ReliefWeb Latest Reports for Country Office

South Sudan: South Sudan Crisis Report 46 January 2017 – ECHO Daily Map | 20/01/2017

Uganda - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 41 min ago
Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

South Sudan: South Sudan Crisis Report 46 January 2017 – ECHO Daily Map | 20/01/2017

Sudan - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 41 min ago
Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

South Sudan: South Sudan Crisis Report 46 January 2017 – ECHO Daily Map | 20/01/2017

Kenya - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 41 min ago
Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

South Sudan: South Sudan Crisis Report 46 January 2017 – ECHO Daily Map | 20/01/2017

Ethiopia - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 41 min ago
Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

South Sudan: South Sudan Crisis Report 46 January 2017 – ECHO Daily Map | 20/01/2017

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 41 min ago
Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

South Sudan: South Sudan Crisis Report 46 January 2017 – ECHO Daily Map | 20/01/2017

CAR - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 41 min ago
Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

Philippines: DSWD provides P6.4M worth of assistance to affected families by the cold front

Philippines - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 7 min ago
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

A total of P6,415,628.36 worth of relief assistance was provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to affected families of the cold front in Regions NIR, VII, VII, X, and CARAGA.

The said amount is part of the augmentation support of the Department to the affected Local Government Units (LGUs) which has provided P866,850.54 worth of relief assistance.

To date, there are 58,334 families or 276,860 persons in 482 barangays in the aforementioned regions affected by the tail end of the cold front.

Of the said number, 30,794 families or 157,465 persons are reported to be displaced with 17,237 families staying in 200 evacuation centers while the rest are with relatives or friends.

DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo has visited the affected regions to ensure the facilitation of the “maagap at may malasakit’ disaster response to the victims of the cold front which caused flooding and damages to properties and some infrastructures.

The Secretary assures the LGUs and the public that the Department has adequate resources to respond to the needs of the affected areas.

Secretary Taguiwalo said that the DSWD will continue to provide the disaster relief assistance even on weekends.

“Wala pong hinto ang ating paglilingkod. Makakaasa po kayo na kahit sabado at linggo ay patuloy ang paglabas ng DSWD ng tulong para sa ating mga kababayang sinalanta ng pagbaha (The provision of assistance is non-stop. Rest assured that the Department will continue to provide assistance for the families affected by the flooding even on Saturdays and Sundays,” Secretary Taguiwalo added.

As of yesterday, more relief goods have been provided to Region X, which was greatly affected by heavy flooding.

Meanwhile, DSWD, in coordination with the LGU of La Paz, Agusan del Sur has already distributed family food packs to the affected families yesterday.

Secretary Taguiwalo also explained that some relief goods are in plastic with the DSWD name while some are in boxes. “Iyon pong mga nasa boxes ay galing po sa dalawang warehouses natin na may mechanized production system, samantalang iyong naka plastic po ay nirerepack sa mga regional warehouses or offices na wala pang ganun kakayahan. Wag pong mag-alala ang ating mga kababayan dahil bagama’t magkaiba po ang packaging, pareho po ang laman ng food packs natin(The boxed food packs are produced in two warehouses of DSWD with mechanized production system, while the rest are manually packed in other regional warehouses/offices. We ask the public not to worry as even if the packaging is different, the content of the DSWD relief packs are the same).”

To date, the disaster Quick Response Teams (QRTs) in the affected regions are continuously monitoring the disaster operations, as well as conducting an assessment of the damages in partnership with the LGUs.

Sri Lanka: Indonesia to hand over two schools and aids for two communities in Rakhine State

Sri Lanka - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 14 min ago
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Indonesia, Sri Lanka

A ceremony to hand over aids and two schools donated by the Government of Indonesia to two communities in Maungtaw and Buthidaung in Rakhine State will be held in Sittway today.
The two schools, PKPU, an Indonesian NGO, had them built and aids will be handed over to Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi on behalf of the Indonesian Government.
The Indonesian Government had asked for the permission from the Government of Myanmar to donate the schools and deliver aids. Similarly, Malaysian is also asking for permission to send an aid ship to Myanmar officially and the Union Government has made arrangements for the aids in cooperation with the Malaysian Embassy in Myanmar in accordance with the rules and regulations.

Sri Lanka: Indonesia to hand over two schools and aids for two communities in Rakhine State

Indonesia - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 14 min ago
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Indonesia, Sri Lanka

A ceremony to hand over aids and two schools donated by the Government of Indonesia to two communities in Maungtaw and Buthidaung in Rakhine State will be held in Sittway today.
The two schools, PKPU, an Indonesian NGO, had them built and aids will be handed over to Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi on behalf of the Indonesian Government.
The Indonesian Government had asked for the permission from the Government of Myanmar to donate the schools and deliver aids. Similarly, Malaysian is also asking for permission to send an aid ship to Myanmar officially and the Union Government has made arrangements for the aids in cooperation with the Malaysian Embassy in Myanmar in accordance with the rules and regulations.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: MONUSCO Trains HIV Counsellors in Goma

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 5 hours 40 min ago
Source: UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Goma, 17 January, 2017 – In the fight against HIV and AIDS in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), MONUSCO has been supporting national institutions as well as the initiatives of the United Nations system in its efforts to response to issues of HIV through the innovative programme of activities of its HIV/AIDS Section. This also includes the effort to overcome stigma and discrimination related to AIDS as well as capacity-building of people involved in the fight against HIV.

At the end of a four-day workshop to train HIV Counsellors in the North Kivu Provincial capital, Goma, this initiative was said to have effectively supported individuals and communities that have been suffering the effect of this global epidemic. The training workshop brought together participants from the United Nations agencies represented in the North Kivu Province and was held at the UNFPA premises in Goma, in collaboration with UNAIDS.

According to the officials of the HIV/AIDS Section of MONUSCO, the goal of the training workshop was to build the capacity, increase the awareness and knowledge of participants regarding counselling on HIV and AIDS. It was also meant to build a consensus on how best to approach people living with HIV as well as those who may seek to know their HIV status through the Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing (VCCT) programme.

For four straight days, plenary lectures focused on the role of HIV Counsellors and on the reporting procedures. Emphasis was also placed on effective counselling strategies, along with the importance of proper HIV counselling initiative. Facilitators also called the attention of the participants to the importance of having proper counselling facilities that encourage people to seek VCCT services. All participants were then reminded that their role is also very vital in the fight against stigma and discrimination as well as a responsibility to draw out key issues related to the importance of doing early HIV test.

The training workshop ended with a closing plenary and feedback session involving all who helped to organize the workshop. At the close of the event, the Chief of HIV/AIDS Section, Joseph Balironda, who chaired the ceremony, thanked all the participants for accepting to sacrifice their time to attend the workshop. In a keynote remark, he highlighted the importance of the training workshop and said that it was taking place within the framework of the international approach towards HIV and AIDS.

While thanking UNFPA for opening the doors of their premises to host the training, he appreciated the efforts of UNAIDS and thanked them for helping to coordinate the training workshop. He equally used the occasion to stress the need for proper handling of people living with HIV as he encouraged early HIV testing.

“The most important aspect of this training is to empower you as change agent to implement the 90 90 90 campaign”, Balironda reminded his audiences while further explaining that this campaign means 90 percent of individuals must know their HIV status, 90 percent of those who know their HIV status must have access to care and support, and 90 percent of those who are accessing care and support must have their viral loads reduced.

“It is critically important that the skills that you have acquired in the course of this training are put to use because we can have the national and international frameworks, but without you being the change agent it would not be possible to turn the tide”, he continued. “This country is looking at you because you are now the right people to turn the tide. We are also looking at you to make sure that whatever you have been told is actually implemented”, he cautioned.

Presentations were also made by the representative of UNAIDS for the North and South Kivu Provinces who expressed gratitude to MONUSCO for making it possible for the training workshop to hold. He said that the training was very reach in content and urged participants to make good use of the knowledge gained during the four days of training. The participants agreed that the workshop had positively helped their counselling skills, and many were eager to counsel colleagues in their various organizations. As all were keen to continue collaborating with the HIV/AIDS Section, one of them said that the four-day training helped them to focus on the realities of HIV and AIDS in the DRC and particularly in the North Kivu Province.

“I am very happy and thankful for having participated in this training workshop. We are now ready and capable of counselling people living with HIV”, she says. “As HIV Focal Points in UN Agencies, we are going to do our best to be very active in HIV sensitization activities with the knowledge acquired during this training”.

It is also important to note that MONUSCO is building further on this work by bringing together all HIV Focal Points in UN agencies to deliberate, share initiatives, and give input into the HIV and AIDS policy of the United Nations Organization under the coordination of UNAIDS.

By Joseph Tabung Banah

occupied Palestinian territory: Gaza Crossings’ Operations Status: Monthly Update - December 2016

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 5 hours 48 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: occupied Palestinian territory

BACKGROUND

Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of 1.9 million Palestinians in that area. Many of the current restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the imposition of a blockade citing security concerns.
These restrictions continue to reduce access to livelihoods, essential services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future. The situation has been compounded by the restrictions imposed since June 2013 by the Egyptian authorities at Rafah Crossing, which had become the main crossing point used by Palestinian passengers in the Gaza Strip, given the above restrictions on the Israeli-controlled crossings.

Lebanon: European Union funds scholarship opportunities for Palestine refugees in Lebanon

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 5 hours 54 min ago
Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Country: Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory

Earlier today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) hosted a ceremony at the Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture in Beirut to honour 112 young Palestine refugee graduates and awardees of university scholarships funded by the European Union (EU) in Lebanon.

The ceremony was attended by the Head of the Cooperation Section from the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, Dr. Alexis Loeber; the Senior Counsellor at the Embassy of Palestine to Lebanon, Maher Moshail; the Communications Expert of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Iman Chams; and the UNRWA Deputy Director of Programmes in Lebanon, Gwyn Lewis; in addition to the UNRWA Scholarship Advisory Committee, UNRWA senior staff, representatives of partner Lebanese universities and students.

