Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for law enforcement officials to respect the rights of all human beings and refrain from using brute force against protestors.

This follows chaotic scenes in the City of Cape Town CBD on Wednesday – as police officials used stun grenades and water cannons in attempts to disperse foreign demonstrators who staged a three-week sit in at the UN High Commission building.

Around 300 foreigners from countries including Congo, Kenya, Somalia, Burundi, and Nigeria were removed in terms of a court order.

They are now demanding documentation to leave South Africa.

Video footage from the protest shows police forcefully removing children from their parents or guardians.

The Southern Africa Director for Human Rights Watch is Dewa Mavhinga says brutality and excessive use of force by police is never justifiable.

“It is important for SA – as a leader in human rights to show and demonstrate respect for human rights – including those of protestors, particularly women with young children, who we saw being brutalised as the police broke up the protest in CTN. Police brutality and excessive use of force is never justifiable. SA needs to demonstrate respect for human rights. When there is this public demonstration of disregard for the rights of protesters, then it sullies the image of SA.”