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African organisations support Howard

13/05/2007 10:21:00 PM Comments (0)

African human rights organisations have hailed Australian Prime Minister John Howard's decision to ban the country's cricket team from a planned tour of Zimbabwe later this year.

Newspapers and radio stations in Africa broadcast Mr Howard's announcement that the government would block the Australian team's Zimbabwe tour to avoid "an enormous propaganda boost to the Mugabe regime".

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has recently stepped up brutal treatment of opposition politicians in his country, leading of police beatings and unjustified detention. Pascal Mabali, coordinator of the DRC Human Rights Initiative, a non-governmental organisation based in Democratic Republic of Congo, said Howard's stance was right and should be emulated by all leaders, especially those of developed countries.

"We thank Howard for stopping his national cricket team from visiting Zimbabwe," Mabali said.

"That is a good lesson to all dictators in Africa. They should know that they can be isolated if they misbehave by harassing their opponents."

Australia's decision also won support from the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRDN), which groups human rights activists from more than 10 countries including Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

An EHAHRDN official, Dennis Shabarani, said it would have been a big mistake for Australia to permit the cricket tour given the poor state of human rights in Zimbabwe. "Howard's action will make Mugabe know that whatever he does in his country is known and the world is not happy with him," he said.

Burundi Human Rights Forum chairperson Michelle Mbuguza added: "Australia's cancelling the trip should open Mugabe's eyes to see that his days are numbered.

"You cannot be isolated by the whole world and you survive for a long time."

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