Since 2005, the European Union has contributed approximately EUR 12.5 million to support more than 600 beneficiaries through the UNRWA Scholarships Programme. Currently, only 6.2 per cent of Palestine refugees residing in Lebanon hold university degrees. The EU-funded scholarships help enable young Palestine refugees in Lebanon to attend university and cover a wide range of disciplines across engineering, sciences, social and economic sciences, and liberal arts.

Loeber said: “The EU is providing scholarships to Palestine refugees to improve their skills and employability opportunities. They are an example of hard work and motivation. They can greatly contribute to the social and economic development of the region. I invite other donors to support the UNRWA Scholarships Programme.”

Representing UNRWA, Ms. Lewis said, “UNRWA appreciates the significant contribution of the EU to scholarships for young Palestine refugees in Lebanon and for our continued partnership and cooperation.”

Congratulating the students and their families, Mr. Moshail said: “Despite the socioeconomic conditions faced by Palestinians in Lebanon, we remain certain of our abilities and hold on to education and hard work to make the dream of our people to return come true and preserve the right to self-determination.”

Ms. Chams addressed the students: “The well-deserved scholarships you received today come with a huge responsibility towards your community and the Palestinian cause. You demonstrated that you are resilient citizens who hold on to their rights. This makes you an example in the eyes of young Palestinians. Awarding these scholarships shows that education, books and a positive mindset will help you pave the road to return back to Palestine.”

Palestine refugee scholarship awardee Hoda Bhar, currently majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the Lebanese American University, noted: “Palestine refugees in Lebanon face restrictions in every aspect of their lives. I was lucky to have been offered a scholarship to continue my university education; I chose a specialization not traditionally associated with females in our community. I can demonstrate that girls are able to succeed and help their families and their community. I take this chance to thank the EU for their support and their positive impact on the lives of Palestine refugees.”

Expressing his gratitude to the European Union and the UNRWA Scholarships Programme for granting him this life-changing full university scholarship, Ali Basheer, a graduate from the Beirut Arab University in Computer Communications Engineering, said: “This scholarship made me closer to my career goals and solidified my belief that hard work will allow me to reach my goals.”

The ceremony concluded with the awarding of 38 new university scholarships and certificates of achievement to 73 graduates, made possible through the ‘European Union Scholarship Fund for Palestine Refugees in Lebanon.’

EU AND UNRWA: TOGETHER FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES

Since 1971, the European Union and UNRWA have maintained a strategic partnership governed by the shared objective to support the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees and promote stability in the Middle East. Today, the European Union is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees. This reliable and predictable support from the European Union enables UNRWA to provide daily quality education for roughly half a million children and primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. The partnership between the European Union and UNRWA has allowed millions of Palestine refugees to be better educated, live healthier lives, access employment opportunities and improve their living conditions, thus contributing to the development of the entire region.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

Iraq: Gogjali-Samar Inter-Cluster Mission Report, 10 January 2017

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 22 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Iraq

An Inter-Cluster mission led by UNOCHA and comprising Food Security, Logistics, Health, WASH, Child Protection, and Shelter-NFIs, accompanied by a WFP Security Officer, visited Gogjali and Al Samah neighbourhoods on 10 January. Child Protection also reported on Education.
Gogjali and Al Samah were among the first of the eastern Mosul City neighbourhoods to be retaken by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) following the commencement of the military campaign on 17 October and both locations have received humanitarian assistance since. Security concerns have persisted however, among a number of humanitarian partners and this was heightened by an ISIL attack in Gogjali on 22 December resulting in multiple casualties.

A UN access assessment led by CMCoord took place in Gogjai on 2 January and concluded that the district was sufficiently secure for continued assessment missions and distributions. A principle objective of the Inter Cluster mission eight days later was to highlight to other interested humanitarian partners that Gogjali was open for business in efforts to scale up engagement in the east of the city.
The Inter Cluster mission found the situation to be calm in Gogjali as well as in Samar. A number of armoured personnel carriers were seem moving westwards and there was sporadic outgoing artillery fire, however, shops and businesses were open and there was little sense that a major military operation was on going several kilometres away.

Preparations for the mission took place in close liaison with the office of the Deputy Governor for East Mosul, Mr. Hassan Alaf, as well as the Mayor of Mosul,

Mr. Hussein Ali. Both had expressed recent concerns about the lack of communication and coordination between their offices and international organisations working in eastern Mosul. Another principle objective of the mission was to enhance and improve the working relationship with the Mosul City authorities as a basis for future planning, information sharing and collaboration.

A meeting took place on arrival at a municipal office that included the Mayor as well as senior representatives from a number of technical departments from Ninewa governorate: Health, WASH, Education and Structural Maintenance. This was followed afterwards by a visit to a warehouse, Al-Arkan primary health care centre in Al Samah neighbourhood, as well as a school and water facility. The Mayor and a number of his team joined the site visits.

Iraq: IOM Shelters Iraqis Displaced by Mosul Operations at Al-Qayara Emergency Site [EN/AR]

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 43 min ago
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Iraq

Iraq, 20 January 2017 - Al-Qayara emergency site in Ninewa governorate, Iraq, constructed by IOM in cooperation with the Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoMD), is now hosting 18,543 individuals (3,224 families), all of whom fled their homes due to military operations in the Mosul corridor.

Since the emergency site opened in early December it has received almost daily arrivals from Mosul and adjacent districts in Ninewa governorate, Hawija district (Kirkuk governorate) and Shirqat (Salah al-Din governorate). IOM staff are setting up additional tents, delivering non-food item (NFI) kits, and providing psychosocial and health services, in cooperation with the Ninewa Department of Health. The site is managed by humanitarian partner agencies.

A total of 3,440 tents are occupied; an additional 146 families are staying in rub halls or sharing tents with relatives inside the camp while awaiting tent assignment. A total of 5,000 tents will be ready by the end of January. Another 2,000 tents will be ready in mid-March, and 3,000 more in April for an eventual capacity of 10,000 tent plots, to accommodate more than 60,000 people.

Recent upgrades at the site include installation of concrete bases, to provide tents with thermal protection from the ground. More than 3,900 of the 5,000 planned tent bases have already been laid. Storm drainage works have been completed and storm drainage around the tents has been widened to withstand heavy winter rains and prevent flooding. These upgrades are funded by the EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO).

Hundreds of NFI kits funded by ECHO and the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) are currently stockpiled at the site to be given to families on their arrival.

Abu Husam fled his hometown of Al-Shirqat on a rainy night in December with his wife, four young children, two cousins and their families. “We had to cross the Tigris River. We took a boat, but during our crossing ISIL started shooting at us and the boat began to take on water. I was able to pull my wife and children to the other side and thankfully all of us arrived safely.”

“We were received by (Iraqi) military personnel, who brought us to the Al-Qayara emergency site. We arrived wet and cold, but safe. The materials we received – a heater, carpet, mattresses and blankets – help us to stay warm. Each family has their own tent in Al-Qayara,” he said.

“I am working as a daily worker in the camp, often loading and unloading relief kits, and doing construction. We would like to return home eventually, but will need to wait because our village is heavily damaged,” he added.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss visited Al-Qayara emergency site on Thursday, 19 January. He spoke with site residents about their situation and needs, and met with the MoMD representative for Ninewa Governorate.

“The Ministry of Displacement and Migration and IOM Iraq complement each other in their work to rapidly accommodate thousands of people displaced by Mosul operations. Thanks to support from our donors and humanitarian partners, in just a few weeks this site has rapidly developed in order to meet the needs of displaced Iraqis, including shelter, health, and psychosocial services. We will continue to provide shelter and humanitarian services for vulnerable displaced Iraqis until they can return to their homes," he noted.

To provide work opportunities for displaced Iraqis at Al-Qayara, site contractors are employing residents on a rotational basis to carry out daily labour for site construction. The system provides many residents with an opportunity to earn money to support their families.

IOM is constructing a second emergency site in Haj Ali, also in Ninewa governorate. More than 200 displaced families (over 1,000 individuals) are already accommodated in tents. Over the coming months Haj Ali will be expanded to 7,500 tent plots. The combined capacity of the Haj Ali and Al-Qayara sites will provide shelter for over 100,000 individuals.

Support for Mosul Crisis Response has been provided to IOM through financial and in-kind contributions from OFDA, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), ECHO, the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), UN-OCHA, and the Governments of Canada, Kuwait, Germany, Sweden, and New Zealand.

Three months into the Mosul military operations, cumulatively, an estimated 182,220 individuals (30,370 families) have been displaced. Of these 23,292 individuals (3,882 families) have returned to their areas of origin. The IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking has identified 158,928 individuals (26,488 families) that are still currently displaced.

Of those currently displaced, 72 percent are living in camp settings, while 14 percent are living in private settings and 12 percent in emergency sites. Around 1 percent are living in critical shelter arrangements such as unfinished or repurposed buildings.

The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at:

http://iraqdtm.iom.int/EmergencyTracking.aspx.

Read the latest:

DTM Emergency Tracking: Mosul Operations Factsheet and

DTM Emergency Tracking: Mosul Operations Snapshot.

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq.

Sandra Black, Tel. +964 751 234 550, Email: sblack@iom.int

Hala Jaber, Tel. +964 751 740 1654, Email: hjaberbent@iom.int

Jennifer Sparks, Tel: +964 751 740 1642, Email: jsparks@iom.int

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Le Comité des droits de l'enfant examine les rapports de la République démocratique du Congo

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 7 hours 12 min ago
Source: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

GENEVE (19 janvier 2017) - Le Comité des droits de l'enfant a examiné, hier après-midi et aujourd'hui les rapports présentés par la République démocratique du Congo au titre de la Convention relative aux droits de l'enfant et de son Protocole facultatif sur la vente d'enfants, la prostitution des enfants et la pornographie mettant en scène des enfants.

