GENEVA — After widespread shock and condemnation, the head of the World Health Organization said Saturday he is “rethinking” his appointment of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as a “goodwill ambassador.”
In a new tweet, WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus said that “I’m listening. I hear your concerns. Rethinking the approach in light of WHO values. I will issue a statement as soon as possible.”
The 93-year-old Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, has long been criticized at home for going overseas for medical treatment as Zimbabwe’s once-prosperous economy falls apart. Mugabe also faces U.S. sanctions over his government’s human rights abuses.
The United States called the appointment of Mugabe by WHO’s first African leader “disappointing.”
“This appointment clearly contradicts the United Nations ideals of respect for human rights and human dignity,” the State Department said.
Health and human rights leaders chimed in. “The decision …
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