The appointment of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been denounced by human rights groups. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
Critics are urging the World Health Organization to overturn its latest appointment. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was on Wednesday (October 18) named a goodwill ambassador. The recently appointed Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivered the news at a conference the pair attended, stating Mugabe would influence his peers in the region to prioritize non-communicable disease. But the decision has shocked many. The president is blamed in the West for destroying his country's economy and numerous human rights abuses during his 37 years as a leader. Even the British government has said the decision is, quote, 'surprising and disappointing' and added it risks overshadowing the organization's global work. Health leaders have described the move as unjustifiable and wrong. Leading global health specialist Jeremy Farrar called on the decision to be reversed. Stating Mugabe fails in every way to represent the values the organization should stand for. Human rights activists are also critical. UN Watch's Hillel Neuer noting Mugabe himself had traveled to Singapore for medical treatment three times this year rather than in his homeland.