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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited.
Overview of the child rights situation

Violence is a major issue in the report from Congo, despite the ban on corporal punishment. Female genital mutilation is carried out, children with albinism have to fear for their lives and perpetrators who abuse and neglect children are hardly punished.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee remains concerned that female genital mutilation is still practised among some West African communities living in the State party. The Committee also expresses its concern that child and forced marriages continue to be practised in the State party.
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt legislation to prohibit such harmful practices and take well-targeted measures to ensure the eradication of female genital mutilation in all communities living on its territory, including through widespread awareness-raising campaigns, and also recommends that the State party criminalize female genital mutilation. It calls on the State party to encourage children to report those practices to health professionals and competent authorities. The Committee also recommends that the State party take active and practical measures to enforce the legal prohibition of child and forced marriage.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee expresses its strong concern about the lack of systematic efforts to combat and change discriminatory attitudes and practices, and the widespread ethnic-based discrimination against children belonging to indigenous groups, who are often the target of insults, physical violence and bullying.<br /> While taking note of the measures adopted by the State party for the protection of children with albinism, the Committee remains seriously concerned that children with albinism are still often exposed to life-threatening situations.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee expresses its concern that many children with disabilities, especially in rural areas, remain at home and receive no schooling owing to the lack of practical measures to ensure that the national education system has the necessary capacities to facilitate their access to and to integrate them into the education system. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party take practical measures to encourage the inclusion of children with disabilities in the mainstream educational system and in society, strengthen special training for teachers and make the physical environment, including schools and all other public areas, accessible for children with disabilities. Also, Congo should improve and strengthen early detection and treatment services in the health and education sectors.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned that the current lack of a comprehensive refugee and asylum law affects children in particular, as children often experience difficulties in gaining access to the asylum system or are negatively affected by long delays in the processing of their claims. The Committee commends the cooperative approach of the State party towards refugees, including many children.<br /> The Committee encourages the State party to subsequently take all necessary measures to guarantee the full implementation of the national law, in line with international human rights and refugee law. The Committee urges the State party to protect children, especially girls, against sexual abuse and other related incidents, to investigate cases of abuse fully and to prosecute and sentence the perpetrators of such crimes. It recommends that the State party take all the necessary measures to improve the living conditions of asylum-seeking and refugee children.
Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee recommends to develop a comprehensive policy on the promotion of children’s access to adequate information and to ensure that children are protected from harmful material, including that which can be found on the Internet.
physical health

The Committee welcomes the strategies adopted by the State party to reduce the high maternal and child mortality, to manage childhood illness, to improve the treatment of malnutrition and to reduce malaria. The Committee also notes with appreciation the role of civil society organizations and the media in the national strategy for empowering households and communities for the promotion of good nutritional and health practices.
Nevertheless, the Committee expresses its concern that there are a number of constraints on the implementation of those strategies and that preventable and treatable diseases, including diarrhoea, continue to be among the main causes of infant and child mortality. The Committee is also concerned at the limited geographical coverage of health services, the insufficient number of socio-health facilities and staff, and insufficient supplies of medicine. To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee urges the State party to overcome the constraints preventing the implementation of existing strategies by, inter alia, ensuring the provision of primary health-care services for all pregnant women and children, focusing on the development of accessible health-care services with trained health-care providers and on interventions to reduce preventable and other diseases, particularly diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and undernutrition. Health-care services should include access to sanitation and clean drinking water.

Relation to other countries
Business sector

The Committee notes with satisfaction the information provided by the State party’s delegation relating to the existence of oil extraction and forest concession contract clauses that provide for the adoption of measures to protect the rights to health and education of children living in the areas of industrial activity. Nevertheless, the Committee is concerned that it is not mandatory under national law to carry out environmental and social impact assessments prior to the approval of investment projects likely to have an impact on children’s rights, particularly as a consequence of forced displacement and expropriation, pollution and damages to cultural assets and traditions.
To further improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector complies with international and national human rights, labour, environmental and other standards, particularly with regard to children’s rights.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee welcomes the information concerning improvements to the juvenile observation centre and its decree of remit and functioning, the availability of children’s judges and the recent use of daytime sociocultural reintegration centres for some children in detention. Nevertheless, the Committee is concerned that children’s judges are not always available and that children are placed in detention with adults, often in very difficult conditions. It is also concerned that children face difficulties in gaining access to legal aid. Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to establish specialized juvenile court facilities and procedures with adequate human, technical and financial resources, ensure that specialized judges for children are available throughout the State party and that all public officers dealing with juvenile justice receive appropriate education and training. Congo should also ensure the provision of qualified and impartial legal aid to children in conflict with the law at an early stage of the procedure and throughout the legal proceedings and promote alternative measures to detention, such as diversion, probation, mediation, counselling or community service, wherever possible, and ensure that detention is used as a last resort and for the shortest possible time and that it is reviewed on a regular basis with a view to ending it.

Specific observations

The Committee notes with appreciation the birth registration strategic plan for the period 2009–2013 and the abolishment of fees for late birth registration as mentioned by the State party delegation during the dialogue. Nevertheless, the Committee remains concerned about the large number of children that are still not registered, the existence of unofficial payments attached to late birth registration, the insufficient number of civil registry offices in remote areas and the insufficient awareness of the importance of registration. It also notes with concern that the one-month limit for families to register births increases difficulties and costs for families. To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to establish an efficient and accessible birth registration system covering its entire territory, including by empowering chiefs of villages in remote areas to register civil status, so that all children are registered immediately after birth. The Committee also urges the State party to ensure that undue payments are not imposed.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the second to fourth periodic reports released on 25 February 2015.
Last Updated (date)22nd of February, 2022