The Myanmar government has cut internet connections in the western parts of the country with a decree, and UN investigators are concerned that the move might be a government effort to cover abuses of human rights.
According to Deutsche Welle, United Nations special rapporteur Yanghee Lee warned that Myanmar’s military could be committing rights abuses under the cover of a mobile internet ban in Rakhine and Chin states.
Thousands of troop reinforcements have been deployed to the western region, where ethnic rebels are waging an insurgency for more state autonomy.
The internet blackout began on June 21 when the government ordered mobile providers to cut data services to nine townships.
“I fear for all civilians there,” Lee said in a statement, calling for the restrictions to be immediately lifted. “I am told that the Tatmadaw [Myanmar’s army] is now conducting a ‘clearance operation,’ which we all know by now can be a cover for committing gross human rights violations against the civilian population.”