torsdag 25. juni 2020

The country where hundreds of thousands of people haven't heard of Covid-19

Hundreds of thousands of people trapped near fierce fighting in Myanmar's far west may know nothing of Covid-19 thanks to a yearlong internet shutdown, according to rights groups. Last June, the Myanmar government, led by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, cut internet access to nine townships in the area due to concerns that it was being used to inflame clashes between the Myanmar military and insurgents.

One township its service restored in May, but eight others, with a total population of about 800,000 people, remain in an information blackout. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say the extended shutdown is putting lives at risk, not only because it's preventing people from reporting possible human rights abuses -- but because it has cut them off from public health campaigns about the coronavirus pandemic.

"With armed conflict between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army in Rakhine State amid a pandemic, it's critical for civilians to get the information needed to stay safe," Linda Lakhdhir, Asia legal adviser at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.