition, at least 750,000 people, according to Amnesty International, have been forced over the border to Bangladesh.
Dorsey also said that Twitter was “actively” working in Myanmar to ensure it was not used as a platform for “violent extremism and hateful conduct.”
“We know we can’t do this alone, and continue to welcome conversation with and help from civil society and NGOs within the region,” he said. “We’re always open to feedback on how to best improve.”
The chief executive, who is also the CEO of mobile payments company Square, had been taken to task after his original remarks.
“Absolutely astounded that you don’t seem to think the people on your feed merit a response in relation to your tone-deaf tweets,” one Twitter user wrote. “You think staying silent is going to make the outrage dissipate?!”
In June, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were sentenced to seven years behind bars for “breaching the country’s official secrets act” after being accused of obtaining classified documents. However, their trial was largely viewed as a sham by the international community.
Myanmar has consistently denied that its military has committed atrocities against the Rohingya, claiming it was only responding to attacks from militants. But United Nations officials and human rights groups have said that top Myanmar generals should face trial in an international court for genocide.