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Equatorial Guinea denounces suspension of its UNESCO prize


Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

 

Equatorial Guinea on Saturday denounced a campaign of “disinformation” that persuaded the UN scientific organisation UNESCO to suspend a prize it sponsored.

“The government of Equatorial Guinea deplores and categorically condemns the nature of the political campaign of disinformation, manipulation and fallacious statements,” said a statement read out on state radio.

These statements had been published in the international press with the clear intention of manipulating international public opinion, the statement added.

On October 21, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) bowed to pressure from anti-corruption campaigners and suspended the prize, named after President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Human rights and anti-poverty campaigners were outraged that the UN body would lend its support to a prize named after the leader of Equatorial Guinea, whom they consider a corrupt dictator.

The statement from the government in Malabo called on the international community to go ahead with the inauguration of the prize, which it said would contribute to research into AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Obiang has ruled Equatorial Guinea with an iron grip since seizing power in a 1979 coup. He was offering funding of three million dollars over five years.

While the United States and some European countries backed calls for the prize to be suspended, African member states stood by Obiang.

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