Despite UN and Western Diplomats Urged Myanmar Government For Internet Reopen, Police Prosecute A Protester Of Internet Shutdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Youth activists protesting on the beach in Sittway, Rakhine State capital, on June 21, 2020
AN. June 22, 2020
Myanmar police prosecuted a protester for annual shutdown of internet in Ramree township in Rakhine State.

Police officer Zaw Win filed illegal gathering against Myo Min Tun, an activist of Ramree CSO and communication coordinator of CSO network in Rakhien State yesterday. 

He and his colleagues held the holding-poster and stand-in protest in Ramree town yesterday and called for internet reopen in Rakhine and Chin states. 

The police argued the gathering was illegal and without permit. 

Myo Min Tun has to appear in the court in June 23. 

He said, “I want the government to reopen the internet because it effects on social, education, health, communication, and education sectors.”

He said the police might not be happy he posted the protest photos on the social media and filed charges against him.

Activists in Yangon and Sitttway defied the laws and held poster hanging protests, drama show protests, and sit-in-online protests yesterday. 

A poster was hanged on the public visible crossover bridge in downtown Yangon yesterday and wrote, “Is internet shutdown for cover up war crimes and murdering.”

Youths in Sittway staged a public drama protest on the beach where an authority was beating the activists for wearing protest T-shirts that asking to reopen internet services. 

One of the posters held poster expressed, “Democracy is dead.” 

Mobile internet service has been shut down in Rakhine and Chin states since last June. It is still blackout.

Ministry of Transportation and Communication’s spokesperson told the media the internet shutdown may resume in August or even delay further. 
Police charge protest leader in Ramree 

International diplomats from Canada, Czech Republic, Demark, European Union, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States issued the statement yesterday and urged to Myanmar government to reopen internet and reinstate several banned local news webpages. 

“Access to the Internet and media is vital for people to obtain and share information for their health, safety, and security, particularly as they approach the elections and face the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement said. 

UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asian also issued a statement and warned internet blackout is endangering the lives of vulnerable civilians facing Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, UN urged Myanmar government to end the internet shutdown. 

“If intention of internet shutdown was to increase security, it does not seem to have had that effect for civilian population,” said James Rodehaver, a senior human rights official in the South-East Asia Regional Office. 

Political parties, CSOs, and international Rakhine communities sent open letters to State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint on June 18 and urged the government leaders to reinstate internet services and local banned media in Rakhine and Chin states. 

One of the media briefing panelists, Kyaw San Hlaing and director of Peace and Development Initiative told the media yesterday, “Internet blackout is an intention of cover up the military human rights violations, war crimes, and crime against humanity in Rakhine and Chin states.”

UN Security Council meeting condemned increase of violence and civilian causalities in Rakhine and Chin states during the military operation and urged the government to resort peaceful solutions. 

Retired human rights expert Miss Yanghee Lee called investigation for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the military for killing civilians, arbitrary arrests, forced relocations, and arson.

But both the government and military do not seem to concern international and local community  call for an end of internet shutdown but continuing information blackout and increasing violence in western Myanmar.  


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