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Zimbabwe to Relinquish Seat on UN Human Rights Panel

Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday that the country will give up its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission because Harare wants to give one of its Southern African neighbors a chance to represent the region. Boniface Chidyausiku said that after two terms, Zimbabwe is ready to pass on the seat.

But news reports said Harare was stepping down to avoid being voted off the panel by the U.N. membership because of its alleged violations of human rights. Its presence on the panel has long been criticized by U.S., British and other Western diplomats who say President Robert Mugabe's government routinely breaches human rights.

Reached in New York, Chidyausiku explained Zimbabwe's decision not to seek a new commission term to reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...