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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Represented by 15-member delegation headed by Mrs. Wivine MUMBA MATIPA, Minister of Justice of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Democratic Republic of the Congo page on the UPR website

Troika *

Algeria, Kuwait and the United States of America

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo page on the UPR Extranet **)

  • Since the first cycle of the UPR the DRC has made exceptional efforts in promoting human rights throughout the country implementing recommendations which were posed during this review;
  • Political and diplomatic initiatives of the Government have led to the signing of many agreements for peace and the democratic process in the country including the Addis Ababa agreement and the Nairobi declarations; The armed forces of the DRC have been able to supress the M23 movement which has committed numerous human rights violations throughout the country;
  • The DRC has taken major initiatives in better promoting and protecting human rights including the reform of the justice system and improving the legal framework for human rights;
  • The Government has also taken a number of measures to combat impunity; the law of April 2013, in particular, has been promulgated to this end;
  • Efforts have been taken to ensure that domestic laws were in line with international agreements acceded to by the Government;
  • A new law amending the Labour Code has been enacted providing better social services for women and efforts have also been made to ensure the gender wage gap was reduced; Moreover, women’s participation in political and public life has also been a priority of the Government;
  • The DRC recently established the national commission for human rights in compliance with the Paris Principles, a bill for which was to be presented to Parliament soon;
  • Combatting sexual violence was a priority of the Government; since late 2009 a national strategy to combat sexual violence was adopted which initially targeted the Eastern part of the country and has now been extended throughout the country;
  • The Government set up a national gender policy and an action plan to implement Security Council resolution 1325 and the President would soon nominate a personal representative charged with combatting sexual and gender-based violence pursuant to the agreement signed with the UN Secretary-General on 30 March 2013 which was followed up by an action plan currently underway;
  • In October 2012, the DRC Government signed with a UN team an action plan to combat the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and security forces of the Country in accordance with Security Council resolutions; The Government also set up eight new courts for children in 10 provinces and took steps to rehabilitate and reintegrate children into society and the school system; Over 2,800 children have been removed from armed groups;
  • The Criminal Code was being amended to ensure it was in line with the Rome Statute of the ICC to which the DRC was a State party; No death penalty has been carried out in the country;
  • The head of delegation responded to a series of questions posed by States prior to the meeting pertaining to: Rome Statute of the ICC, combatting sexual and gender-based violence, recruitment of child soldiers, prison and detention conditions, cooperation with human rights bodies and civil society, discrimination against women and accession to human rights conventions.  

Participants

In total 94 States participated in the dialogue:  35 HRC members and 59 observers  (Statements available on the Democratic Republic of the Congo page on the UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The approval of the action plan to combat the recruitment of child soldiers and to remove children from within the ranks of the army;
  • The creation of the National Human Rights Commission;
  • The signing of the Nairobi Declarations, which formally ended hostilities with the M23;
  • The ratification of the OPCAT and the de facto moratorium on the death penalty;
  • Efforts to combat torture and sexual violence;
  • The close cooperation with the international community in the preparation of the UPR report.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence, ensure accountability and rehabilitate victims;
  • Steps to combat recruitment of child soldiers and to demobilise reintegrate and rehabilitate them;
  • Measures taken to formally and legally abolish the death penalty;
  • Plans to fully implement the provisions of the Rome Statue of the ICC;
  • Efforts to ensure the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly were fully respected;
  • Steps taken to ensure journalists and human rights defenders were able to pursue their activities freely and without intimidation.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To intensify efforts to implement its reintegration and rehabilitation policies for victims of gender-based violence and to ensure that perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence were consistently brought to justice;
  • To establish a national agency aimed at preventing sexual and gender-based violence and at ensuring access to justice for the victims and to provide gender-sensitive human rights education to police and military; To strictly enforce the 2006 law on sexual violence and its zero tolerance policy;
  • To ensure the non-recruitment of minors into the armed forces, fully implement the plan of action to combat the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and to ensure that children associated with armed groups were treated in line with international human rights law;
  • To hold accountable security forces who committed human rights violations including those involving child soldier recruitment and sexual violence;
  • To take further measures to eliminate child labour and to formulate a related national strategy;
  • To ensure that free primary education was extended throughout the country and to allocate adequate funding to improve the education system;
  • To take concrete steps to formally and legally abolish the death penalty; To fully implement the Rome Statute of the ICC and to adopt legislation in that regard;
  • To create a strong and independent judiciary and to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the fight against impunity for all human rights violations;
  • To ensure that the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly were respected and that all citizens, including journalists and human rights defenders, were able to pursue their activities without intimidation;
  • To ensure that all perpetrators of violence against journalists and human rights defenders were brought to justice; To quickly adopt the law on protection of human rights defenders;
  • To speed up efforts to ensure the functioning of the National Human Rights Commission in accordance with the Paris Principles;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: The CRPD, the Convention relating to the status of stateless persons, the OP-CEDAW, OP-ICESCR, 3rd OP-CRC, 2nd OP-ICCPR, the Convention on enforced disappearances, and UNESCO Convention against discrimination in education. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on the Democratic Republic of the Congo is scheduled to take place on Friday, 2 May 2014

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

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                             Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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