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tightens proposed law for rights groups
- The Zimbabwe government has tightened a proposed law to regulate rights
organisations operating in the country, according to official documents
seen by AFP on Saturday. The Non-Governmental Organisations Bill, which
was tabled in parliament earlier this week, seeks to ban international
rights groups from operating in Zimbabwe and cut off foreign funding to
local groups involved in governance issues. It has provoked widespread
condemnation. According to an official notice of amendment, proposed by
the social welfare ministry, rights groups targeted by the bill will now
include those involved in educating the public on anti-corruption programmes
and issues of public transparency and accountability. Previously the bill
had not spelled out what activities would be included under the definition
of "issues of governance". Groups involved in "furthering and facilitating
the interests or activities of a political party" will now also be targeted.
have been fears that hundreds of aid groups will be forced to shut down
if the bill becomes law. Independent press reports have suggested that
up to 10 000 jobs could be lost. More than 30 women were arrested earlier
this week outside parliament for demonstrating against the bill, the third
such group protest this month. This week the US state department condemned
the proposed law, saying if passed it would jeopardise chances of the
southern African country's general elections meeting international standards.
Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in March next year.
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