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19 June 2017 | 13:56

Examination of the rights of the child in DR Congo at the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Examination of the rights of the child in DR Congo at the Committee on the Rights of the Child
© Y. Agbetse

On January 18th and 19th, 2017, the Committee on the Rights of the Child examined the situation of the rights of the child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child analysed the rights of the child in DR Congo in the light of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC).

Examination of DR Congo: BICE attended the pre-session in June 2016

BICE and its member organisations of DR Congo – Bureau National Catholique de l’Enfance en RDC (BNCE-RDC), Programme d’Encadrement des Enfants de la Rue (PEDER) and Groupe des Hommes Voués au Développement Intercommunautaire (GHOVODI) – had previously submitted an alternative report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The list of questions that was drawn up integrating the main concerns raised by BICE and its partners in the alternative report was influenced by an active advocacy with experts.

The list of questions aimed at obtaining more precise and detailed information from the Congolese Government.

Relevant questions submitted to the Government of DR Congo

The Committee’s experts especially asked the Congolese Government about children in conflict with the law, child victims of sexual violence and street children.

They also asked the Government of DR Congo about birth registration and enforcement actions of the Law of January 10th, 2009 on child protection.

Adoption of enforcement actions of the Law of January 10th, 2009

In DR Congo, the Government should provide detailed information about:

  • The training of agents in charge of its implementation;
  • Public awareness and resource allocation;
  • The functioning of the National Council for Children that was established by law;
  • The adoption of a child protection national policy.

Children in conflict with the law

The Committee’s experts asked the Congolese Government about:

  • Torture in prison settings;
  • The functioning of juvenile courts;
  • The training of magistrates;
  • Statistics on children living in institutions or in a foster family, on detention centres and on reception and rehabilitation centres;
  • The average length of detention.

Child victims of sexual violence

The Government should justify the high rate of rape and other forms of sexual violence against girls and provide precise and detailed information about the causes, the impunity of perpetrators, the assistance and rehabilitation services provided to the victims and the protection of victims against retaliation from the perpetrators.

Street children called “witch children”

The DR Congo was required to provide information about:

  • How children at risk, including street children, are identified, rehabilitated and protected;
  • Children accused of witchcraft;
  • Children suffering from albinism;
  • Orphans;
  • Unaccompanied and separated children.

Birth registration

The Government should justify the low rate of birth registration (25%) and its decline in some provinces like in North Kivu.

The Congolese Government should provide details about the State action, including how the age of a child who does not have a birth certificate is determined.

Sometimes, the provided answers evaded some of the questions that the Committee’s experts asked again to the Congolese delegation during the examination on January 18th and 19th, 2017. The Committee made recommendations in its concluding observations.