DR Congo

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CountryDR Congo
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
ViolenceThe Committee expresses its deep concern that the rate of sexual violence against children, notably rape, reportedly remains high, and that rape and other types of sexual violence against women and children are used as weapons of war in conflict-affected areas of the country. Also, children surviving sexual violence receive little access to health care, psychological support and compensation and perpetrators of rape and sexual violence against children enjoy impunity.In order to improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to develop a national plan of action to combat sexual violence and sexual abuse against children, both by civilians and in the context of the armed conflict. In addition, the State party should conduct a study on the extent and forms of sexual violence against children and sexual abuse of children, both by civilians and in the context of armed conflict, and collect disaggregated data on gender-based violence against girls, as well as on the number of complaints, prosecutions and convictions.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care and penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report of the Democratic Republic of the Congo points out clearly that the views of children are not sufficiently heard.
In addition, the Committee notes that less than half of the population and an even greater number of children do not have access to potable water and only one-fifth of the population has access to sanitation and hygiene. The State Party must make more efforts to overcome child poverty. Many children also experience violence emanating the state or through armed conflicts.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned about the continued practice of female genital mutilation in some parts of the country, in particular in Mweso, North Kivu, which remains largely unreported. The Committee also urges the State party to put an end to the practice of female genital mutilation by raising awareness of the harmful effects of the practice and bringing to justice those who carry out the practice and those who collaborate with such practitioners.

Situation of children with disabilities

The vast majority of children with disabilities face discrimination and have limited access to services, including health and education services. Children with mental disabilities, namely intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, are confined to psychiatric clinics. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the Democratic Republic of the Congo implement inclusive education for all children with disabilities in mainstream schools and provide training for professional staff working with children with disabilities, such as medical, paramedical and related personnel, teachers and social workers.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenIn view of the fact that large numbers of children continue to be internally displaced owing to the armed conflict in the eastern part of the country and the significant numbers of refugees arriving from neighbouring countries, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to ensure that all refugees and displaced persons, particularly children, are provided with adequate and appropriate assistance, including food, medical and psychological care and access to education. The Committee further recommends that the State party establish a coherent database and national programmes for refugee and internally displaced children, with a view to ensuring full protection of their rights.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
physical health

As budgetary resources for the health sector remain very low and access to health and health services is made difficult by poor infrastructure and equipment, the poor quality of services and the lack of qualified personnel, as well as the fact that children continue to suffer from malnutrition and the effects of inadequate immunization, the Committee recommends that the State party increase its allocation of resources for primary health care to make it both accessible and affordable. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to improve immunization rates, particularly through the proper functioning of the cold chain and through increased and better dissemination of information on vaccination campaigns.

Relation to other countries
Impacts of climate change

Extractive industries continue to cause the destruction of lands, ecosystems and the livelihoods of families, in particular indigenous families with children, and forcing them into situations of internal displacement. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that extractive industries comply with international and national human rights, labour, environment and other standards.

Business sector

Given that large numbers of children, including indigenous children, continue to be exploited in the extractive industries in extremely hazardous conditions, mainly in the east of the country, with high risk to their lives, health and development, as well as in the informal sector, the Committee urges the State party to eliminate all forms of exploitation of child labour, especially in extractive industries, and take measures to investigate, prosecute and punish those who are responsible, as well as raise public awareness of the harmful effects of such labour and child labour in general on children’s health and development.

Situation of juvenile justice

While noting the establishment of a police unit responsible for protecting children, given the fact that children, especially those suspected of association with armed groups, are ill-treated by the police and detained in dire conditions, the Committee recommends that the State party take the measures necessary to prevent, and protect children from, ill-treatment in detention centres.

To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and ensure the provision of free, qualified and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law at an early stage of the procedure and throughout the legal proceedings. Also, in cases where detention is unavoidable, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that the children are not detained together with adults and that detention conditions are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services. Furthermore, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that children are protected and not affected in the anti-crime campaigns of the State party and provide physical and psychological rehabilitation for victims of such campaigns.

Specific observations

The Committee takes note of the information provided by the State party regarding the establishment of the national identification office, which will be tasked with providing all Congolese nationals with identification, but expresses its grave concern that, at the moment, rates of birth registration remain extremely low and continue to decrease, especially in North Kivu, rendering children vulnerable to statelessness and limiting their access to social benefits and services. The Committee is also concerned at reports that such low rates are due to the lack of information provided to parents on the importance of birth registration, the negligence of parents, the long distances that must be travelled to access civil registration offices, which are under resourced, slow administrative processes, the associated hidden costs for parents and caregivers, and continuous armed conflicts, which lead to a constant movement of the population in affected areas.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports released on 28 February 2017. More information about education: Constitution de la Republique du Congo

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022