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Zimbabwe likely to head key U.N. development and environment commission despite protests

Zimbabwe likely to head key U.N. development and environment commission despite protests

Zimbabwe is likely to win U.N. General Assembly approval to head a key U.N. body charged with promoting economic progress and environmental protection despite protests from some Western countries and human rights organizations.
The 192-member General Assembly is scheduled to vote Friday on the new chair of the Commission on Sustainable Development. The chair traditionally rotates among regions of the world and it is Africa's choice this year. The continent has chosen Zimbabwe as its candidate.
"For Zimbabwe to lead any U.N. body is preposterous," said Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world and has monitored political rights and civil liberties in Zimbabwe since 1980.
She said President Robert Mugabe's government "clearly has nothing but scorn for the U.N.'s founding principles of human rights, security and international law."
Zimbabwe ranks as "Not Free" in the 2007 edition of Freedom in the World, published by Freedom House, and is considered one of the world's most repressive regimes. The country received a rating of 7 (on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the lowest) for political rights and a 6 for civil liberties.
Freedom House called on other members of the commission to block Zimbabwe's selection, but that appeared unlikely because of widespread support for the rotation system.
Several European nations have called Zimbabwe's candidacy inappropriate and the U.S. State Department said Zimbabwe would not be an effective leader of the commission.
The commission was established by the General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in June that year and implementation of key environmental and development agreements.
It meets annually in New York, and its current session, which opened Wednesday, is focusing on energy for sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution and climate change.


Updated : 2021-10-18 03:54 GMT+08:00