OHCHR in Democratic Republic of the Congo
The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) is comprised of the MONUSCO Human Rights Division (established in 2000) and the former Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC (established in 1996).
Type of engagement
Human rights component in peace mission
Head Office in Kinshasa with 11 field offices across the country
Annual budget needs
- The UNJHRO provided technical advice on draft legislation to strengthen human rights protection. The UNJHRO also supported the National Human Rights Commission and the new Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, established on 23 March 2019 following UNJHRO advocacy. This resulted in the adoption of draft laws on the protection of human rights defenders, peaceful demonstrations, access to information and the protection of people with disabilities.
- Engagement with the joint Follow-up Committee on the prevention of COVID-19 in prisons led to the implementation of measures to prevent the spread of the virus in detention facilities, including the release of at least 3,222 detainees by 10 August 2020. In addition, as a result of UNJHRO advocacy, a minimum service was established in the judicial system during the pandemic. The UNJHRO is providing human rights guidance to national authorities and shares best practices on pandemic-related human rights issues.
- The UNJHRO led successful initiatives by MONUSCO to combat CRSV, including comprehensive action plans, in collaboration with UN partners and Congolese authorities. Implementation of the Shabunda Action Plan in 2019 in South Kivu led to a 72% reduction in cases of CRSV in the targeted area and the conviction of an armed group leader for crimes against humanity. The UNJHRO also established a nationwide "Access to Justice" program for victims of sexual violence, contributed to a draft law on reparations for victims and developed a UN Comprehensive Strategy against Sexual Violence in Conflict, which was included in the DRC's national strategy. Following UNJHRO advocacy, in November 2019 an action plan against sexual violence by the PNC was endorsed by the Minister of Interior, and in December 2019, the Prime Minister signed an addendum to the Joint Communique between the Government of the DRC and the UN on the Fight Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, updating the commitments of the Government to combat CRSV. During the pandemic, the UNJHRO has worked with the Ministries of Gender and Health to provide distance psychological and legal assistance to victims of gender-based violence through the establishment of a national tollfree line.
- Between January and September 2020, through its individual protection programme, the UNJHRO put measures in place for the protection of 360 human rights defenders, 33 victims and 59 journalists.
- The UNJHRO continued to support the implementation of the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, screening 738 members of the security forces and conducting 238 risk assessments of security forces between January and September 2020.
- Jointly with the UNCT, the UNJHRO has launched four projects with funding from the UN Secretary General's Peacebuilding Fund to support transitional justice and peace consolidation in Kasai, Kasai Central, Tanganyika and South Kivu provinces. In Kasai Central, following public consultations on the need for justice and reparations organised through one of these projects, the provincial government has introduced a draft bill to establish a provincial Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- UNJHRO's monthly and thematic public reports ensure that the human rights situation is kept in the spotlight. Recent public reports include a January 2020 report in on "The conflict in Djugu territory, Ituri province, between December 2017 and September 2019"; a July 2020 report on "Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Allied Democratic Forces armed group and by members of the defense and security forces in Beni territory, North Kivu province and Irumu and Mambasa territories, Ituri province, between 1 January 2019 and 31 January 2020", and a report on "The human rights situation in the highlands of Mwenga, Fizi and Uvira territories, South Kivu province, between February 2019 and June 2020.
Partners and Donors
Partners: UN agencies, International and regional organizations, Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo including Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Persons with Disabilities and Vulnerable People, National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, local civil society organizations, Bureau du Représentant personnel du chef de l’Etat en matière de lutte contre les violences sexuelles en conflit et le recrutement d’enfants.
Donors: Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, Norway, Peacebuilding Support Office.
UN Human Rights Focus Areas
Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes
Development: Integrating human rights in sustainable development
Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations
Non-discrimination: Enhancing equality and countering discrimination
Participation: Enhancing and protecting civic space and people’s participation
Peace and Security: Early warning, prevention and protection of human rights in situations of conflict and insecurity
People on the move
Last reviewed: November 2020