Internet Cuts, Curfews, and Landgrabs Continue
As fighting has increased between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army in Arakan State, thousands of displaced civilians have fled into neighboring Chin State and are now living in camps there, with little access to outside help. In some cases, the Burma Army has explicitly forbidden any aid being sent to the camps.
On 21 June 2019, the Burmese government cut internet to parts of Chin and Arakan states, sending those affected into an information blackout. The Burmese military excused the blackout as a tool to impair communication within and between the Ethnic Armed Organizations. However, human rights organizations have labeled the shutdown an indirect attack on civilians, as access to information during conflict can be lifesaving. Moreover, the shutdown has severely limited humanitarian efforts in the area.
On 9 Nov. 2019, a two month long curfew was imposed in Paletwa Township, in southern Chin State. The curfew was announced to be from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and also banned demonstrations and campaigning by locals and gathering in groups of more than five people.
The curfew came in retaliation for the Arakan Army capturing 10 people on Nov. 3, including five Indian nationals and one Chin State MP. On Nov. 4, the Arakan Army released everyone except the MP; one other man died from exhaustion after he was taken by the group.
Aside from the fighting, locals in Chin State continue to struggle with having their land seized by the government