Présentant ces rapports, Mme Marie-Ange Mushobekwa Likulia, Ministre des droits humains de la République démocratique du Congo, a indiqué que des mesures d'application de la loi du 10 janvier 2009 portant protection de l'enfant avaient été prises. Les structures de protection de l'enfant sont fonctionnelles en République démocratique du Congo, avec notamment 18 tribunaux pour enfants dotés de 63 juges, 21 comités de médiation et 830 comités d'enfants, a-t-elle précisé. Mme Mushobekwa Likulia a ensuite souligné que le système d'enregistrement des naissances avait été amélioré. Elle a par ailleurs expliqué qu'une police spéciale chargée de la lutte contre la violence sexuelle et la protection des enfants avait été mise en place. Tous les cas rapportés de violences sexuelles font l'objet d'une enquête et les auteurs sont sanctionnés, notamment par des peines d'emprisonnement. La République démocratique du Congo applique une politique de tolérance zéro à l'égard des auteurs de viols quels qu'ils soient, a en outre assuré la Ministre des droits humains. Le Gouvernement a mis en place 516 zones de santé pour permettre à la population d'avoir accès aux structures de soins à des coûts abordables, a poursuivi la Ministre. Le Gouvernement a en outre créé l'Office national de l'identification de la population, ce qui permet à chaque enfant de détenir une carte d'identité nationale et aux autorités publiques de mieux répartir les ressources du pays. En 2012, a poursuivi la Ministre, un plan d'action a été signé pour mettre fin à l'enrôlement d'enfants dans les forces armées ou les forces de sécurité du pays.

Malgré les efforts fournis, il reste beaucoup à faire en matière de défense des droits de l'enfant en République démocratique du Congo, a concédé Mme Mushobekwa Likulia. Le pays doit faire face à l'insuffisance des ressources financières, à la résurgence de poches d'insécurité dans certaines parties du pays et à l'organisation des prochaines élections générales, a-t-elle rappelé. Mme Mushobekwa Likulia a indiqué que le pays souhaitait ratifier le Protocole facultatif à la Convention établissant une procédure de plaintes (communications). Elle a ensuite indiqué que la République démocratique du Congo était consciente du retard qu'elle a pris dans l'accomplissement de ses obligations internationales depuis la ratification du Protocole facultatif sur la vente d'enfants, la prostitution des enfants et la pornographie mettant en scène des enfants.

La délégation de la République démocratique du Congo était également composée, entre autres, de Mme Marie-Louise Mwange, Ministre du genre, de l'enfant et de la famille; de M. Zénon Mukongo Ngay, Représentant permanent de la République démocratique du Congo auprès des Nations Unies à Genève; et de représentants de divers ministères.

La délégation a répondu aux questions qui lui étaient adressées par les membres du Comité s'agissant, notamment, de la transposition des dispositions de la Convention et du Protocole dans le droit interne; de la justice des mineurs; des enfants soldats; des violences sexuelles, des violences domestiques et des châtiments corporels; des enfants considérés comme enfants sorciers; des questions d'éducation et de santé; des enfants handicapés; des questions d'adoption et de placement d'enfants; des enfants des rues; du travail des enfants; ou encore des questions relatives au mariage.

Au cours du dialogue, un membre du Comité a constaté que la situation des droits de l'enfant restait préoccupante en République démocratique du Congo. Deux facteurs affectent la réalisation de ces droits, a-t-il précisé: la violence multiforme et la pauvreté qui s'aggrave au cours de ces dernières années. Ce même expert a ensuite souligné que s'il existe certes une loi portant protection de l'enfance, tous les textes d'application n'ont pas été édictés. Il a en outre estimé que la multiplication des plans nationaux réduisait leur efficacité sur le terrain. Il a également jugé insuffisantes les ressources allouées à la défense des droits de l'enfant, notamment pour ce qui est des soins de santé ou de la justice juvénile. Il a d'autre part regretté la corruption endémique présente dans le pays. Ce même expert a par ailleurs fait observer que les activités des entreprises minières avaient des conséquences néfastes pour les enfants.

Un autre expert a souligné qu'il existait deux lois fondamentales en matière de droits des enfants: le Code de la famille et la Loi portant protection de l'enfance. Or, il existe des contradictions entre ces deux lois, s'agissant notamment de l'âge minimum du mariage, a-t-il fait observer. Une experte a pour sa part affirmé que les forces de l'ordre de l'unité de police chargée de protéger les enfants étaient elles-mêmes responsables de cas de torture. Cette experte a par ailleurs relevé l'absence de cadre législatif interdisant les châtiments corporels.

A par ailleurs été relevé le faible nombre d'institutions disponibles pour accueillir les orphelins, sans compter que les conditions de vie dans celles qui existent sont très difficiles. Un expert a souligné que les pires formes de travail des enfants persistaient, notamment dans les mines, et qu'il y avait très peu de contrôles et de condamnations dans ce domaine. Cet expert a d'autre part déploré l'absence de loi spécifique de protection des peuples indigènes. Il a en outre souligné que certains enfants étaient placés en détention avec des adultes et que certains enfants avaient été jugés par des tribunaux militaires.

Le Comité adoptera ultérieurement, lors de séances à huis clos, ses observations finales sur les rapports de la République démocratique du Congo et les rendra publiques à l'issue de la session, qui doit clore ses travaux le vendredi 3 février prochain.

Demain matin, à 10 heures, le Comité entamera l'examen du rapport de la République centrafricaine sur la mise en œuvre de la Convention.

Présentation des rapports de la République démocratique du Congo

Le Comité est saisi du rapport périodique soumis par la République démocratique du Congo au titre de la Convention, ainsi que des réponses du pays à la liste de points à traiter que lui a adressée le Comité. Il est également saisi du rapport initial soumis par la République démocratique du Congo au titre du Protocole facultatif sur la vente d'enfants, la prostitution des enfants et la pornographie mettant en scène des enfants, ainsi que de la liste de points à traiter que lui avait adressée à l'avance le Comité s'agissant des questions couvertes par le Protocole.

MME MARIE-ANGE MUSHOBEKWA LIKULIA, Ministre des droits humains de la République démocratique du Congo, a indiqué que des mesures d'application de la loi du 10 janvier 2009 portant protection de l'enfant avaient été prises, s'agissant notamment de l'installation des tribunaux pour enfants, de la mise en place de comités de médiation en matière de justice pour mineurs ou encore de l'installation et du fonctionnement du Comité des Enfants.

La cheffe de la délégation a expliqué que les structures de protection de l'enfant sont fonctionnelles en République démocratique du Congo, avec notamment 18 tribunaux pour enfants dotés de 63 juges, 21 comités de médiation et 830 comités d'enfants. Les agents chargés de l'application des lois ont été formés aux dispositions de la Convention, a-t-elle ajouté. De même, la population a été sensibilisée aux droits de l'enfant notamment à l'occasion de la commémoration d'événements spéciaux.

Mme Mushobekwa Likulia a ensuite souligné que le système d'enregistrement des naissances avait été amélioré. Elle a par ailleurs expliqué qu'une police spéciale chargée de la lutte contre la violence sexuelle et la protection des enfants avait été mise en place, dont les membres ont été spécialement formés aux droits de l'enfant. Tous les cas rapportés de violences sexuelles font l'objet d'une enquête et les auteurs sont sanctionnés, notamment par des peines d'emprisonnement. La République démocratique du Congo applique une politique de tolérance zéro à l'égard des auteurs de viols quels qu'ils soient, a en outre assuré la Ministre des droits humains.

Le Gouvernement a mis en place 516 zones de santé pour permettre à la population d'avoir accès aux structures de soins à des coûts abordables, a poursuivi Mme Mushobekwa Likulia. Le Gouvernement a aussi lancé des campagnes de promotion de l'allaitement maternel exclusif et a distribué des moustiquaires imprégnées d'insecticide.

Le Gouvernement a d'autre part créé l'office national de l'identification de la population, ce qui permet à chaque enfant de détenir une carte d'identité nationale et aux autorités publiques de mieux répartir les ressources du pays en fonction de la population.

En 2012, a poursuivi la Ministre, un plan d'action a été signé pour mettre fin à l'enrôlement d'enfants dans les forces armées ou les forces de sécurité du pays.

Malgré les efforts fournis, il reste beaucoup à faire en matière de défense des droits de l'enfant en République démocratique du Congo, a concédé Mme Mushobekwa Likulia. Le pays doit faire face à l'insuffisance des ressources financières, à la résurgence de poches d'insécurité dans certaines parties du pays et à l'organisation des prochaines élections générales, a-t-elle rappelé.

Mme Mushobekwa Likulia a indiqué que le pays souhaitait ratifier le Protocole facultatif à la Convention établissant une procédure de plaintes (communications).

S'agissant de la mise en œuvre du Protocole facultatif sur la vente d'enfants, la prostitution des enfants et la pornographie mettant en scène des enfants, Mme Mushobekwa Likulia a indiqué que la République démocratique du Congo était consciente du retard qu'elle a pris dans l'accomplissement de ses obligations internationales depuis la ratification de cet instrument. La République démocratique du Congo n'en a pas moins renforcé son cadre juridique par l'adoption de textes qui ont une incidence sur la protection des droits de l'enfant dans ce contexte. La Constitution, notamment, prévoit l'interdiction de l'abandon et de la maltraitance des enfants, notamment pour ce qui est de la pédophilie, des abus sexuels et l'accusation de sorcellerie. Le Code du travail, quant à lui, interdit les pires formes de travail des enfants. Le Code pénal tel que modifié en 2006 punit notamment toute personne qui a enlevé ou fait enlever des personnes pour les vendre comme esclaves. La législation de la République démocratique du Congo prévoit également des peines de prison et des amendes pour l'infraction de pornographie mettant en scène les enfants, a ajouté la Ministre des droits humains.

Mme Mushobekwa Likulia a expliqué que la protection des victimes mineures était garantie, leur vie privée et leur identité étant préservées grâce au huis clos imposé dans toute procédure judiciaire concernant les enfants.

