Bangladesh has decided to lift restriction on 3G/4G mobile network in the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar, which will be effective soon, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has said.
"Responding to requests for greater internet connectivity, we’ve taken a decision on lifting of restriction on 3G/4G mobile network," he said Monday.
While addressing a Webinar highlighting Bangladesh’s approach towards hosting Rohingyas, he said the internet is not a suitable medium for targeted authentic instant community messaging.
"We’ve many examples of inappropriate usage of social media. Baseless rumours and misinformation can create panic and destabilise the camps," the foreign secretary said.
He said the involvement of Rohingyas in various crimes such as human trafficking, drug, murder, abduction for ransom, sex trade, rape, thefts and robbery are higher than the host communities.
The radicalisation of youth cannot be ruled out altogether in a situation of despair and hopelessness, Foreign Secretary Masud said.
Barbed-wire fence for security
In recent times, quite a few Rohingyas died in "internal" clashes. The Foreign Secretary noted that Rohingyas have traditionally been used as carriers of methamphetamine, popularly known as Yaba.
"Despite all efforts, Yaba is being smuggled to other parts of Bangladesh. Criminal activities tended to increase at nighttime and these insecurities are spreading beyond the camps," he said.
As such, Bangladesh had no option but to consider putting up a barbed-wire security fence around the camps to curb criminal activities in the area, said the Foreign Secretary.
These are not meant to isolate them, but for their good and security of locals, he said adding that access to humanitarian actors remains unhindered.
On September 9 last year, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission directed all telecommunication operators to shut down 3G and 4G services in the camps, according to Human Rights Watch.
The network shutdown imposed on camp locations in Teknaf and Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar severely limits communications and access to information for nearly one million Rohingyas.