Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, November 9, 1999 Published at 12:47 GMT

World: Africa

Zimbabwe rubbishes human rights report

Zimbabwe has been criticised for imprisoning two journalists

Zimbabwe says a report criticising its human rights record is "utter rubbish".

The report, put together by an independent think tank, the Foreign Policy Centre, says Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia and Sri Lanka should be expelled from the Commonwealth if they do not improve the treatment of their citizens.

Zimbabwe's response came in comments by the Foreign Minister, Stan Mudenge, to the official Herald newspaper.

"This is ridiculous and utter rubbish. The report was prepared by young toddlers trying to come to grips with important international relations," Mr Mudenge said.

"I saw the report. There was no substance to it and all I did was crumple it and throw it into the trash can. That is where it belongs," he said.

The London-based Daily Telegraph said when it published the report on Monday that it would be released at the forthcoming Commonwealth Summit in South Africa. But Mr Mudenge said that this would not happen.

Independent think tank

[ image: The report questions whether Charles should become head of the Commonwealth]
The report questions whether Charles should become head of the Commonwealth
The report says Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia and Sri Lanka could be expelled if they do not improve the treatment of their citizens.

It is also alleged to question whether Prince Charles should take over from the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth, and whether the organisation's headquarters should remain in London.

The Telegraph said the report had semi-official status because it had been written in consultation with the Commonwealth's own human rights advisers.

It also calls for a checklist of criteria for membership, which would oblige member countries to hold free and fair elections as well as respecting human rights, said the paper.

The Telegraph also said the report called for the Commonwealth to adopt new powers against countries that failed to live up to its standards, with the appointment of a "good governance commissioner" to police member states.

The report follows the Commonwealth's decision to suspended Pakistan after democracy ended in the country following last month's military coup.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

08 Nov 99 | UK Politics
Commonwealth countries face 'freedom test'

06 Nov 99 | Asia-Pacific
Commonwealth eyes Australia

29 Oct 99 | South Asia
Pakistan 'disappoints' Commonwealth

28 Oct 99 | South Asia
Sharif meeting vetoed

27 Oct 99 | South Asia
Pakistan pressed on democracy

Internet Links

The Commonwealth

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

Sudan power struggle denied

Animal airlift planned for Congo

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Zimbabwe constitution: Just a bit of paper?

South African gays take centre stage

Nigeria's ruling party's convention

UN to return to Burundi

Bissau military hold fire

Nile basin agreement on water cooperation

Congo Brazzaville defends peace initiative

African Media Watch

Liberia names new army chief