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July 12, 2010 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Honorary Doctorate not so Honorary


Lincoln University has revoked an honorary degree awarded to a former Peruvian president who was last year jailed for ordering two massacres and committing other human rights crimes.

Lincoln Vice-Chancellor Roger Field says the decision to revoke Alberto Fujimori’s science doctorate was “not taken lightly” but there was a “universal view that this was the direction to take’’.

The decision was made during the public-excluded section of the university council meeting on this week.

Field said the university examined its core values of respect for human rights and condemned Fujimori’s involvement in “a gross violation of human rights in Peru”.

Fujimori ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000. He was awarded the honorary Doctor of Science degree at a Lincoln University ceremony while on a state visit to New Zealand in June 1998.

The 71-year-old, once considered a hero for stopping guerilla violence and restoring economic growth, was convicted of human rights crimes and sentenced to 25 years in prison in April 2009.

His convictions included ordering a military death squad to carry out two massacres in which 25 people died, and for the kidnappings of a businessman and journalist.

He was also sentenced over embezzlement after paying his spy chief NZ$21m (US$15 million) from state funds.

The Lincoln University council looked at overseas cases for background, including Edinburgh University’s revoking of an honorary degree awarded to Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.


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