DR Congo - Convention Against Torture - Detention Conditions - March 2019
Country: Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Detention , Diaspora Engagement , Expression and Opinion , Human Rights Defenders , International Advocacy , Torture
Mechanism: UN Committee against Torture
Democratic Republic of the Congo’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 66th Session of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (23 April - 17 May 2019)
On March 22, 2019, the Advocates for Human Rights submitted a report to the 66th Session of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s compliance with the Convention.
The report addressed torture of people in detention, impunity for perpetrators, conditions of detention, and the unique dangers to people involved with opposition parties and human rights organizations. The government arbitrarily detains critics and systematically engages in torture at both official and unofficial detention sites. Despite the introduction of reforms to security training, no actions have been taken to hold perpetrators accountable. In detention, prisoners face dire conditions. Overcrowding and violence are endemic. Food, water, sanitation, and medical are inadequate, so prisoners rely on external support from family members, churches, and NGOs to meet basic needs. Finally, the report addresses the unique abuses against political opposition and human rights activists, who the government often arrest for national security violations.
The report offers possible suggestions to the State party, including:
- Establish an independent mechanism for investigating complaints of torture or ill-treatment at the hands of members of police or security forces ensuring that law enforcement officials continue to receive investigative training in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol.
- Ensure that confessions obtained under torture are systematically rejected by the courts.
- Continue prison reform efforts and ensure conditions of all detention comply with the Nelson Mandela Rules, particularly with respect to overcrowding, access to food and water, adequate sanitation, and medical care.