The Archbishop of York today writes in The Times about the situation in Zimbabwe, and the British Government's decision to relax sanctions against the Mugabe regime. His article follows....
On Sunday 9th December 2007, I took off my clerical collar and cut it up during an interview on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1. I said I would not wear it again until Robert Mugabe had ceased to be in power in Zimbabwe.
I made this prophetic statement as Robert Mugabe had slowly but surely cut up the identity of the Zimbabwean people into tiny pieces.
It is fair to say that I did not expect still to be collarless five years on. I'm even asked occasionally why I have forgotten to wear one - but my answer remains that this corrupt and oppressive regime has simply been allowed to carry on for too long.
Whilst the British Government seem to be considering easing some sanctions against Mr Mugabe and his personal allies, I am not convinced that the time has come to weaken international opposition to the President of Zimbabwe's irresponsible, undemocratic, lawless, and at times brutal regime. I certainly won't be placing an order for a new clerical collar at Wippells just yet.
We cannot allow Robert Mugabe off the hook. When I cut up my clerical collar, I said I would not put it on again until Mr Mugabe had gone from office - we need to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe and not forget the abuses and exploitation they have suffered at the hands of that administration.