As pandemic restricts travel and work, internet restrictions block Gulf migrant workers from contacting families

Author: Burhan Wazir, Coda Story, Published on: 30 March 2020

"Foreign workers in the Gulf can't call home during coronavirus crisis," 27 Mar 2020

Human rights groups are urging [Gulf] governments to ease [internet] restrictions... to allow low-income foreign workers to affordably connect with their families during the coronavirus pandemic...

Applications that use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, including WhatsApp and Skype, have long been restricted to varying degrees in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Oman...

the monthly fees of around $10 charged by [virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass VoIP restrictions] services prove prohibitive for many low-income workers...

Christen Dobson, [Senior Project Lead and Researcher, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre] said, “Technology and social media companies have a critical role to play in ensuring that our rights to access information, free expression, and privacy are respected and not restricted during this crisis.”

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