IMPHAL, June 24 � In a move to promote a self-sustainable network working for reduction in stigma, harassment and discrimination, the Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) was formally launched at the Retreat House at Mantripukhri here on Thursday.
�The main idea of launching the CoNE is to promote and protect the health and human rights of people who use drugs in the State,�said RK Nolinikanta, convenor of the steering committee of the network. �I hope it will also help in reducing harassment,stigma and discrimination on the user community.�
At present, people who take help from drug organisations have been facing various difficulties while making relevant and positive contribution towards realising the positive vision of the society due to frequent harassment and discrimination from various sections, he observed.
The convenor of the CoNE steering committee said the time has come to do a comprehensive mapping of intravenous drug users (IDUs) besides activating the rehabilitation centres across Manipur to implement the Government and agency intervention programmes properly. Besides, the government agency should introduce certain programmes while dealing with HIV/AIDS issues apart from the prevention-oriented programmes only.
A formal launching ceremony of the Network with active participation of more than 350 participants from various parts of the State was held at the Retreat House.
The CoNE, a common platform for 14 community-based organisations (CBOs) including four in Imphal West, two each in Imphal East, Bishnupur, Senapati and Chandel and one each in Chandel,Thoubal and Tamenglong districts in the State, was conceived in the State-level consultation meet held early this year. Most of the CBOs also work in the field of HIV/AIDS.
�With the launching of the CoNE, we would like to strengthen all the CBOs of the network through capacity building for improving the effectiveness,� the convenor said. �Stigma and discrimination, harassment, livelihood option and quality of accessibility are some of the major issues which need to be addressed,� he added.