La cheffe de la délégation a d'autre part souligné que le trafic et la vente des enfants sont de plus en plus démasqués et dénoncés auprès des services de sécurité et de la justice. Les contrôles sont renforcés aux frontières concernant les déplacements d'enfants. Des réseaux de trafiquants ont été démantelés et des condamnations prononcées par les tribunaux, a conclu Mme Mushobekwa Likulia.

Examen du rapport de la République démocratique du Congo au titre de la Convention

Questions et observations des membres du Comité

Le Comité avait réparti les questions à traiter entre cinq de ses membres faisant office de corapporteurs dans le cadre d'un groupe de travail (task force) chargé de l'examen des rapports de la République démocratique du Congo. Pour commencer, l'un des experts membres de cette équipe de corapporteurs a souligné que l'importance de la délégation témoignait de l'importance accordée aux droits de l'enfant dans ce pays. L'expert a néanmoins estimé que force était de constater que la situation des droits de l'enfant restait préoccupante en République démocratique du Congo. Deux facteurs affectent la réalisation de ces droits, a-t-il précisé: la violence multiforme et la pauvreté qui s'aggrave au cours de ces dernières années.

Ce même expert a ensuite souligné que s'il existe certes une loi portant protection de l'enfance, tous les textes d'application n'ont pas été édictés. Aussi, l'expert s'est-il enquis du calendrier prévu pour l'adoption de ces textes d'application. Ce corapporteur a par ailleurs souhaité que la délégation fournisse des exemples d'affaires présentées devant les tribunaux pour lesquelles les dispositions de la Convention ont été invoquées.

Ce même expert a ensuite souligné que la multiplication des plans nationaux réduisait leur efficacité sur le terrain. Il a donc souhaité savoir s'il était prévu de mettre en place un plan d'action global (en faveur des enfants). Il a en outre estimé que les ressources allouées à la défense des droits de l'enfant restaient insuffisantes, notamment pour ce qui est des soins de santé ou de la justice juvénile. Il a d'autre part regretté la corruption endémique présente dans le pays.

Concernant la sensibilisation et l'accès à l'information relativement à la Convention, l'expert s'est réjoui qu'il existe un plan national d'éducation civique qui intègre les droits de l'homme, mais a souhaité savoir ce qu'il en était pour les droits de l'enfant. Il a en outre relevé que l'Institut national des travailleurs sociaux manquait de moyens financiers et de personnel compétent.

La collaboration avec la société civile est aléatoire, a poursuivi l'expert. Certaines organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) n'ont pas de sécurité juridique et leur nombre décroît dans le pays. Quelle a été la contribution de la société civile dans la rédaction du présent rapport, a demandé cet expert?

Le corrapporteur a par ailleurs fait observer que les activités des entreprises minières avaient des conséquences néfastes pour les enfants: déplacements forcés, pollution des sols et des nappes aquifères, déforestation – autant d'atteintes aux conditions de vie des enfants. L'expert a souhaité savoir si le Gouvernement contrôlait ces activités et si le Code minier était respecté.

Un autre expert a souligné qu'il existait deux lois fondamentales en matière de droits des enfants: le Code de la famille et la Loi portant protection de l'enfance. Or, il existe des contradictions entre ces deux lois, s'agissant notamment de l'âge minimum du mariage, a-t-il fait observer. Quelle législation prévaut en ce qui concerne cette dernière question, a-t-il demandé? Il a par ailleurs souhaité savoir si les lois relatives à l'enfance allaient faire l'objet de davantage de publicités.

L'expert s'est ensuite enquis de la stratégie mise en place pour lutter contre les discriminations à l'encontre des groupes vulnérables et a souhaité savoir si ces groupes vulnérables avaient accès à l'éducation et aux soins de santé. Il s'est également enquis des mesures prises pour encourager les parents à veiller à ce que leurs filles ne soient pas victimes de discrimination lorsqu'elles sont en âge d'aller à l'école. D'autre part, quelles sont les mesures prises par le Gouvernement pour lutter contre les violences sexistes ou à l'encontre des albinos?

Ce même expert a demandé à la délégation comment le monde judiciaire et les professionnels de l'enfance mettaient en œuvre le principe de l'intérêt supérieur de l'enfant. Concernant la santé, il a souhaité savoir si les budgets avaient été prévus pour renforcer et améliorer les structures de soins de santé.

L'expert a en outre souhaité savoir combien d'enfants avaient été victimes de groupes armés et si les auteurs de tels crimes avaient été appréhendés et traduits en justice.

Ce même membre du Comité a voulu savoir si le parlement des enfants avait vu le jour et s'est enquis des ressources qui lui ont été allouées pour permettre son bon fonctionnement.

Une autre experte du groupe des corapporteurs a souhaité savoir où en était le plan stratégique d'enregistrement des naissances, soulignant que de nombreux enfants n'étaient en effet toujours pas enregistrés. Elle a souhaité savoir ce que faisait le Gouvernement pour remédier à cette situation. Le taux d'enregistrement dans le Nord-Kivu était particulièrement bas, a insisté l'experte. Les centres d'état civil sont vétustes et leur personnel n'est pas payé, ce qui peut engendrer des situations de rackets de la population lors de l'enregistrement, a-t-elle fait observer.

Également membres du groupe des corapporteurs pour l'examen du rapport de la République démocratique du Congo, un expert a demandé comment le Gouvernement entendait défendre les différentes identités culturelles. Il a en outre voulu savoir comment l'État garantissait le droit à la vie privée. Il a également demandé si des mesures spéciales de protection étaient prévues pour les populations LGBTI ou pour les albinos. L'expert a ensuite demandé à la délégation s'il y avait des limites à la liberté d'expression des enfants et si la liberté de réunion leur était garantie. Il a aussi souhaité connaître les mesures prises par les autorités afin de permettre aux enfants d'avoir accès à l'information.

Une autre experte a affirmé que les forces de l'ordre de l'unité de police chargée de protéger les enfants étaient elles-mêmes responsables de cas de torture. Elle a souhaité savoir quelles mesures avaient été prises pour éviter aux enfants d'être torturés par la police et s'ils pouvaient déposer plainte devant une autre structure. L'experte a par ailleurs relevé l'absence de cadre législatif interdisant les châtiments corporels. Elle a donc demandé si une loi allait interdire cette pratique. L'experte a d'autre part fait observer que la violence de genre ne concernait pas seulement les régions rongées par les conflits; la violence contre les femmes semble au contraire être acceptée par la société, y compris par les femmes, a-t-elle déclaré. Elle a souhaité en savoir davantage sur le plan national de lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes.

L'experte a en outre souhaité savoir ce qu'il en était de l'impunité pour les auteurs de violences sexuelles contre les enfants. Elle a regretté que des mariages avec des jeunes de douze ans soient célébrés. Elle a enfin souhaité savoir si des données existaient sur les cas de torture à l'encontre d'enfants soupçonnés de sorcellerie.

Un expert a demandé davantage d'informations sur les mesures prises pour lutter contre les discriminations à l'encontre des groupes vulnérables comme les Pygmées.

Qu'en est-il de la reconnaissance des enfants illégitimes, a-t-il en outre été demandé? Qu'advient-il par ailleurs des enfants séparés de leurs parents? Les familles d'accueil pratiquent parfois le travail forcé des enfants car elles n'ont pas de ressources pour les élever, a-t-il été relevé. A également été relevé le faible nombre d'institutions disponibles pour accueillir les orphelins, sans compter que les conditions de vie dans celles qui existent sont très difficiles. Qu'en est-il par ailleurs des dispositions concernant l'adoption?

Une autre experte s'est enquise de l'existence d'éventuelles études concernant les enfants en situation de handicap et a souhaité savoir s'il existait des programmes de prévention dans ce domaine. Des campagnes de sensibilisation sur les enfants en situation de handicap sont-elles promues afin que ces enfants ne soient plus discriminés au sein de la population, a-t-elle demandé? Cette même experte s'est inquiétée du manque de centres de santé et a fait observer que la plupart de ceux qui existent se trouvent dans un état déplorable. Elle a d'autre part estimé que l'accès aux soins de santé avait un coût trop élevé. Qu'en est-il des formations en matière de santé reproductive à l'intention des adolescents, a-t-elle par ailleurs demandé? Elle s'est également enquise des mesures prises pour prévenir et combattre la transmission du VIH/sida de la mère à l'enfant. Cette même experte a demandé ce qu'il en était de l'accès à l'eau potable en République démocratique du Congo. Elle a enfin voulu savoir s'il y a avait des pédopsychiatres dans les institutions psychiatriques.

Un expert a demandé ce qu'il en était du programme «1000 écoles par an». Il a souhaité savoir si des mesures avaient prises pour rendre effective la gratuité de l'enseignement. Ce même expert a demandé à la délégation ce qui avait été fait pour lutter contre l'abandon scolaire et améliorer la qualité de l'enseignement. Il a ensuite regretté que, manifestement, les enfants handicapés ne profitent pas d'une éducation inclusive.

Ce même expert a en outre souhaité avoir davantage d'informations sur les programmes de démobilisation des enfants soldats et le bilan de ces programmes. L'expert s'est aussi enquis du bilan du programme de de lutte contre le phénomène des enfants des rues. Il a par ailleurs souligné que les pires formes de travail des enfants persistaient, notamment dans les mines, et qu'il y avait très peu de contrôles et de condamnations dans ce domaine. L'expert a d'autre part déploré l'absence de loi spécifique de protection des peuples indigènes. Il a ensuite relevé que de nombreux enfants étaient déplacés à l'intérieur du pays et a souhaité savoir quelles mesures de réhabilitation et de réintégration étaient proposées à ces enfants. L'expert a souligné que certains enfants étaient placés en détention avec des adultes et que certains enfants avaient été jugés par des tribunaux militaires. Il s'est enfin enquis de l'âge de la responsabilité pénale en République démocratique du Congo.

Une experte a demandé ce qu'il en était des grossesses qui font suite à un viol.

