STATEMENT: Senators urge Zimbabwe officials to respect the rights of protestors and restore access to social media, internet, and telephone services WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement.
“We are deeply troubled by reports of deaths, widespread arrests, beatings, and harassment of protestors by security forces of the Government of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean people have the constitutional right to protest peacefully and express themselves regarding developments in their country. Government officials and security forces must respond with professionalism and respect for human rights and the rule of law. We also call on the Government of Zimbabwe to rescind the directive ordering communication service providers to cut or restrict access to social media, internet, and telephone services. Such abrogations of constitutional and basic legal rights are not what the people of Zimbabwe were promised under President Mnangagwa. Instead, the government should work to meet the basic economic and social needs of its people. We strongly urge the Zimbabwean authorities to resolve the current situation through dialogue and non-violent, fully legal means, and for protesters to exercise their constitutional rights peacefully. Under no circumstances should the Zimbabwean government disregard the constitutional rights of its citizens, engage in the illegal suppression of expression and assembly, or employ the disproportionate use of force or extralegal violence to respond to the current situation.”