Statement on the internet shutdown in Zimbabwe

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) is deeply concerned about the deterioration of human rights following the violent crackdown of civilians by the military and police and the subsequent shutting down of the internet today after wave of protests against the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe.

After the wave of protests that swept Zimbabwe’s major cities and towns yesterday, the government of Zimbabwe has responded with brute force with soldiers and members of the police launching a door to door violent crackdown of civilians in several most residential suburbs in Harare beating up innocent civilians.

As if that was not enough, the government in collusion with telecommunication companies disabled internet services thereby denying citizens access to information online.

We view this internet shutdown as a breach of human rights as it curtails citizens to freely express themselves and access information online.

Such nefarious acts that seek to block, restrict and shutdown access to the internet are a violation of freedoms of expression as articulated embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

In this light, we express our concern that the internet shutdown might be an attempt to cover up oppression and the violent crackdown of civilians by the military and police currently underway in various residential suburbs across the country.

We hereby urge the government to respect the rights of its citizens as enshrined in the constitution.

As it stands, Zimbabwe is under a silent state of emergency, and martial law is now in effect.

In October last year, the Coalition engaged the SADC Chairperson and Namibia’s president Hage Geingob and pressed upon him to facilitate an inclusive all stakeholders’ national dialogue as a means of finding a solution to the political and economic crisis bedeviling our nation.

We also urge the regional and international community to stand by the people of Zimbabwe in this dark hour and call for accountability from the government of Zimbabwe.

We hereby reiterate that call, that a national dialogue is one of the key processes that will arrest the current national crisis and rebuild confidence in the state.

Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition