DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s government has restored the high-speed mobile network and internet for the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

The 3G and 4G mobile networks and internet were restored on Friday amid repeated calls from UN agencies and rights groups to uphold the basic rights of the persecuted Rohingya, about 1 million of whom fled to southeastern Bangladesh after a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar’s military.

Following inter-ministerial meetings, Bangladesh’s government took the decision to restore the mobile network about a year after its suspension.

A task force formed by the government Wednesday sent a letter to the Post and Telecommunication Ministry, restoring the services, officials said.

“Following the government decision, the 3G and 4G mobile network and the internet have been restored today,” Md. Mahbub Alam Talukder, Bangladesh’s refugee relief and repatriation commissioner (RRRC), told Anadolu Agency.

“Various mobile network service companies have already started providing high-speed mobile and internet services.”

Restoration of the service is important for better services to the Rohingya people amid the pandemic, said the commissioner.

Earlier, he had urged the government to provide digital communications services to the 1.2 million displaced Rohingya Muslims in Cox’s Bazar.

In September 2019 Bangladesh imposed a ban on the use of cellphone SIM cards and the internet by Rohingya refugees on security grounds. Since then, rights groups, UN agencies, and Rohingya refugees repeatedly asked for the restoration. Some Rohingya, however, continued to use mobile SIM cards in secret.

– COVID-19 cases in refugee camps top 100

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in Rohingya refugee camps topped the 100 mark with six new infections in the past 24 hours, according to an official update released Friday.

Another 47 people died from the lethal virus in the last 24 hours in Bangladesh, raising the total casualties to 4,174. Some 2,211 new infections were recorded in the past day, bringing the total number of infections to 306,794, according to the South Asian country’s health ministry.

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