Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

World Health Organization revokes appointment of Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe
Credit
ROSLAN RAHMAN  Getty Images Robert Mugabe Credit ROSLAN RAHMAN Getty Images
Melody Ballard | 24 October, 2017, 00:57

But activists, public health experts and key WHO donors like Britain, Canada and the United States swiftly denounced any prospective role for Mugabe, saying Zimbabwe's healthcare system has collapsed under his 37 years of authoritarian rule. "Health for all require us to engage all -leaders - not only the ones like!"

"The government of Robert Mugabe presided over the dramatic reversal of its population's access to food, clean water, basic sanitation and health care", the group concluded.

Some goodwill ambassadors have sparked controversy before - and been fired. "It is a meaningless gesture".

The world's oldest head of state has long faced USA sanctions over his government's human rights abuses, as well as criticism at home for going overseas for medical treatment.

In announcing the appointment in Uruguay, this week, Tedros had praised Zimbabwe as "a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all".

Tedros Ghebreyesus last night said the United Nations agency was having second thoughts about the appointment of President Robert Mugabe as its goodwill ambassador.

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He said he revoked Mugabe's position in the best interests of the World Health Organization.

In response, Zimbabwe's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Walter Mzembi, said World Health Organization "has benefited tremendously from its decision in nominating President Mugabe to lead the fight against noncommunicable diseases through media amplification of World Health Organization itself".

"Dr Tedros deserves all our support to ensure he and WHO build a global health movement that is inclusive and works to improve health for everyone", Farrar said in a statement. "Dr. Tedros's record reflects a contrast between high hopes and genuine concerns", wrote Gostin. "One result has been a cholera epidemic and the spread of other diseases".

Hillel Neuer, the executive director of United Nations Watch and a human rights activist wrote: "Shame on you, @WHO, for legitimizing brutal tyrant Mugabe, who devastated the health system of Zimbabwe & flies overseas for his health care". In Ethiopia's controversial 2015 general elections, Tedros' ruling EPRDF declared that it won all 547 seats of legislature amid reports of continued repression.

Human Rights Watch head Kenneth Roth called on the World Health Organization to go beyond simply revoking Mugabe's title and fight abuses like those of his government.

The U.S.in 2003 imposed targeted sanctions, a travel ban and an asset freeze against Mugabe and close associates, citing his government's rights abuses and evidence of electoral fraud.

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