Harriett Baldwin Summons Zimbabwean Ambassador to Foreign Office

Harriett Baldwin, the Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Minister of State for International Development, has summoned the Zimbabwean Ambassador to the UK to explain the recent unrest in the African country.

There have been fuel and food shortages in the country and a series of riots have taken place. Rumours have been circulating about the force being used by the police and the army, with the Internet being shut down by the Government.

Baldwin said in a statement:

“I have been following the events in Zimbabwe over the last week with growing concern. I summoned the Zimbabwean Ambassador to the United Kingdom to attend the Foreign Office on 17 January to discuss the situation. Since the weekend there has been widespread unrest and a heavy security force response, with several people killed and many injured.

While we condemn the violent behaviour of some protesters, and unlawful acts such as arson and looting, we are deeply concerned that Zimbabwe’s security forces have acted disproportionately in response. In particular, there are disturbing reports of use of live ammunition, intimidation and excessive force.

In addition, the Government of Zimbabwe shut off access to the internet on 15 and 16 January and continues to block a number of social media sites.

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. We further call on the Government of 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.”