Une autre experte s'est enquise de la situation du VIH/sida dans le pays et a demandé si des «opérations de nettoyage des rues contre les enfants de la rue» avaient toujours lieu. Cette même experte a souhaité savoir comment les enfants détenus étaient nourris et ce qu'il en était des enfants toujours détenus qui avaient pourtant purgé leur peine.

Un expert a souligné que la guerre en République démocratique du Congo ne concernait plus que l'est du pays et que le Gouvernement pouvait toujours agir dans tous les autres territoires qui ne sont pas soumis à la violence.

Un expert a demandé à la délégation comment l'État pouvait détecter si un enfant a été enfant soldat, s'il s'agit d'un simple réfugié ou encore si un enfant a déjà tué ou pas. Il a en outre voulu savoir comment l'âge d'un individu pouvait être vérifié lorsque cet individu souhaite s'enrôler dans l'armée. L'expert a souhaité savoir si le Code pénal sanctionne d'ores et déjà toute personne cherchant à enrôler des enfants ou si cette disposition pénale n'a pas encore été adoptée.

Un expert a fait observer que la volonté d'intégrer les communautés autochtones pouvait mettre à mal la diversité culturelle du pays. Ce même expert a souligné qu'il manquait une disposition spécifique du Code pénal qui permette au juge d'incriminer le recrutement d'enfants soldats.

Une experte s'est inquiétée de l'absence de structure permettant de recueillir les plaintes des enfants victimes de violences domestiques. Elle a souligné qu'une ligne téléphonique gratuite, ouverte 24 heures sur 24, pourrait permettre aux enfants victimes de violences de déposer plainte.

Réponses de la délégation

La délégation a expliqué que le Gouvernement a lancé des émissions pour sensibiliser la population au sujet de la lutte contre les violences sexuelles. Les enfants sont eux-mêmes sensibilisés à cette question dans les écoles, a-t-elle ajouté. La délégation a déclaré que le nombre de cas de violences sexuelles avait sensiblement diminué en République démocratique du Congo selon la Mission de l'Organisation des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo (MONUSCO). Les violences sexuelles ne sont pas éradiquées totalement, mais la volonté du Gouvernement est de continuer à diminuer drastiquement le nombre d'actes de violences sexuelles, a insisté la délégation.

Les ressources sont insuffisantes pour permettre au pays de mettre en œuvre toutes les recommandations du Comité des droits de l'enfant, a expliqué la délégation. C'est pourquoi le pays réitère sa demande d'obtenir le soutien des agences des Nations Unies concernées par ces questions.

La police, les forces armées, les magistrats, les enseignants sont sensibilisés aux droits de l'homme, a poursuivi la délégation. Un programme de sensibilisation va bientôt voir le jour dans les écoles. Lorsque le contact humain n'est pas possible dans certaines zones reculées du pays, les sensibilisations passent par la radio, a ajouté la délégation.

La délégation a expliqué que l'Office national de l'**identification de la population** (ONIP) ne fonctionne pas car une frange de l'opposition congolaise a manipulé la population qui n'a donc pas voulu y participer arguant que cette identification allait retarder les élections.

Les services d'état civil existent dans toutes les provinces du pays, a par la suite souligné la délégation. Dans les territoires, les administrateurs mettent en place les services d'état civil; les registres existent. Tous les enfants ne sont certes pas encore enregistrés; mais il s'agit d'une question de culture, les parents ne comprenant pas toujours la nécessité d'enregistrer leurs enfants. L'ONIP doit permettre à terme d'améliorer le système d'enregistrement des naissances, a insisté la délégation. Il n'existe pas d'unités mobiles pour enregistrer les enfants, a-t-elle ajouté.

Le nombre de provinces que compte le pays a été augmenté pour rapprocher les dirigeants des administrés. Les efforts sont poursuivis pour que l'état civil soit au plus près de la population. Le problème est qu'il n'y a pas assez d'équipements, a affirmé la délégation. Dès que l'électricité sera présente dans tout le pays (soit dans un délai de cinq ans), les outils de l'état civil seront informatisés, a-t-elle indiqué. Ceux qui représentent l'état civil suivent des formations et leurs capacités vont être renforcées, a-t-elle assuré. C'est une priorité du Gouvernement, a insisté la délégation.

Les auteurs de violences en groupes armés sont punis lorsqu'il y a dénonciation et que la justice est saisie, a d'autre part affirmé la délégation.

La délégation a expliqué qu'une des richesses du Congo était sa diversité, même s'il y a eu certains conflits. Le pays est fier de sa diversité culturelle, a-t-elle insisté.

Il y a un effort manifeste d'intégration de la part des peuples autochtones; le droit de ces peuples est respecté et certains de leurs représentants ont obtenu des hautes fonctions au sein de l'administration, a par la suite déclaré la délégation.

La délégation a souligné qu'il y avait beaucoup d'ONG en République démocratique du Congo et que le Gouvernement octroyait la personnalité juridique à toutes les ONG oeuvrant dans le domaine des droits humains. Le Gouvernement collabore avec la société civile, car sans elle il ne pourrait pas atteindre ses objectifs, a ajouté la délégation.

La délégation a indiqué que l'âge minimum légal du mariage en République démocratique du Congo est fixé à 18 ans. Aucun mariage civil impliquant des mineurs n'est célébré depuis la mise en œuvre de la loi en la matière; seuls des mariages coutumiers impliquant des mineurs ont pu être organisés, a assuré la délégation. S'il y avait un cas avéré de mariage entre une personne mineure et une personne majeure, la personne majeure pourrait être condamnée en vertu de la loi sur les violences sexuelles, puisqu'il ne peut y avoir de rapports sexuels entre une personne majeure et une personne mineure, a souligné la délégation.

La délégation a souligné que dans aucune culture de la République démocratique du Congo il n'existe des mariages homosexuels. La Constitution dit clairement que le mariage s'effectue entre un homme et une femme. L'état civil ne reconnaît donc pas le mariage homosexuel.

La délégation a insisté sur le fait que tout enfant est légitime en République démocratique du Congo et que chaque enfant a les mêmes droits, y compris en matière d'héritage.

La délégation a souligné que les mariages forcés se faisaient dans la clandestinité. Pour les mariages légaux, il faut attester que les futurs époux sont majeurs et s'assurer du consentement des familles et des jeunes mariés. Lorsque le mariage a été établi sous le mensonge, notamment concernant l'âge des époux, il est immédiatement annulé. Les enfants et les parents sont sensibilisés à cette question dans les écoles, les églises, et dans les médias, a souligné la délégation.

Lorsqu'il y a des preuves de discrimination à l'encontre des albinos, les auteurs sont traduits en justice et condamnés, a d'autre part assuré la délégation. Les albinos en République démocratique du Congo sont traités comme tous les autres citoyens, a-t-elle déclaré; dans ce pays, ils ne sont ni tués, ni maltraités, a-t-elle insisté.

La délégation a par la suite rappelé que les enfants albinos étaient protégés par la Constitution du pays. Le seul souci concernant ces personnes, selon la délégation c'est qu'elles manquent de produits pour se protéger du soleil.

Le Gouvernement tente de sensibiliser la population au sujet de l'**égalité entre les garçons et les filles**, concernant notamment les inscriptions dans les établissements scolaires. Au total, 80% des enfants congolais vont à l'école. Les parents ayant des jeunes filles sont encouragés à les inscrire à l'école, a souligné la délégation.

La délégation a expliqué que le Ministère du genre organisait une campagne nationale de sensibilisation contre les coutumes rétrogrades sexistes.

Le Gouvernement sensibilise le personnel administratif travaillant dans le domaine judiciaire, les magistrats, ainsi que toutes les personnes compétentes dans le domaine de l'enfance au principe selon lequel il faut toujours agir dans l'**intérêt supérieur de l'enfant**. Par exemple, dans toute affaire de divorce, le juge écoute l'avis des enfants.

La délégation a d'autre part fait valoir que le Gouvernement développait le Programme de participation de l'enfant. Les comités d'enfants permettent aux enfants d'acquérir les techniques de plaidoyer et de découvrir les principes démocratiques; ils devraient s'étendre sur tout le territoire cette année.

Chaque année des budgets sont alloués à la protection de l'enfance, a rappelé la délégation, tout en reconnaissant que ces budgets sont encore relativement faibles; mais le pays peut également compter sur des contributions étrangères, a-t-elle souligné.

Tout attentat à la pudeur sur un mineur est puni d'une peine pouvant aller de 6 mois à 5 ans d'emprisonnement, a d'autre part indiqué la délégation. Le Gouvernement a par ailleurs prévu différents programmes pour lutter contre les cas de torture sur mineurs en milieu carcéral. Une police spéciale veille à contrôler qu'il n'y ait pas d'abus sexuels dans les prisons. Les pasteurs et les communautés de l'église sont sensibilisés à la problématique de la sorcellerie. Grâce à la médiation des assistants sociaux, certains enfants considérés comme sorciers ont pu rejoindre leur famille ou être acceptés dans des familles d'accueil.

La délégation a ensuite expliqué que les violences sexuelles ne pourront pas être éradiquées tant que la guerre perdure dans le pays. Les violences sexuelles sont une arme de guerre pour beaucoup de groupes armés, a-t-elle souligné, avant d'assurer que l'État poursuit les auteurs de ce type de violences. Des hauts gradés de l'armée sont aujourd'hui en prison pour ce type de faits, a-t-elle ajouté.

L'État envisage d'harmoniser ses dispositions législatives afin de prohiber le recours aux châtiments corporels, a d'autre part indiqué la délégation.

Beaucoup d'enfants, victimes de violences domestiques, ne savent pas qu'ils peuvent porter plainte et, même s'ils connaissent leurs droits, il n'est pas dans la tradition congolaise de dénoncer ses parents, a par la suite expliqué la délégation. Il faut qu'il y ait des traces de coups ou des témoins oculaires pour que des faits de violence domestique puissent faire l'objet d'une plainte, a-t-elle indiqué. La délégation a reconnu qu'à ce jour, à sa connaissance, aucun enfant n'avait porté plainte contre ses parents pour des faits de violence domestique. Une des solutions est d'enseigner dès aux enfants, dès leur plus jeune âge, leurs droits et leurs devoirs, a souligné la délégation.

