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US-Africa Summit Sends Wrong Signal to Bad Leaders - Human Rights Campaigner

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This week’s US-Africa Leaders Summit has given the White House’s seal of approval to some of Africa’s most abusive politicians, Adam Shapiro, a human rights campaigner told RIA Novosti.

NEW YORK, August 6 (RIA Novosti) – This week’s US-Africa Leaders Summit has given the White House’s seal of approval to some of Africa’s most abusive politicians, Adam Shapiro, a human rights campaigner told RIA Novosti.

“This summit focuses on security and investment without including the voices of civil society groups – people on the front lines of fighting corruption, misrule of law and human rights abuses. This perpetuates business-as-usual without addressing Africa’s problems,” Shapiro, from the pressure group Front Line Defenders, said on Wednesday.

“Hosting these leaders at the White House without them having to confront, in a serious way, any of the grassroots activists from Africa, signals that the White House supports what they are doing and that they can continue what they’re doing,” he said.

While controversial leaders, such as Sudan’s Omar al Bashir and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, were not invited to Washington, rights groups have blasted the inclusion of long-standing leaders from such countries as Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Angola.

The three-day summit, which ends on Wednesday, has attracted some 50 African leaders to Washington for talks on development and trade on a resource-rich continent that has become a destination for much European and Chinese investment.

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