Tuesday, July 18, 2006

If Zimbabwe had oil, nuclear weapons or strategic importance, would Mugabe be tolerated?

When was the last time that you heard about a serious effort to put international pressure on Zimbabwe? President Robert Mugabe has rigged elections, tolerated if not actively encouraged illegal land seizures, and presided over severe repression of civil rights. And yet there appears to be no concentrated international attention on what goes on in Zimbabwe. You certainly don't see the United States threatening to enact "regime change".

While it pales in comparison with his numerous other human rights offences, last week Mugabe's government revised its "sexual deviancy" laws to make it a criminal offence for two people of the same sex to hold hands, hug, or kiss. While gays and lesbians in Canada are fortunate enough to be protected by Charter rights, all the way up to marriage, it seems that the pendulum is swinging the opposite direction in much of the rest of the world, egged on by pronoucements emanating from Washington and the Vatican about the "evils" of same-sex relationships. It serves as a useful reminder about how important it is to defend these rights in Canada, and to resist any effort to dilute them.

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