S'agissant du placement d'enfants, la délégation a expliqué que les autorités faisaient le maximum pour soutenir les familles d'accueil. Il existe en outre des foyers sociaux gérés par le Gouvernement. Des orphelinats accueillent aussi les enfants abandonnés. Néanmoins, les budgets alloués par le Gouvernement sont insuffisants dans ce secteur, a reconnu la délégation.

L'État contrôle davantage les adoptions qu'auparavant, a poursuivi la délégation. Il veille à ce que les enfants adoptés ne soient pas en souffrance et ne rentrent pas dans des filières criminelles. L'État a suspendu les adoptions internationales car les autorités avaient constaté des abus: certains enfants n'étaient pas orphelins et d'autres devaient être adoptés par des couples homosexuels, a déclaré la délégation. Des parents adoptifs ont aussi menti sur leur identité ou encore sur leur adresse. Aujourd'hui, les dossiers complets et qui ne posent pas de problème ont de nouveau été ouverts, a indiqué la délégation.

S'agissant des questions de santé, la délégation a notamment souligné que même en milieu urbain, il était difficile d'assurer les soins de base pour la population, en raison du manque de ressources et de centres médicaux, raison pour laquelle le Président a décidé de construire un hôpital de renom dans chaque chef-lieu de province.

Les hôpitaux dans le pays manquent d'équipements, a d'autre part indiqué la délégation. Le Gouvernement tente de remédier à ce problème en les équipant de matériels d'échographies et de laboratoires. Il a aussi construit de nouveaux centres de santé sur tout le territoire.

La délégation a déclaré que le taux de 48% d'allaitement maternel que connaît actuellement la République démocratique du Congo ne constitue certes pas un résultat exceptionnel, mais n'est pas catastrophique non plus. Il s'agit là encore d'une question culturelle: certaines mères veulent continuer à travailler ou estiment que si elles allaitaient, elles vieilliraient plus vite.

Les adultes congolais ont accès gratuitement aux contraceptifs, a ensuite indiqué la délégation. Par contre, les mineurs n'y ont pas droit. La loi interdit aux pharmaciens de vendre des médicaments aux mineurs, même s'ils ont une ordonnance. L'**avortement** est aujourd'hui prohibé par les lois du pays. Néanmoins, lorsqu'une grossesse fait suite à un viol, une femme peut se faire avorter, a indiqué la délégation. Si la jeune fille est mineure, seuls les parents peuvent demander l'avortement pour cette enfant, laquelle ne peut faire seule cette demande, a-t-elle précisé. Si la grossesse est déjà avancée, la jeune fille ne pourra pas avorter. Après l'accouchement, la maman mineure pourra confier l'enfant à la famille ou le soumettre à l'adoption avec l'autorisation de ses parents. Il faut dans ces cas-là une autorisation du médecin. À partir de la troisième secondaire, les enseignants sensibilisent les jeunes à l'éducation sexuelle, une question souvent taboue au sein des familles congolaises, a ajouté la délégation.

La délégation a relevé que les mutilations génitales ne font pas partie de la culture ou des coutumes du pays. Il y a eu certains cas de mutilations dans les zones de conflit, mais en aucun cas il ne s'agit d'une pratique culturelle, a insisté la délégation.

Le Gouvernement sensibilise la population à la nécessité de consommer une bonne alimentation, a poursuivi la délégation, avant de rappeler que la République démocratique du Congo regorgeait de poissons, de fruits et de légumes. Les ressources sont là, mais il faut éduquer la population à manger sainement, a-t-elle rappelé.

Il existe des centres pour les personnes handicapées dans les chefs-lieux des anciennes provinces. Aucune école en République démocratique du Congo ne refuse l'accès à l'**éducation** au motif du handicap physique, a assuré la délégation. Elle a en revanche reconnu que les transports ne sont pas adaptés aux personnes handicapées. Dans certaines villes, il y a des écoles pour les enfants malentendants ou malvoyants, a poursuivi la délégation. Elles sont certes en nombre très insuffisant par rapport à la demande, a-t-elle concédé. La délégation a en outre regretté qu'il y ait en République démocratique du Congo très peu de centres pour enfants ayant un handicap mental. Il s'agit là d'une question culturelle car pour beaucoup de Congolais, les personnes avec un handicap mental sont prises en charge dans les églises ou considérées comme des sorciers.

Il n'y a pas de centres d'appareillage pour les personnes handicapées, a également souligné la délégation. En raison du manque de ressources financières, l'État doit opérer des choix parfois difficiles. L'État doit tout d'abord assurer la sécurité sur son territoire face aux miliciens et doit donc faire des choix budgétaires. Il s'agit d'un dilemme. Pour autant et malgré cette situation, il est incontestable qu'il faut donner davantage de moyens au secteur de la santé et en faveur des personnes handicapées, a reconnu la délégation.

La délégation a d'autre part expliqué que les enfants qui se retrouvent dans les cliniques psychiatriques se trouvent en situation de décrochage scolaire faute de moyens.

Le projet du Gouvernement prévoit la construction d'un millier d'écoles par an. Mille écoles ont précisément été construites ces deux dernières années. La situation sécuritaire est venue perturber plusieurs projets de développement, a expliqué la délégation. L'organisation des élections va elle aussi nécessiter la mobilisation de beaucoup de ressources, raison pour laquelle l'objectif susmentionné sera difficile à atteindre pour la période 2016-2017.

La délégation a en outre rappelé que le poste budgétaire le plus important du pays, après celui de la défense, était l'éducation. L'État à l'ambition de recycler et de remettre les enseignants à niveau. Le Ministère de l'éducation a revu le programme scolaire dans les écoles publiques et privées, de sorte que ce programme répond aujourd'hui aux normes internationales, a fait valoir la délégation, tout en admettant que le niveau a baissé. Le Gouvernement espère que dans les cinq prochaines années, le taux de scolarisation atteindra les 95%. Les autorités incitent aujourd'hui les enfants qui ont abandonné l'école à s'inscrire à une formation professionnelle.

Le phénomène des enfants des rues existe, a d'autre part reconnu la délégation. Il devrait être éradiqué une fois que la gratuité de l'école sera effective sur tout le territoire, a-t-elle affirmé.

S'agissant du travail des enfants, la délégation a reconnu que des enfants travaillaient dans les mines du pays, mais a expliqué que les différents ministères compétents tentaient de lutter contre ce phénomène. Les sociétés prises en flagrant délit d'engager des enfants sont sanctionnées, a indiqué la délégation. Selon elle, la meilleure manière de lutter contre ce phénomène est de sensibiliser les parents et de créer les conditions pour que tous les enfants se retrouvent en milieu scolaire.

La délégation a par la suite expliqué que les inspecteurs du travail pouvaient réaliser des visites inopinées dans les entreprises pour vérifier qu'il n'y ait pas d'enfants au travail. Certaines sociétés en infraction ont payé des amendes ou ont tout simplement dû fermer leurs portes, a souligné la délégation.

Contrairement à ce qu'a suggéré un membre du Comité, la République démocratique du Congo est bien en guerre et des groupes armés, qui peuvent être apparentés à des terroristes, continuent à sévir sur le territoire congolais en commettant des atrocités, a ensuite déclaré la délégation.

La délégation a assuré que l'armée de la République démocratique du Congo ne recrute pas de jeunes de moins de 18 ans. Il y a un bien des enfants soldats dans le pays, mais ils sont enrôles par les milices et par les groupes armés, a-t-elle déclaré.

Le Gouvernement fait en sorte que les anciens enfants soldats qui acceptent d'être démobilisés réintègrent leur famille. Si les familles les rejettent, ces enfants sont recueillis dans des centres de formation.

La délégation a ensuite expliqué que lorsque l'âge de l'enfant n'est pas connu, c'est le médecin qui, par des examens appropriés, peut fixer les magistrats sur l'âge réel de l'enfant.

La délégation a de nouveau insisté sur le fait que les forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo ne recrutaient pas les enfants. Toute personne qui souhaite intégrer les forces armées ou la police nationale doit présenter un certificat de naissance. Ceux qui n'en disposent pas ne peuvent pas être enrôlés dans ces services. Les personnes interpelées qui recrutent des enfants soldats sont jugées et condamnées par la justice, a assuré la délégation; elles doivent répondre de leurs actes et il n'y a pas d'impunité dans ce domaine.

La délégation a par ailleurs expliqué que le programme de réinsertion des enfants soldats était différent pour les jeunes filles et pour les jeunes garçons. Il y a moins de filles démobilisées bénéficiant des programmes de réintégration car il y a moins de filles enfants soldats. Les accompagnateurs sociaux tentent de rencontrer les familles afin qu'elles acceptent de recueillir à nouveau en leur sein leurs enfants démobilisés.

Concernant les enfants déplacés de guerre, la délégation a confirmé qu'un projet de loi est toujours en cours d'examen sur cette question; il n'a pas encore été voté.

Il y a beaucoup de défis à relever en matière de justice juvénile, a reconnu la délégation; mais la situation s'améliore. La durée maximale de la garde à vue est de 48 heures, a d'autre part rappelé la délégation, tout en n'excluant pas certains abus en la matière. Des tribunaux pour enfants vont être installés sur tout le territoire et les juges vont être dûment formés dans ce contexte, a enfin rappelé la délégation.

La délégation a reconnu l'existence de plaintes concernant les conditions de détention des enfants dans les prisons du pays. La Ministre des droits humains s'est engagée à se rendre dans les différentes prisons du pays afin d'y vérifier les conditions de détention des enfants et de voir si leurs droits sont respectés.

