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Zimbabwe enacts law banning foreign-funded rights groups

[JURIST] The Zimbabwe parliament Thursday passed a controversial bill banning foreign-funded human rights groups from operating in the country and requiring all other rights groups to register with the governmet. Pro-government legislators have accused outside rights groups of being tools of western governments opposed to the regime of President Robert Mugabe; critics of the legislation see it as yet another manifestation of Mugabe's increasingly dictatorial hold on Zimbabwe. Reuters has more. Human Rights Watch provides a backgrounder on the legislation here. In a related development, a new report by an international lawyers group made up of leaders of the British, Irish, Australian and South African bars has concluded that the Zimbabwean legal system has been "profoundly compromised" during Mugabe's rule. Chairman Stephen Irwin, head of the Bar Council of England and Wales, wrote in the report that "Many of the judiciary have been driven from office or corrupted, and much of the legal system of Zimbabwe has been subverted by the Zanu-PF government, in an effort to frustrate the proper working of democracy and to hold on to power." The UK Press Association has more.

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