Zimbabwe president Mugabe removed from U.N. WHO post after backlash

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- The head of the World Health Organization on Sunday withdrew his appointment of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as a "goodwill ambassador."

In a statement issued Sunday WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus said he decided to rescind his appointment of Mugabe, 93, after listening to the flood of outrage and concerns voiced by international leaders and health experts. He said he revoked Mugabe's position in the best interests of the World Health Organization.

Ghebreyesus also said he had consulted with the Zimbabwe government about his decision.

The decision to name Mugabe as a "goodwill ambassador" on non-communicable diseases was met with shock and condemnation by health officials and countries including the United States, which sanctioned Mugabe more than a decade ago over his government's human rights abuses.