Malawi rapped for crackdown
Monday, 25 July 2011 18:05 GMT
Human Rights Watch called on the Malawi government to investigate reports that security forces used live ammunition against civilian protesters.
"The use of live ammunition against largely peaceful protesters is completely disproportionate and unacceptable," Tiseke Kasambala, a researcher on African affairs for Human Rights Watch, said in statement.
Demonstrators last week protested the high cost of living, fuel shortages and tighter control over political activity.
The British government last week said security forces were linked to the deaths of at least 18 people during the clashes.
"The government needs to investigate and make the facts public as to exactly when, by whom, and for what reason live ammunition or other lethal force was deployed," Kasambala said. "Those found responsible for using excessive force should be held to account."
The rights group adds that at least 250 demonstrators were rounded up by authorities since last week.
The government recently passed an austerity budget that raised taxes to lower the country's dependence on foreign aid after many donors cut funding.