The United Nations says it is disturbed by reports of a brutal crackdown on protesters calling for democracy in southern Africa's mountain kingdom of Eswatini.
"The eruption of violence in the Kingdom of Eswatini in recent days is deeply concerning amid reports that dozens of people have been killed or injured during protests calling for democratic reforms," UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Liz Throssell said in Geneva.
"We have received allegations of disproportionate and unnecessary use of force, harassment and intimidation by security forces in suppressing last week's protests, including the use of live ammunition by police," she said.
Some protesters were reported to have looted premises and set buildings and vehicles on fire and in some areas they barricaded roads, she added.
"We urge the authorities to fully adhere to human rights principles in restoring calm and the rule of law, in particular the obligation to minimise any use of force in the policing of protests only to that absolutely necessary as measure of last resort," Throssell said.
"We also call on the government to ensure that there are prompt, transparent, effective, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of human rights violations, including those by law enforcement personnel in the context of the demonstrations, and that those responsible are held to account."
She noted that the UN was also concerned at reports that internet services were disrupted last week and urged the authorities to take all steps to ensure that internet access was not blocked.
"We urge the government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to open up a longer-term dialogue to air and address the underlying public concerns that have given rise to these recent protests," she said.
There have been clashes between police and demonstrators for days in the small state with a population of just under 1.2 million, which was known as Swaziland until a name change in 2018.
The absolutist King Mswati III has been criticised for his extravagance.
Political parties are banned in Eswatini.
A team from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been in the state since Sunday, seeking talks with civil society and the government.