Traditionally, children in Congolese society are highly regarded. Today however, current social problems have made the child’s place in society more ambiguous. Living under extremely difficult conditions, children have become a responsibility which parents, trapped by their own inability to provide for the family, attempt to dispose of, using various false pretexts. Left to fend for themselves, some children are forced into acts which can place them in conflict with their community and with the law. The deterioration of the legal system in DR Congo constitutes an additional concern.
This current state of affairs has had dramatic consequences for juvenile justice. Whether the child is under suspicion, accused, convicted or the victim of a crime, the word of his accuser or attacker prevails, as does the word of the police and legal or prison authorities. The child is not a legal subject, he is subjected to fair or unfair, often inappropriate, routines which can harm his development and his sense of balance, and can ruin his chance of a future.
This project proposes advocacy, training and support for the target groups, designed to promote and popularize “Best Practices” in the treatment of young offenders and of child victims of rights violations. These children have access to centres, with various tools providing them with sources of information and means of expression (theatre, radio, Internet…).
They learn how to exercise their responsabilities and behave with respect for fundamental values. Families and civil society are also involved in simple actions to uphold children’s rights.
- For children in conflict with the law, access to efficient protective measures against all forms of violence and abuse inflicted upon them;
- Shelter, physical and psychological rehabilitation for children imprisoned by court order, or in some form of alternative imprisonment (improvement of detention conditions for minors…);
- Basic education and professional training;
- School and social rehabilitation for liberated minors and for those suffering family breakdown;
- Support for children who are in rehabilitation;
- Acts of advocacy to child protection agencies;
- Capacity building for state agents and members of civil society in the area of child protection;
- Training and evaluation of 480 members of Local Committees for the Protection of Children, to set up operational community relays in the 7 zones covered by the project;
- Support of journalist networks to promote children’s rights (networks created and supported by BICE).
Each year, the project supports:
- 3500 children deprived of liberty or in conflict with the law,
- 200 state employees (police, legal and social workers),
- 250 members of civil society (NGOs, families, local associations, members of local committees for the protection and promotion of children’s rights),
- 140 media professionals