New Zealand Bishops Frown on Cricket Tour in Zimbabwe

In Letter to Government Official

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, JUNE 30, 2005 ( The New Zealand bishops’ conference is urging the government to dissuade a cricket team’s tour of Zimbabwe as a way to protest the African nation’s mistreatment of its citizens.

In a letter dated Wednesday, Bishop Denis Browne, the president of the Catholic episcopal conference, told Phil Goff, minister of foreign affairs and trade: «We are very aware of the disastrous situation, which has prevailed in Zimbabwe for some years now.

«Famine and oppression have taken a terrible toll on the people of Zimbabwe and other countries appear to be unable to respond in any way, which is effective.»

«The recent escalation of government violence under the name ‘Operation Restore Order’ is resulting in the demolition of homes, market stalls and other businesses,» Bishop Browne wrote.

He added: «We strongly support the actions you are taking with the U.N., the Commonwealth and other international bodies and countries to bring about some resolution of the situation in Zimbabwe.

«We also urge you to continue to seek ways of discouraging a New Zealand Black Caps cricket tour of Zimbabwe. It is inconceivable that a team wearing a New Zealand uniform should play cricket in the midst of such horror, especially when the architect of the crisis is also the patron of Zimbabwean cricket.»

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