Examen du rapport au titre du Protocole facultatif sur la vente d'enfants, la prostitution des enfants et la pornographie mettant en scène des enfants

Questions et observations des membres du Comité

M. BERNARD GASTAUD, corapporteur du Comité pour l'examen du rapport initial de la République démocratique du Congo au titre du Protocole facultatif sur la vente d'enfants, la prostitution des enfants et la pornographie mettant en scène des enfants, a souligné que le Comité n'avait pas reçu de réponses à liste de questions écrites préalablement adressée au pays. Il a demandé des informations sur le montant des ressources allouées à la réalisation du Protocole. Il a également souhaité savoir s'il existait un organe de contrôle chargé de veiller à la mise en œuvre du Protocole. M. Gastaud a ensuite relevé un certain nombre de lacunes dans la transposition du Protocole dans le droit interne.

La délégation a-t-elle connaissance de cas de poursuites contre des auteurs d'actes prohibés par le Protocole, a demandé le corapporteur? Il a déploré que la République démocratique du Congo n'utilise pas le Protocole comme norme juridique en matière d'extradition. Il a aussi souhaité savoir ce qu'il en était de la compétence juridictionnelle extraterritoriale.

MME KIRSTEN SANDBERG, corapporteuse du Comité pour l'examen de ce même rapport initial, a souligné que la prostitution et la vente d'enfants étaient toujours un problème majeur en République démocratique du Congo et que l'absence d'actes de naissance ouvrait la voie à l'exploitation des enfants. Elle a demandé à la délégation ce que les autorités comptaient faire pour y remédier.

Mme Sandberg a d'autre part regretté qu'aucune mesure n'ait été prise depuis 2011 en matière de lutte contre l'exploitation sexuelle. Elle a en outre relevé que le Plan d'action contre les pires formes de travail des enfants, élaboré en coopération avec l'OIT, n'avait toujours pas été financé, n'avait pas été suffisamment diffusé et n'était pas adapté aux contextes spécifiques des différentes provinces. Mme Sandberg a également regretté que la campagne contre la traite censée couvrir l'ensemble du territoire n'ait toujours pas été diffusée sur le terrain. La corapporteuse a déploré le manque d'efforts consentis par les autorités pour combattre l'exploitation sexuelle des filles par les forces armées, attirant par ailleurs l'attention sur le rejet dont sont alors victimes ces filles de la part de leurs proches lorsqu'elles sont censées retourner dans leur famille.

Mme Sandberg a ensuite estimé que la Commission de haut niveau chargée de lutter contre la pornographie mettant en scène des enfants ne semblait pas avoir obtenu les résultats escomptés. Quel est le statut des enfants devant les tribunaux? Les juges sont-ils suffisamment formés aux dispositions du Protocole et des travailleurs sociaux épaulent-ils les enfants devant les tribunaux? Des mesures ont-elles été prises pour enregistrer les interviews (témoignages) des enfants afin qu'ils n'aient pas à comparaitre devant un tribunal? Mme Sandberg a regretté qu'aucun mécanisme n'ait été prévu pour préserver l'anonymat des enfants dans les tribunaux. Elle a en outre souhaité savoir si les agents de police étaient formés pour identifier les victimes de pornographie.

Réponses de la délégation

La délégation a expliqué que le Gouvernement mettait en place un mécanisme de lutte contre le phénomène de la traite de personnes.

La République démocratique du Congo a adopté le régime moniste, ce qui signifie que les dispositions du Protocole priment sur celles des lois nationales, a expliqué la délégation. Les autorités du pays sont en train d'**harmoniser la législation nationale avec les dispositions du Protocole**.

En République démocratique du Congo, l'**extradition** est organisée par un décret dont l'article premier énonce le principe de réciprocité, a poursuivi la délégation. Il n'y a pas encore eu de cas d'extradition concernant des infractions relevant du Protocole, a-t-elle précisé.

Le Code de la famille a créé le Comité de l'adoption internationale; il s'agit d'un organisme public chargé des adoptions qui contrôle le régime et le statut de l'enfant, a d'autre part indiqué la délégation. Le programme de lutte contre la pauvreté devrait permettre d'éviter à l'avenir que des parents ne vendent leurs enfants pour des raisons économiques, a-t-elle ajouté.

La délégation a souligné qu'à 90%, la population est profondément croyante, quelle que soit la religion. Des parents acceptent l'idée qu'ils aient pu donner naissance à des enfants sorciers, ces enfants étant alors rejetés par leur famille. Ces enfants sont recueillis dans des centres sociaux qui leur proposent de suivre une formation professionnelle. Certaines familles d'accueil acceptent également de les prendre en charge et les «exorciser». Certains enfants se retrouvent néanmoins dans la rue, a expliqué la délégation. D'après des chiffres du Fonds des Nations Unies pour l'enfance (UNICEF), entre 20 000 et 30 000 enfants sont aujourd'hui dans la rue en République démocratique du Congo.

Le Gouvernement travaille avec la communauté internationale et avec Interpol dans la lutte contre l'exploitation sexuelle des enfants en ligne. En outre, le Gouvernement participe à la création d'une plate-forme interétatique de lutte contre ce phénomène.

L'État veille à ce que les images des enfants congolais ne soient pas utilisées sur les sites pornographiques, a ajouté la délégation, assurant par ailleurs que les enfants congolais sont sensibilisés à l'impact de la pornographie. Les autorités étudient la possibilité d'envisager de bloquer l'accès des enfants à des sites pornographiques, a-t-elle indiqué.

La délégation a expliqué qu'il fallait attendre la rentrée parlementaire de mars prochain pour envisager la ratification de la Charte africaine des droits et du bien-être de l'enfant ainsi que celle de la Convention de La Haye sur l'adoption.

Remarques de conclusion

MME SUZANNE AHO ASSOUMA, corapporteuse du Comité, a remercié la délégation pour le dialogue constructif qui s'est noué autour de l'examen des rapports du pays – examen dont l'objectif est bien l'intérêt supérieur de l'enfant. Elle a salué les avancées législatives concernant les droits de l'enfant, mais a souligné que beaucoup d'efforts restaient à faire en matière de soins de santé, de violences domestiques ou encore en ce qui concerne les enfants soldats, entre autres. Le Comité émet le souhait qu'il y a ait davantage d'infrastructures en matière de soin de santé dans tout le pays, a-t-elle insisté. Mme Aho Assouma a exprimé l'espoir que le Gouvernement débloque des fonds pour mener à bien les plans nationaux en faveur des droits de l'enfant. Aucun sacrifice n'est trop grand quand il s'agit de l'enfant et de la jeunesse, a conclu la corapporteuse.

MME MUSHOBEKWA LIKULIA, Ministre des droits humains de la République démocratique du Congo, a indiqué que cela ne faisait qu'un mois qu'elle était en fonction, ce qui signifie qu'elle doit encore étudier certains dossiers; mais elle a assuré le Comité que la République démocratique du Congo allait respecter tous les traités et engagements internationaux qu'elle a signés et contractés. La situation des droits de l'enfant va s'améliorer dans le pays, a assuré la Ministre. Les engagements du pays ne resteront pas lettre morte, a-t-elle conclu.

Ce document est destiné à l'information; il ne constitue pas un document officiel

Turkey: UNICEF Turkey Crisis Humanitarian Situation Report – December 2016

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 20 January 2017 - 11:51pm
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, World

Highlights

  • For the first time since the beginning of the refugee crisis in Turkey, there are more Syrian children in school than out – as of November, over 490,000 Syrian children are currently enrolled in formal education, a 50% increase in enrolment since the end of the previous school year in June 2016.

  • Over 100 Temporary Education Centres (TECs) were upgraded or provided with essential furniture in December, bringing the total number of TECs supported in 2016 with this intervention to 259.

  • Almost 87,000 children attended regular, structured psychosocial support (PSS) programmes in 2016, of whom over 14,600 were identified with serious child protection concerns and referred to relevant specialized services.

  • In western Turkey, UNICEF-supported outreach teams reached nearly 68,900 children and their families with basic relief items in 2016, and provided almost 12,000 children – including 520 UASC – with immediate legal and PSS counselling, as well as urgent medical assistance.

SITUATION IN NUMBERS

1,258,140
# of Syrian children affected out of

2,814,631
# of Syrians affected

UNICEF Appeal 2016

Syria Crisis: US$ 124.2 million

Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe: US$ $7 million

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

In 2016, Turkey maintained its tragic distinction of being the largest refugeehosting country in the world, with over 2.8 million Syrian refugees – almost half of whom are children – in addition to nearly 300,000 asylum seekers and refugees from across the world (primarily Iraq and Afghanistan). Less than 10% of Syrian refugees live in 24 official camps along the Syrian border, while the remaining 91% reside in host communities – mostly in the southeast, but also increasingly in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and other cities in the north and west.

At the same time, Turkey remains a leading transit country for refugees and migrants on the move toward Europe. Though numbers dropped significantly since the implementation of the EU-Turkey Deal in March 2016, over 176,600 people crossed by sea and land from Turkey to Greece in 2016 (including nearly 1,700 during December), while some 37,000 were rescued or apprehended – and more than 400 are believed to have died in the attempt. Under the framework of the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement, 3 rounds of returns took place in December for 53 adults – predominantly single men from Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan – bringing the total number of people re-admitted to Turkey in 2016 to 801.

The scale of these twin crises continues to place enormous strain on the country’s infrastructure and essential services, particularly in host communities. The needs remain especially acute in education, child protection and other basic needs.

According to the Ministry of National Education, more than 490,000 Syrian children are enrolled across the country – representing a 50% increase from the end of the last school year in June, and demonstrating that efforts to increase enrolment throughout 2016 have achieved concrete results. Nevertheless, it is estimated that some 380,000 children remain out of school. Refugee and migrant children and youth – particularly those who are out of school – are highly vulnerable and at heightened risk of isolation, discrimination, economic and sexual exploitation and child marriage. It is also harder for many to adjust to formal education after having been away from school for so long – some for several years.

