World’s longest internet shutdown ends in parts of Myanmar

YANGON: The world’s longest internet shutdown – affecting greater than one million individuals for 19 months in one of Myanmar’s ethnic battle zones – has come to an finish, in accordance with a cell operator based mostly in the area.

The internet in parts of Myanmar’s troubled northern states of Rakhine and Chin was suspended in June 2019 following “emergency” orders issued by the telecoms division below Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian authorities.

Following Monday’s military coup, cell operator Telenor Group confirmed it had reinstated full providers in eight townships in Rakhine and Chin states on Wednesday.

“Telenor Group and Telenor Myanmar have been advocating for the restoration of services and emphasised that freedom of expression through access to telecoms services should be maintained for humanitarian purposes,” the corporate mentioned in a press release.

On Wednesday, affected residents celebrated being reconnected to the broader world.

Khin Maung from Mrauk-U township in northern Rakhine mentioned the internet connection was again, however sluggish.

“Now we got the internet back. So we know about the coup as well,” mentioned Shouban in Maungdaw, who like many from the Rohingya ethnic group goes by one identify.

Human Rights Watch mentioned the internet restrictions had curtailed consciousness about coronavirus well being dangers and information about hygiene measures final yr.

The battle in Rakhine state between the Myanmar navy and the Arakan Army, a militant group agitating for extra autonomy for ethnic Rakhine individuals, has left lots of useless or injured.

Fighting spilled over into neighbouring Chin state, forcing hundreds of ethnic Chin, who’re predominantly Christian, out of their villages and into non permanent camps.

The area has additionally been beset by what the United Nations has mentioned may very well be genocide, after a brutal navy crackdown by the federal government which despatched about 740,000 Rohingya fleeing for neighbouring Bangladesh.

The 600,000 remaining Rohingya reside below apartheid-like circumstances.

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