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Queen strips Mugabe of knighthood

The British Queen strips President Robert Mugabe of his honorary knighthood as a mark of growing outrage at the abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe.

world Updated: Jun 26, 2008 15:51 IST

The British Queen has stripped President Robert Mugabe of his honorary knighthood as a mark of growing outrage at the abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe.

The Queen approved the rare step of removing the award, issued in 1994, to express Britain's anger at human rights abuses in the African state.

"This action has been taken as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Robert Mugabe has presided," a statement from the British Foreign Office said.

Mugabe, who is under growing international pressure over the growing violence and disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe, is only the second leader after Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu to have an honour removed.

Ceaucescu lost his knighthood in 1989, the day before he and his wife were executed after being removed from power in a popular uprising.

In June 2007, Mugabe became the first international figure ever to be stripped of an honorary degree by a British university, when Edinburgh University withdrew the degree awarded to him in 1984.

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called on African nations to pressure Mugabe into a 'negotiated political settlement' so as to prevent the further collapse of the country into violence and chaos.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of voting in the presidential election on March 29, but officials said he did not win enough votes to avoid a run-off.