Human rights groups have called on the 3 Gulf states to lift the ban on free internet calls during the global pandemonium Corona virus so that the masses of migrants there can stay in touch.
French news agency AFP reports that Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have long blocked various voice and video calling applications, while protecting the state’s telecoms’ commercial interests.
In its statement, human rights groups said that the restriction caused severe difficulties for those living in those countries, especially the majority of immigrant workers and foreigners who want to speak with their families and communities abroad. ۔
It should be noted that in these 3 Gulf countries there are about 70 million immigrants, mostly from low-paid workers who are from Asia.
It should be noted here that during the global outbreak of the Corona virus, the UAE and Oman eased the ban on some calling apps, but on a temporary basis.
They have blocked applications that allow for Distance Learning such as Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Google Handouts and Zoom, plus Microsoft Teams and Zoom are also available in Qatar.
In addition, the state-of-the-art telecom companies in the UAE have introduced some new apps, which allow free voice and video calls to the UAE.
However, a joint statement by human rights watchdogs and 28 other civil society groups said that despite calls for continued policy changes among global pandemics, popular apps like WhatsApp, Skype and FaceTime are blocked.
“Refusing to allow the Gulf population access to these platforms is a serious threat to the people, as it prevents them from communicating abroad and the resources they need in this crisis situation,” he said.
It is important to note that despite its desire to become a major technology force, the United Arab Emirates imposed and upheld strict cybercrime laws, which civil society groups call high-level online restrictions and oversight.
In December, the US newspaper The New York Times accused the UAE Secret Service of using the new app to spy on consumers.