The Associated Press reports:
Shock and condemnation continued Saturday after Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was named a “goodwill ambassador” for the World Health Organization by the agency’s first African leader. 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 United States sanctions over his government’s human rights abuses.
Ireland’s health minister, Simon Harris, called the appointment “offensive, bizarre.” ″Not the Onion,” tweeted the head of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, in a reference to the satirical news site. Two dozen organizations — including the World Heart Federation, Action Against Smoking and Cancer Research U.K. — released a statement slamming the appointment, saying health officials were “shocked and deeply concerned” and citing his “long track record of human rights violations.”
Mugabe has called for castrating gay men, calling them “worse than pigs and dogs,” and once demanded that Obama prove he’s not “the son of a whore.” Gay activists have reported being tortured in his jails.