ROC: Local NGO initiatives to promote rights and build local capacities

Excerpt: "...A 'solidarity network' for indigenous peoples in the Republic of Congo was launched on Friday in the capital, Brazzaville, at the end of a three-day meeting among groups involved in the protection of minority rights across the country. The network, to be headed by local human rights defence NGOs, will be responsible for maximising efforts to promote the rights of the Congo's indigenous populations, commonly referred to as "pygmies". "We are friends of the pygmies. Together with other NGOs involved in this domain, we will work to ensure that this network truly serves the interests of pygmies," Loamba Moke, president of the Association pour les droits de l'homme et l'univers carceral (Adhuc), a national human rights group, told IRIN...The three-day conference was attended by about two dozen people, including a dozen pygmies, from the departments of Sangha, Plateaux, Lekoumou and Likouala, with the objective of providing a better understanding of human rights. "All of us here benefited from a short training programme a few months ago," Paul Assane, one of the pygmy participants, told IRIN. Assane works as a primary school teacher in his village of Mbaloula, 5 km outside of Ouesso, the main town of Sangha department. "Now we have come to participate in this supplementary training, and we believe that things are going to change. From now on, I will be able to hold my head high as I tell those who consider us to be inferior beings that all human beings are equal, and that human rights are immutable and valid for all."

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