Bangladesh demands mobile operators cut access for Rohingya refugees


Mobile phone operators have been asked to stop providing services to Rohingya Muslims living in migrant camps in Bangladesh, officials said on Monday.

Nearly 750,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh after the army in Buddhist-majority Myanmar launched a crackdown in August 2017 in northern Rakhine state.

Human rights groups and the United States have accused Myanmar of attempted genocide.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Sunday asked the four main telecom operators to stop selling SIM cards to refugees, commission official Zakir Hossain Kahn said. The decision was taken for reasons of state security, law and order and public safety, he added.

"You are requested ... to ensure that the Rohingya community is not provided with mobile phone services," the official quoted the directive as saying.

The authorities asked the operators to report back in seven days about the measures they had taken.

A large number of mobile phones are being used in the refugee camps, which the regulator said flouting an existing law that requires a subscriber to submit a copy of his or her national identity card or passport before getting a SIM card.    (dpa)

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