18 January 2019

Zimbabwe: UK Condemns Killing of Protesters in Zimbabwe

Johannesburg — THE United Kingdom (UK) has summoned Zimbabwe's top envoy following the deadly demonstrations and subsequent human rights violations in the Southern African country.

Harriett Baldwin, Minister for Africa, confirmed she had taken Zimbabwean Ambassador, Rtd Col. Christian Katsande, to task after the security forces acted disproportionately to demonstrations.

She raised concern at the use of live ammunition, intimidation and excessive force.

Several civilians have been killed during the crisis.

"We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure its security forces act professionally, proportionately and at all times with respect for human life and constitutional rights," Baldwin said.

She called on Zimbabwe to investigate all allegations of human rights abuses.

"We also urge the reinstatement of full internet access, consistent with citizens' constitutional right to freedom of expression," Baldwin added.

Zimbabwe shut off access to the internet on Tuesday and Wednesday January and continued to block a number of social media sites.

A fuel increase of 150 percent to more than US$3 per litre (R41,22) sparked the protests by a public already suffering dire economic hardships.

Relations between Zimbabwe and its former colonial master have been strained over the past two decades over human rights violations and electoral fraud during the reign of Robert Mugabe, deposed in 2017 after a military coup.

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