Zimbabwe 'to curb' rights groups

Zimbabwe's government is tightening restrictions on human rights groups operating in the country, reports say.

French news agency AFP says it has seen an official amendment to a bill tabled in parliament earlier this week.

The bill bans international rights groups from working in Zimbabwe and cuts foreign funding to local groups dealing with "governance issues".

Groups involved in educating the public on anti-corruption issues, transparency and accountability are also targeted.

The amendment proposed by Zimbabwe's social welfare ministry also means that groups involved in aiding the interests or activities of a political party will also be targeted, according to the AFP.

The Non-Governmental Organisations Bill previously had not spelled out what activities would be included under the definition of "issues of governance".

There are fears that hundreds of aid groups will be forced to shut down if the bill becomes law.

Correspondents say up to 10,000 jobs could be lost as the result.

The proposed bill has provoked widespread condemnation, the AFP said.