GENEVA, August 8 – The non-governmental advocacy group UN Watch welcomed reports that Britain and Canada will not be sending any representatives to a global UN tourism conference being hosted by Zimbabwe later this month.

“Amid reports of election-rigging and ongoing human rights abuses, Zimbabwe is the last country that should be legitimized by a UN summit of any kind,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“The government of Robert Mugabe has brutalized human rights activists, crushed democracy dissidents, and turned the breadbasket of Africa into a basket-case. The notion that the UN should now spin this country as a lovely tourism destination is, frankly, sickening,” said Neuer.

Over the past decade, UN Watch has brought numerous Zimbabwean human rights activists to testify on the sidelines of UN conferences.

Over 500 diplomats and dignitaries from 150 countries will be attending the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) 20th General Assembly at Victoria Falls starting 26th August.

“UN Watch applauds Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird for taking the initiative last year to pull out of this misguided venture and spotlight the grossly inappropriate UN honor to Mugabe,” said Neuer.

UN Watch documentation of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe:

Testimony of human rights dissident and victim Jestina Mukoko, Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, at UN Watch’s 2012 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

Testimony of Dewa Mavhinga, human rights lawyer and activist from Zimbabwe, at UN Watch’s 2010 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

CNN Debate featuring Zimbabwe’s UN Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku vs. UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer

Video: UN Watch Confronts Zimbabwe in UN Plenary, debate on 2012 UPR report

UN Panel Debate on 2008 Zimbabwe power-sharing accord, with Arnold Tsunga, International Commission of Jurists; Hillel Neuer, UN Watch; Daniel Molokele, Global Zimbabwe Forum; and Katinka Ridderbos, International Monitoring Displacement Center

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