https://www.accessnow.org:443/keepiton-for-peace-and-democracy-in-sudan-yemen-and-tajikistan/
#KeepItOn Shutdown Stories

#KeepItOn for peace and democracy in Sudan, Yemen, and Tajikistan

Around the world, hundreds of millions of people are fighting for peace and democracy. In Sudan, Yemen, and Tajikistan, civilians are suffering brutal military attacks and violence perpetrated by government authorities. Many of them are desperately speaking out through protests, while struggling simply to survive. When authorities deliberately cut them off from the internet, they are cutting a lifeline to hope.

To help amplify their voices, we bring you their stories, and ask for your solidarity in the call to end authorities’ recklessness in disrupting the internet, especially during crises when blackouts can put people’s lives in danger. As we highlight in our most recent #KeepItOn annual report, the use of internet shutdowns during conflict and war means that people are disconnected when they most need a connection to stay safe.

Sudan: During a military coup in Sudan in 2021, authorities shut down the internet on two separate occasions, using network disruptions in an attempt to quell protests and hide atrocities.

Tajikistan: Similarly, after the killing of a local man spurred large protests in Khorog in the autonomous region of Gorno-Badakhshan in November 2021, authorities responded by cutting mobile internet connections. Heavy internet throttling and censorship are still in place today .

Yemen: Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen’s telecom infrastructure on January 21, 2022 plunged the whole country into digital darkness, with the exception of those in the region of Aden.

Please share the stories below to let more people hear the outcry and understand the devastating harm internet shutdowns bring to people fighting for peace.

Sudan

We cannot share with the media about the ongoing [violations, including killing youth protesters,] [perpetrated] by the Sudanese military council [against] those who went out to the streets to defend democracy [and to denounce] the brutal military coup. We need an international intervention ASAP.

I was affected gravely, [my] life was paralyzed and [was] completely disconnected [ from] what was happening in Sudan.

The government cut off the internet after the military turned against its partner in the transitional period, the civilian government. Millions of people took to the streets and were subjected to violations and violence. Tanks, police cars, and riots spread. It was a full-fledged armed military force firing bullets, which led to the fall of martyrs. Martyrs and hundreds injured, I escaped death after the bullet passed by my side and settled on a young man who was standing behind me and he died. How painful is life without the right of the internet.

I enrolled in a three-month [online] training course with one of the international media centers. Poor internet services, bad network, frequent internet outages, in addition to electricity cuts and the high cost of the internet made it difficult for me to actively participate in the training held via Zoom. This training was important to me because I was hoping to win the financial prize at the end of the course, which will have a significant impact on my financial independence to enable me to afford the necessities I needed. Unfortunately, this dream was crushed when authorities shut down the internet on 25 October.

Tajikistan

We were not able to work. We were not able to process staff payrolls [which resulted in non-payment of salaries]. I had to [temporarily relocate with my 1.5 years old child to Dushanbe which is about 600 km from Badakhshan in order to access the internet.] [This is so much inconvenience for me as I have left my older kids behind who need my care and support. With the internet shutdown still in place, I do not know when I will go back home to my family as work has to be done.] Everyone is very disappointed and frustrated [about the shutdown.]

Yemen

I [have faced] a lot of challenges due to the internet being off. I have lost a lot of money, among many other things.

Learn more

#KeepItOn is a global campaign that brings together more than 280 organizations from 105 countries around the world united to end internet shutdowns through grassroots advocacy, direct policymaker engagement, technical support, and legal intervention. You can help amplify the the voices from Sudan, Tajikistan, and Yemen to #KeepItOn — share this blog post on social media using the hashtag #KeepItOn and #InternetShutdown.

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