More refugees are feared to leave the camp owing to the increasing restrictions imposed by the camp authorities.

The restrictions comprise mobile phone ban, barbed wire fence, relocation plan to floating islet, premature repatriation, ill-treatments, physical assaults for the slightest reason, restricted movement, punishment over suspicion and other harassment, according to observers, whereas the mobile phone ban tops the list nowadays.

In the first step, 3G and 4G internet was totally blocked and direct phone call was restricted to 59 seconds. Even the line was blocked if known that it was being used by a refugee.

Later on, it was announced that refugees are not allowed to use local network nor Myanmar network. On the other hand, locals were prohibited from selling SIM cards to refugees or helping them buy it. In result, many refugees were attacked and they had their mobile phones taken away or broken down.

Finally, since October 18, the CICs (Camp In-Charges) have been ordering the camp heads (majhis) to announce in the camps to hand over the SIM cards to the CICs that the refugees have registered while giving their bio-data and failure to comply will subject them to action against.

Yesterday camp police started raiding refugee shanties and conducting body searches. According to eye-witness and victims, refugee women were subjected to body searches by policewomen in Lamba Shiya camps 1 and 2.

Many SIM cards and mobile phones including smart devices were seized and taken away, as well as some computers from a training centre, and reportedly six men were arrested.

A refugee told RVision, β€œIt’s a deliberate mistreatment to indirectly force us to go back. Communication is one of the most fundamental need of the people today, especially in these overcrowded camps. When this right is being violated, we have to find a way out.”