Saturday, 28 June 2008

Sports boycott of Zimbabwe deserves government support

Global Peace & Justice Auckland media release 25 June 2008 The New Zealand government must move on from condemnation of the brutal Mugabe regime to take some simple steps to put real pressure on the dictator. If we have learnt anything from the regime to date it is that Mugabe takes notice of actions – not words. It is encouraging to see international cricketers taking the lead. Governments must now take effective action to support work for the total sporting isolation of Zimbabwe. In New Zealand’s case it means ending the proposed black caps tour to Zimbabwe next year. More than anything else actions such as these can psychologically undermine those supporting tyrannical regimes far more effectively than finding new ways to describe the megalomaniac Mugabe. In 2005 New Zealand had the opportunity to put intense pressure on Mugabe by cancelling the New Zealand cricket tour to Zimbabwe. Despite appeals from democratic forces inside Zimbabwe and around the world, such as those from Zimbabwean cricketer Henry Olongo and human rights campaigner Judith Todd, the New Zealand cricketers toured Zimbabwe after the our government refused to even formally request the team to call off the tour. The bluff and bluster from the then Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Prime Minister Helen Clark let Mugabe off the hook and helped deepen the crisis for Zimbabwe’s people. Concerted action then could have increased international pressure and could well have ended the regime before now. Our government can take the initiative now to actively promote a total boycott of the regime through the Commonwealth and United Nations. A good place to start is cricket. John Minto Spokesperson Ph (09) 8463173 (09) 8469496

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