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Top law professor quits Zimbabwe rights watchdog

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December 29, 2012 11:05 AM EST | AP

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HARARE, Zimbabwe — The head of an independent but state-funded human rights commission says he has quit because of a lack of financial support and inadequate legislation empowering it to monitor the situation and punish violations.

Professor Reg Austin, an eminent law professor and expert on international and constitutional law, announced his departure Saturday.

In a statement, he likened the commission, set up under a democratic reform program in 2010, to "a baby for whose birth the parents made no preparations: no nursery, not cot, no blankets, no baby food."

An independent Zimbabwe lawyers group said Saturday the decision to quit by a lifelong campaigner for justice ahead of elections proposed next year confirmed the failure of President Robert Mugabe's government to end rights abuses after years of violations linked to elections.