Mugabe removed as WHO ambassador after outrage

PUBLISHED Sun, October 22, 2017 - 12:53pm EDT
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (UN Photo/Cia Pak)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has revoked the appointment of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador after widespread criticism from governments and human rights groups. (more)

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday that he had reflected on Mugabe's appointment as a goodwill ambassador on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) for Africa. "As a result I have decided to rescind the appointment," he said.

Tedros announced the appointment on Wednesday during a health conference in Uruguay, where the director-general praised Zimbabwe as a country that "places health coverage and health promotion at the center of its policies to provide health care to all."

News about Tedros' decision prompted outrage on social media and condemnation from human rights groups and Western governments. "Given the serious human rights abuses under Mugabe’s regime, such an appointment is inconceivable and unacceptable," Canada's foreign ministry said.

WHO often appoints well-known personalities as goodwill ambassadors to raise awareness of important health problems and solutions. Current goodwill ambassadors include former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan.

In Sunday's statement, Tedros said his aim was to build a "worldwide movement" for global health that works for everyone and includes everyone. "I remain firmly committed to working with all countries and their leaders to ensure that everyone has access to the health care they need," he said.

Tedros added: "We must build bridges that bring us together and help us move forward in our quest to achieve universal health coverage. I thank everyone who has voiced their concerns and shared their thoughts. I depend on constructive debate to help and inform the work I have been elected to do."

Mugabe, who is 93, has ruled Zimbabwe since 1987, making him one of the world's longest-ruling leaders. Zimbabwe has faced sanctions from the international community for alleged human rights abuses and vote-rigging by Mugabe, who himself suffers from poor health and travels abroad for treatment.






Happening Now

U.S. Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into the Pacific off Japan

Air China suspends all flights to North Korea

Taiwan earthquake: Moderate quake hits near Chiayi

‘The Partridge Family’ star David Cassidy dead at 67

Dramatic video shows North Korean defector’s escape


Listen to "BNO News - Breaking News Radio" on Spreaker.


Just want the important news? Sign up now for the fastest email alerts from BNO News. Click here to get started!


Taiwan earthquake: Moderate quake hits near Chiayi

Large fire and explosion along I-75 near Auburn Hills, Michigan

Iowa Amber Alert: Beyonce Carrasco abducted from Denison

Shooting at Ace Hardware in Goffstown, New Hampshire, kills 1

‘The Partridge Family’ star David Cassidy in critical condition - TMZ


British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon resigns over allegations

Catalonia declares independence from Spain

Knife-wielding man attacks people at mall in southeast Poland

U.S. company to resume search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

North Korea preparing for long-range missile test, Russian lawmaker says