Mugabe WHO appointment 'unacceptable', says Canada PM

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, US September 20, 2016.

OTTAWA - The appointment of Zimbabwe&39;s President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador for the World Health Organization is "absolutely unacceptable" and "ridiculous," Canada&39;s premier said.

"When I heard of Robert Mugabe&39;s appointment... quite frankly, I thought it was a bad April Fool&39;s joke," Justin Trudeau said during a press briefing.

"It is absolutely unacceptable and inconceivable this individual would have a role as a goodwill ambassador for any organization, much less the World Health Organization," Trudeau said.

The foreign ministry later called for the appointment to be "rescinded without delay."

READ: WHO chief &39;rethinking&39; after Mugabe honour outrage

"Given the serious human rights abuses under Mugabe&39;s regime, such an appointment is inconceivable and unacceptable," a statement read.

"It goes against the goals of protecting the world&39;s most vulnerable populations."

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the UN health agency, this week asked Zimbabwe&39;s 93-year-old authoritarian leader to serve in the role to help tackle non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa.

The decision triggered confusion and anger among key WHO member states and activists who noted that Zimbabwe&39;s health care system, like many of its public services, has collapsed under Mugabe&39;s regime.

Faced with a wage of criticism over the appointment, Ghebreyesus said that he was "rethinking" his decision.