Blackbox Rakhine: Myanmar is on the Internet


Last weekend, Myanmar was the Internet. Almost a Million people have been trapped ever since in a crisis state of Rakhine in an information black box. Verena Hölzl from neighboring Bangladesh.

“I fear for all civilians in Rakhine state,” said Yanghee Lee, the human rights of the UN for Myanmar officers. You will have to learn that Myanmar’s military carries out a so-called security operation. “We all know by now, what can that mean,” she said.

The Myanmar government says, the caps, the connection to the Internet will serve to ensure peace and order. The Ministry of communications left open, how long the Blockade will last. A spokesman said, the Internet will be accessible again, “if peace and order in the Region will be restored”. The phone Calls and the Sending of voice messages are also possible.

2017 fled almost a Million Muslim Rohingya Bangladesh in a spectacular Exodus from the military from the crisis in Rakhine state to neighbouring. Previously, soldiers were stuck after an attack by insurgents Rohingya on security forces under the pretext of a “security operation” several hundred villages of the minority in a fire. There was rape and mass murder. The UN speaks of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

(Archive) the phone shop in Yangon

Buddhists in the visor

Meanwhile, the operations of the military objective of not only Muslim, but also to the Buddhist population. The Buddhist Rakhine in the West of the country, the majority, are in Myanmar itself, but, for decades, oppressed minority.

After an attack by insurgents Arakan Army (AA) on a police post in January, the Rakhines will find their recruits in the Buddhist population, has escalated the conflict with the military. According to the UN, at least 30,000 people were displaced. Amnesty International accused the military again, to commit war crimes in Rakhine state. Amnesty and other human rights groups that civilians are being arrested arbitrarily, tortured, and killed.

In part, people were rights violations on the account of the Arakan Army, which calls for more self-determination for the Rakhine state. The Rakhine feel from the Central government suppressed. The state is among the poorest in the country.

(Archive) Armed Buddhists in Myanmar

The Internet as a communication bridge

Since journalists and independent observers are not allowed to move for at least two years in the crisis region, the Internet was an important tool to learn what is happening in Rakhine state before. A lot of information came only through Facebook or Whatsapp to the outside world. This bridge of communication is cut off.

At a press conference, the military claimed to have no information about the Shutdown. The responsible Ministry of the government of Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains silent to allegations of human rights violations by the military are stoic, since their party has entered into a power deal with the generals.

The Norwegian telecommunications provider Telenor reported to the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and communications has instructed all providers, Internet services in nine districts in the conflict area temporarily. The Ministry had referred to the “disturbances of the peace in the Region” and Internet activities, which would be used “to coordinate illegal activities” in the Region “” it said further. Telenor, according to the Internet services last Friday.

(Archive) Facebook advertising in Myanmar

Four-steps strategy of the military

Rakhine state is similar to, in the meantime, for years, a black box, in which the military can do so at the expense of the civilian population seemingly unobserved, what it would like to. Aid organizations need to have access to the conflict area to fight with the authorities. Journalists are only selectively and in a guided press tours in the Region left.

For decades, the Burmese military is applying the “strategy of the four cuts”: The rebels are to be forced to its knees by being cut off from Information, recruits, food and communication.

“I’m so Worried, I fall to your knees in fear of my loved one in Rakhine state,” says Yasmin Ullah, a Rohingya living in Bangladesh-in-exile, on Facebook. “Now we will take away from them their votes, the last protection that you have.”