Anti-apartheid activist backs boycotting Zimbabwe

Published: Monday, April 26, 2004, 21:09 [IST]
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London:Veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged England's cricketers not to tour Zimbabwe, saying the world has to send a clear signal to President Robert Mugabe's regime.

Interviewed on BBC television, Tutu said on Sunday: "If not going (to Zimbabwe) was to exert some pressure, I would - as someone who used to support the sports boycott against apartheid - say yes."

"We need to help the world show clearly that we disapprove of what is happening in Zimbabwe -- and, not merely wanting to be punitive, we want to help them become a more just society," the South African cleric said.

"It isn't that we want to clobber them. Let's do what most of the people, especially the ones who are suffering, are saying we should do."

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) believes that current British Government advice vis a vis Zimbabwe -- where Mugabe's regime stands accused of human rights abuses -- justifies cancelling the forthcoming winter tour.

But the ECB faces a stiff fine and the threat of suspension if the International Cricket Council (ICC) disagrees.

In January, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw asked ECB to consider whether the tour would be consistent with Britain's policy of isolating Zimbabwe.

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