Harare, August 26, 2016: The United States is troubled by the economic policies and financial strains that have prompted numerous recent protests in Zimbabwe and we join many Zimbabweans in their deep concern over reports of violence during some of the protests. The United States supports freedoms of speech and assembly and we call on the government of Zimbabwe to exhibit restraint and respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens, including those basic rights. We urge everyone to engage in non-violent discourse and for all those involved in protests, participants and law enforcement alike – to abstain from violence and intimidation and seek peaceful resolutions. Violence is never acceptable.
The United States is also monitoring recent threats to crack down on activists using social media. We fear these threats will further limit the right of Zimbabweans to exercise freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, which are enshrined in the Zimbabwean Constitution, protected under Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations, and core values of any functioning democracy. We support Zimbabweans’ rights to freedom of speech regardless the venue — be it in public, through print media, or social media.
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