Managed by Program Officer, Jo Wells
, IHRLG's training and technical assistance program is designed to build an effective and viable human rights movement in the DRC through expanding the expertise of human rights leaders and legal service providers, redressing gender imbalance in local groups and approaches to human rights work, encouraging collaboration between NGOs and broadening the perspective and impact of local groups through international advocacy.
Our capacity-building activities in the DRC focus on improving NGOs' understanding of human rights norms and methodology in the areas of transitional justice, violence against women campaigns, and developing strategies for addressing the denial of women's right to inherit land and property. IHRLG also provides local NGOs with access to relevant human rights information and documentation through managing a resource center in our Kinshasa office and providing focused training to build computer skills and knowledge of using the Internet for human rights and legal research, communication and international advocacy.
IHRLG also provides technical assistance to a wide range of civil society groups to hone their skills for influencing both national and international decision-making processes, and opportunities to acquire a comparative perspective by learning from and exchanging experiences with activists from other countries. For example, our DRC team nominates human rights leaders to participate in IHRLG's Advocacy Bridge Program conducted in Washington and Geneva during annual sessions of the UN Commission on Human Rights and facilitates access to senior government officials (such as the US Department of State and the National Security Council).
Recent highlights from our DRC training and technical assistance program include
- Conducting a workshop on women's inheritance rights in collaboration with the Ligue Congolaise des Droits et Developpement de la Femme (LICODFE), an NGO working with widows and other marginalized women, including albinos in peripheral areas of Kinshasa. As part of IHRLG's 3rd annual Day of Action for women's inheritance rights, our DRC team brought together 18 NGOs focused on addressing problems caused by customary practices and/or Congolese legislation that discriminate against widows. LICODFE is combining workshop participants' recommendations with legal analysis of the situation of widows in Congo, which will be distributed to women's associations and other human rights groups nationwide to strengthen their advocacy initiatives.
- Mentoring a working group on children's rights in preparing a shadow report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which reviewed Congo's compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the summer of 2001.
- Partnering with La Voix des Handicappés pour les Droits de L'homme (Voice of the Disabled for Human Rights) on investigating and monitoring cases of rape and related sexual violence in the Western Kasai.
- Hosting a major training workshop and providing international technical assistance for Congolese organizations defending freedom of expression, in collaboration with the London-based NGO, ARTICLE 19. A follow-up to this workshop was a strategy document authored by ARTICICLE 19 and Journalistes en Danger (a leading freedom of expression group in the DRC), which constitutes a civil society blueprint for protecting free speech in Congo.