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.”

Government Issues Statement on Elections in Zimbabwe

Jeremy Hunt

The European Union Delegation, the Heads of Mission of EU Member States present in Harare (France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) and the Heads of Mission of Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America have joined together to issue a statement on the elections in Zimbabwe.

The text reads:

“The Heads of Mission of the EU, Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America note with grave concern the eruption of violence and occurrence of serious human rights violations following the peaceful election on 30 July 2018. These tragic events stand in sharp contrast to the high hopes and expectations for a peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible election in Zimbabwe.

The Heads of Mission express their condolences to the families of the victims.

The Heads of Mission condemn the violence, attacks, and acts of intimidation targeted at opposition leaders and supporters. These human rights violations have no place in a democratic society and contravene the fundamental tenets of international human rights standards.

The Heads of Mission urge the government to respect the rights of the Zimbabwean people as enshrined in the Constitution. All allegations of incitement to violence or violent acts, as well as vandalism and destruction of property, should be investigated in accordance with the rule of law, and perpetrators held legally responsible.

The Heads of Mission welcome the President’s commitment to establish an independent commission to investigate the violence against civilians and look forward to the commission starting its work as soon as possible and reporting its findings in a transparent manner.

The Heads of Mission call on the Government to ensure that the Zimbabwean Defence Forces act with restraint, in full respect of international human rights norms and their constitutional role.

The Heads of Mission call on all stakeholders to act responsibly, to adhere to the principles of the Peace Pledge, to pursue peaceful and legal resolution of their grievances and to uphold the integrity of the political and electoral process”.