Congo (Democratic Republic)

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

8,612

New asylum applications

2019

523,733

Refugees

2019

89,600,000

Population

2020

Overview

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

12 October 2020

WPF Staff Member Standing Behind Checkpoint, (Ben Anguandia, WFP,
WPF Staff Member Standing Behind Checkpoint, (Ben Anguandia, WFP, "With Conflict and Covid-19 Deepening Hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo, More Help is Needed to Save Millions of Lives," 14 August 2020, https://reliefweb.int/report/democratic-republic-congo/conflict-and-covid-19-deepening-hunger-democratic-republic-congo)

As of 12 October 2020, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had detected 10,851 cases of COVID-19 and recorded 276 deaths due to the disease. In addition to outbreaks of cholera, the Ebola virus, and measles, the country now has to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that “this latest crisis, whose socio-economic and health consequences will be felt for some time, is overloading systems of health care and essential services that are already struggling, particularly in the east of the country where armed violence and conflict continues to exact a heavy toll on the local population.” The World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that four in ten of DRC’s 100 millions people are food insecure, with 15.6 million suffering “crisis” or “emergency” hunger.

According to the UNHCR, following the fifth extension of the state of emergency on 4 July, 14 provinces are now affected by the virus, with notable numbers of cases in the eastern provinces of South Kivu (141 cases) and North Kivu (106 cases), which host refugees and internally displaced persons. UNHCR said that there were growing fears that COVID-19 may also reach refugee-hosting areas of northern DRC.

The UN Refugee Agency also reported that in early June, there were repeated incursions by the South Sudanese army into refugee-hosting areas in DRC despite border closures, leading refugees and locals to flee. On 17 and 18 May, around 45,000 people had attempted to flee towards the Ugandan border with the DRC shortly after deadly militia attacks on civilians in Ituri province. Many have been left unable to return to their homes and in consequence, on 1 July, Uganda agreed to temporarily open its borders. Approximately 1,500 asylum-seekers entered the country through Guladjo and Mount Zeu crossing points.

UNHCR reported that it was installing handwashing stations in refugee camps and IDP sites across DRC, while distributing soap and disinfecting community infrastructures. By 29 June, 3,125 handwashing stations had been installed across DRC (including 269 donated to authorities and 441 to health structures), over 102,000 people received soap, and 2,069 community infrastructures had been disinfected. UNHCR estimated that a total of 1.2 million refugees, internally displaced persons, and host community members had been reached by awareness-raising sessions on COVID-19 by 29 June. Following the DRC Government’s request to close displacement sites in Kalemie (Tanganyika province), UNHCR provided assistance for the voluntary return of a total of 9,003 people living in Kaseke and Kakomba displacement sites. More recently, the organisation reported that it had assisted authorities in establishing medical checkpoints and containment sites.

UNHCR also stated that the country currently hosts over half a million refugees - mainly from Rwanda, Burundi and the Central African Republic (CAR), and South Sudan. In South Ubangi’s Mole Refugee camp, further resources are required to ensure that 15,000 refugees from CAR have access to the minimum water requirement of 20 litres per person per day. UNHCR said this was “particularly important now, when, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, refugees and their host communities need potable water to protect them against endemic cholera and what is now the world’s longest running measles crisis.”

The ICRC stated that it had requested that DRC authorities reduce overcrowding in prisons and release vulnerable detainees who are serving a short sentence and are at greater risk from COVID-19 (i.e. those who are ill or old). DRC jails are among the world’s most overcrowded according to the UN, with inmates living in squalid conditions and meagre rations. In September 2020, the UN reported that 52 inmates at the Bunia prison had starved to death so far this year as a result of the government’s failure to devote enough funding. The prison operates at nearly 500% capacity. Malnutrition is reportedly common in DRC jails as food portions are allotted based on the facilities’ normal capacity, rather than their real population. The ICRC said that it had engaged in dialogue with prison and judicial authorities on respect for detainees’ rights and judicial guarantees, and monitored detainees’ treatment and conditions.

In a bid to alleviate overcrowding and protect prisoners from an outbreak of COVID-19, authorities have released certain detainees. On 14 August, 73 people detained at the Kalemie prison were released by a presidential decree. Another decree from 30 June led to the release of 79 people from the Kangbayi prison as well as the release of 129 detainees from the Bunia prison. On 14 May, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provided 4,000 face masks to the Ndolo prison and the World Health Organisation (WHO) installed two isolation tents within the Makala prison facility to care for ill detainees.

Many coronavirus cases have now been detected within the country’s prison system. The first case was identified in the Kayiti prison on 10 June and in response, the facility was isolated and movement to and from the facility was completely suspended. Yet, in August, a testing campaign in the Amuru prison revealed that 153 prisoners tested positive for the virus among the 205 prisoners. A staff member also tested positive and in consequence, the whole facility was confined during 28 days. Subsequently on 9 and 11 September, 76 prisoners at Kitgum prison and 30 others at the Moroto prison tested positive for the virus.

While authorities have taken certain measures to alleviate overcrowding in the country’s criminal prisons and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the GDP has been unable to find reports indicating that authorities have adopted any measures to assist migrants. The GDP has also been unable to establish the extent to which detention facilities are used in the DRC as part of immigration enforcement policies or obtain any details about whether any COVID-19 related measures have been taken in the country to safeguard people who are in custody for immigration reasons, including as part of deportation proceedings.


Last updated:

ENFORCEMENT DATA

Total Detainees/ Stock & Flow (Year)
Not Available
2019
Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
Not Available
2017
Criminal Prison Population (Year)
20,550
2015
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
29
2015
33
2010

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
89,600,000
2020
77,267,000
2015
International Migrants (Year)
545,700
2015
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
0.7
2015
Refugees (Year)
523,733
2019
529,061
2018
537,087
2017
451,947
2016
383,095
2015
119,754
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
5.67
2017
1.6
2014
New Asylum Applications (Year)
8,612
2019
423
2016
131
2014
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
25
2014
Stateless Persons (Year)
0
2016
0
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
442
2014
Remittances to the Country
35
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
2,398.2
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
176 (Low)
2015

B. Attitudes and Perceptions

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

GROUNDS FOR MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

LENGTH OF MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

DETENTION MONITORS

TRANSPARENCY

READMISSION/RETURN/EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS

COVID-19

HEALTH CARE

COVID-19 DATA

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
OPCRPD, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2015
2015
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2015
2015
OPCAT, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
2010
2010
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
2005
2005
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
1996
1996
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1990
1990
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1986
1986
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1976
1976
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1976
1976
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
1976
1976
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1976
1976
PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1975
1975
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1965
1965
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 13/19
Individual Complaints Procedures
Acceptance Year
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2015
2015
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1976
1976
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
1/7
2017

NON-TREATY-BASED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Relevant Recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2010
2017
No 2014
2017

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Regional Legal Instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
Observation Date
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1987
1987
2017
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) 2008
2008
2017

GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

Legal Tradition(s)
Civil law
2017
Customary law
2017

DETENTION COSTS

OUTSOURCING

FOREIGN SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DETENTION OPERATIONS