Commissions Watch

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
on Zimbabwe Demonstrations

17 August 2019

[17th August 2019]
Statement by Spokesperson for the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
on 16th August 2019 Demonstrations in Harare

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva
Date: 16 August 2019

We understand that today’s planned protests in Harare have just been called
off by the organisers, following a High Court decision to uphold a Government
ban. The crowds that had already gathered were dispersed by police, with
reports emerging of the use of force against protestors.
With opposition demonstrations still likely to take place in Zimbabwe in the near
future, we urge the Government to find ways to continuously engage with the
population about their legitimate grievances on the economic situation, and to
stop cracking down on peaceful protestors. If demonstrations go ahead we
urge the security forces and protesters to ensure they proceed calmly and
without any violence.
We are deeply concerned by the socio-economic crisis that continues to unfold
in Zimbabwe. While acknowledging efforts made by the Government, the
international community and the UN in Zimbabwe to mitigate the effects of the
crisis and reform process, the dire economic situation is now impacting
negatively on the realization of the economic and social rights of millions of
Long-term neglect and structural deficiencies have contributed to
hyperinflation, resulting in soaring prices for fuel, food, transport and health
services, which is having a dramatic impact on the population, and particularly
on marginalized working-class people. The fact that key commodities and
services have become less affordable for poor families, means there is an
increasing need for strong social protection measures.

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