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Zim Human Rights Commission weighs in on social unrest

The commission says while it understands the dire economic conditions in the country, it’s also called for "due care and diligence" in protecting the rights of citizens.

Angry protesters gesture as they block the main route to Zimbabwe's capital Harare from Epworth township on 14 January 2019 after announced a more than hundred percent hike in fuel prices. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has weighed in on the social unrest in the country, calling on the government to convene a national dialogue to bring about stability.

The cash-strapped country has been rocked by deadly protests this week, with demonstrators venting their anger on the streets after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a staggering 150% fuel price hike.

Civilians clashed with police in the capital city of Harare, where the Zimbabwe human rights NGO forum says it's recorded 844 human rights violations, including at least 12 deaths.

In a statement, the commission says it's noted "with concern" the deteriorating socio-economic and security situation in Zimbabwe and has urged law enforcement agencies to protect people and property in line with the country's constitutional mandate.

The commission says while it understands the dire economic conditions in the country, it’s also called for "due care and diligence" in protecting the rights of citizens.

Already battling under financial strain, Zimbabweans have been dealt a severe blow after Mnangagwa announced that the price of fuel has more than doubled.

Just days after that shock announcement statistical agency Zimstats revealed that the country's year-on-year inflation rate hit a 10-year high of 42.09% last month.

With sporadic internet blackouts, allegations of security force crackdowns and an increasingly volatile economic outlook, it remains to be seen whether the growing calls for calm in Zimbabwe will be heeded.