"Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner's report on the Democratic Republic of Congo and final report of experts on Kasai A/HRC/45/49, A/HRC/45/50
Agenda Item 10: Technical assistance and capacity-building"
Statement by: International-Lawyers.org
2 October 2020
Thank you President.
We thank the High Commissioner for Human Rights for her report on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. International Lawyers and Geneva International Centre for Justice reaffirm the need to prosecute and punish all perpetrators of human rights violations. However, we must emphasize the equal need for protection of the rights of the accused and all detainees.
No one should have impunity for grave human rights violations, as this itself is a denial of the victim’s right to justice. At the same time, though, prisoners have rights that must be respected and upheld. Arrested persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may face extended detention periods without a trial or progress made toward the investigation and prosecution of their case. Many prisons within the country face issues of significant overcrowding and a deficiency in appropriate services for prisoners, particularly a lack of sufficient medical care.
This issue is acutely serious in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prisons can easily become hotbeds for the transmission of COVID-19, especially when they face issues of overcrowding.
We, therefore, urge the Council to recommend steps that can be taken to ensure that justice is carried out while protecting the prisoner and detainee population within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including but not limited to the reduction of prison populations and the provision of all appropriate medical care.