Amnesty International and 49 other human rights organisations on Thursday urged the government to lift the ongoing mobile internet restrictions in the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.
They, in a letter to prime minister Sheikh Hasina, also urged the government to halt the construction of the barbed wire fencing around the camps.
We consider these measures a threat to the safety and well-being of the refugees as well as Bangladesh’s host communities and aid workers in the light of the growing threats of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release issued by South Asia Researcher Sultan Mohammed Zakaria of Amnesty International.
‘Unrestricted access to information via mobile and internet is crucial for slowing down the transmission of the disease as well as saving the lives of refugees, humanitarian workers, and the general population of Bangladesh,’ he said.
Lifting the restrictions would enable the community health workers to quickly share and receive the most reliable and up-to-date guidelines during this evolving pandemic, and it would also help all to work in coordination with the community leaders, added the release.
The Amnesty International noted that by constructing barbed-wire fencing to confine the Rohingyas, Bangladesh risked mirroring the behaviour of Myanmar authorities, who presently kept in confinement more than 1,25,000 Rohingyas in more than 20 internment camps in five townships of Rakhine State.