To respond to the growing humanitarian needs, in 2016 UNICEF worked closely with the Government of Turkey and NGO partners to expand and strengthen existing national systems, increase access to quality, inclusive education and protective environments for children, and help ensure that the basic needs of the most vulnerable families were supported.

Turkey: UNICEF Turkey Crisis Humanitarian Situation Report – December 2016

Afghanistan - ReliefWeb News - 20 January 2017 - 11:51pm
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, World

Highlights

  • For the first time since the beginning of the refugee crisis in Turkey, there are more Syrian children in school than out – as of November, over 490,000 Syrian children are currently enrolled in formal education, a 50% increase in enrolment since the end of the previous school year in June 2016.

  • Over 100 Temporary Education Centres (TECs) were upgraded or provided with essential furniture in December, bringing the total number of TECs supported in 2016 with this intervention to 259.

  • Almost 87,000 children attended regular, structured psychosocial support (PSS) programmes in 2016, of whom over 14,600 were identified with serious child protection concerns and referred to relevant specialized services.

  • In western Turkey, UNICEF-supported outreach teams reached nearly 68,900 children and their families with basic relief items in 2016, and provided almost 12,000 children – including 520 UASC – with immediate legal and PSS counselling, as well as urgent medical assistance.

SITUATION IN NUMBERS

1,258,140
# of Syrian children affected out of

2,814,631
# of Syrians affected

UNICEF Appeal 2016

Syria Crisis: US$ 124.2 million

Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe: US$ $7 million

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

In 2016, Turkey maintained its tragic distinction of being the largest refugeehosting country in the world, with over 2.8 million Syrian refugees – almost half of whom are children – in addition to nearly 300,000 asylum seekers and refugees from across the world (primarily Iraq and Afghanistan). Less than 10% of Syrian refugees live in 24 official camps along the Syrian border, while the remaining 91% reside in host communities – mostly in the southeast, but also increasingly in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and other cities in the north and west.

At the same time, Turkey remains a leading transit country for refugees and migrants on the move toward Europe. Though numbers dropped significantly since the implementation of the EU-Turkey Deal in March 2016, over 176,600 people crossed by sea and land from Turkey to Greece in 2016 (including nearly 1,700 during December), while some 37,000 were rescued or apprehended – and more than 400 are believed to have died in the attempt. Under the framework of the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement, 3 rounds of returns took place in December for 53 adults – predominantly single men from Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan – bringing the total number of people re-admitted to Turkey in 2016 to 801.

The scale of these twin crises continues to place enormous strain on the country’s infrastructure and essential services, particularly in host communities. The needs remain especially acute in education, child protection and other basic needs.

According to the Ministry of National Education, more than 490,000 Syrian children are enrolled across the country – representing a 50% increase from the end of the last school year in June, and demonstrating that efforts to increase enrolment throughout 2016 have achieved concrete results. Nevertheless, it is estimated that some 380,000 children remain out of school. Refugee and migrant children and youth – particularly those who are out of school – are highly vulnerable and at heightened risk of isolation, discrimination, economic and sexual exploitation and child marriage. It is also harder for many to adjust to formal education after having been away from school for so long – some for several years.

To respond to the growing humanitarian needs, in 2016 UNICEF worked closely with the Government of Turkey and NGO partners to expand and strengthen existing national systems, increase access to quality, inclusive education and protective environments for children, and help ensure that the basic needs of the most vulnerable families were supported.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Committee on the Rights of the Child considers the reports of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 20 January 2017 - 11:03pm
Source: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its consideration of the combined third to fifth periodic report of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as its initial report on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Marie-Ange Mushobekwa-Likulia, Minister of Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, introducing the reports, said that juvenile courts and their chambers, as well as juvenile justice mediation committees had been set up in the provinces. Polio had been successfully eradicated, while child mortality due to malaria had been greatly reduced. The education budget had been increased to 15 per cent of the national budget and 88 per cent of children now attended school. The strategy and plan of action to fight against sexual violence had been adopted, and since the appointment of a Special Representative to fight sexual violence and child enrolment in armed groups, the rate of sexual violence had been reduced by half. Significant progress had been made in the fight against the recruitment of children in the armed forces, since the signing of the plan of action with the United Nations in 2012. Measures taken to fight the sale of children had led to the breaking of a cross-border trafficking ring, and the handing down of sentences to the perpetrators, including for one Chief of a border post who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking of children for purposes of sexual exploitation.

In the ensuing dialogue, Committee Experts expressed worry about the situation of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular about violence against them in many forms, and poverty. The allocation of resources remained insufficient, particularly for the health and juvenile justice sectors - how would the budgetary allocation for children be maintained in the light of the economic crisis, reduced export earnings, and corruption? The child mortality rate was worryingly high, particularly in rural areas, due to the lack of resources for health services and violence caused by the armed conflict. Sexual violence and abuse of girls was widespread, particularly in the east, but it seemed that violence against women was present throughout the country and in all settings and it seemed to be culturally accepted, even by the women themselves. What was being done to put an end to impunity for sexual violence, including by the police and the military? The delegation was also asked about actions to address the significant gender gap in education; the global strategy for eradicating discrimination against vulnerable groups, including pygmy and albino children, and protect them from violence; and efforts to ensure birth registration throughout the country.

On the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Experts expressed concern that parents were sometimes offered “gifts” in exchange for their children. Questions were also raised on the ability of the State to control access to child pornography sites. The delegation acknowledged that it was difficult to exercise supervision over the Internet.

In concluding remarks, Suzanne Aho Assouma, Committee Member and Co-Rapporteur for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, commended the progress the country had brought about. There was still very much that remained to be done, and colossal challenges remained with maternal and infant mortality, the fight against poverty, birth registration, child soldiers, etc.

Ms. Mushobekwa-Likulia, in concluding remarks, stressed that the country had the machinery to put into place all the commitments undertaken by the Government. The Committee was thanked for all the recommendations and constructive criticism, which would be taken into consideration.

The delegation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo included representatives of the Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Gender, Child and the Family, and the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The concluding observations on the reports of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be made public on Monday, 6 February and will be available here.

The Committee will reconvene in public on Friday, 20 January at 10 a.m., to consider the second periodic report of the Central African Republic (CRC/C/CAF/2).

Reports

The combined third to fifth periodic report of the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the Convention can be read here: CRC/C/COD/3-5, and the initial report under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography here: CRC/C/OPSC/COD/1.

Presentation of the Report

MARIE-ANGE MUSHOBEKWA-LIKULIA, Minister of Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, started by saying that the report took stock of the progress achieved since the last review in 2009 and the implementation of the Committee’s concluding observations. In order to speed up the implementation of the child protection code, the Democratic Republic of the Congo had set up juvenile courts and their chambers throughout the provinces, created juvenile justice mediation committees, and set up Children’s Committees. In addition, it had promulgated a number of laws, including the organic law creating the National Human Rights Commission, the educational law, the act concerning the implementation of the rights of women and gender parity, the act to amend and complete the family code, and the act to amend and complete the labour law.

In terms of operational structures for the protection of the rights of the child, there were 18 juvenile courts with 63 judges, 830 Children’s Committees, and training of police officers had been undertaken as well. There had been delays in the setting up of the National Children’s Council, but the Government remained committed to establishing this body in line with the children’s law, said the Minister. Polio had been successfully eradicated, while child mortality due to malaria had been greatly reduced. The education budget had been increased to 15 per cent of the national budget and 88 per cent of children now attended school.

Efforts were being deployed to improve birth registration, including through the drafting of the national strategy and plan of action 2014-2018 to give new impetus to civil services. To prevent the torture of children in detention facilities, a special police unit had been set up, whose members were trained in children’s rights and the law against torture. The national strategy and plan of action for the fight against sexual violence had been adopted; since the appointment of a Special Representative to fight sexual violence and child enrolment in armed groups, the rate of sexual violence had been reduced by half. All cases of sexual violence reported to the judicial authorities were systematically investigated and prosecution engaged, while a zero tolerance policy to rape was in place, and a special police unit was tasked with fighting sexual violence. In 2012, the Government and the United Nations had signed a plan of action which contained a number of commitments to fight the recruitment of children in the armed forces, and significant progress had been made in this domain. Ms. Mushobekwa-Likulia reiterated the commitment to improving the situation of children in the country, and said that the Government would ratify the Convention’s third Optional Protocol on a communications procedure.

Turning to the initial report on the implementation of the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which had been ratified in 2001, the Minister said that the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued to strengthen the legal framework for the protection of children’s rights. Article 41 of the Constitution prohibited the neglect and abuse of children, together with paedophilia, sexual abuse, and accusations of witchcraft against children. In 2016, the Family Code had been amended to strengthen the protection of children, which allowed for the creation of the Adoption Office; in situations of conflict, children could not be put up for adoption before having spent one year in a specialized institution of the State. Measures taken to fight the sale of children had led to the breaking of a cross-border trafficking ring, and the handing down of sentences to the perpetrators, including for one Chief of a border point who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking of children for purposes of sexual exploitation.

Questions by the Committee Experts

BERNARD GASTAUD, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur, welcomed the Minister’s announcement concerning the third Optional Protocol to the Convention on a communications procedure, as well as progress made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the protection of the rights of the child, particularly in the legal and policy domain.

Mr. Gastaud recognized the seriousness of the problems facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and expressed worry about the situation of the rights of the child in the country. Two issues were of special concern, he said, namely violence in its many forms, and poverty.

While welcoming the law on the protection of children, Mr. Gastaud was concerned that the implementing texts were not yet in place and asked when they would be ready. Were there any judicial cases which applied directly the provisions of the Convention?

There were concerns about the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Council for Children – could the delegation comment? What was the relationship between other bodies for the protection of children and the National Council for Children itself?

What were the results of the many national plans of action for children and was there any intention to adopt in the future one unified national action plan for the rights of the child?

The allocation of resources remained insufficient, particularly to health and juvenile justice sectors. What measures would be taken to increase sums allocated and were there any traceable indicators to ensure that the allocated resources were really used for that purpose? What was the situation with the planned revision of the tax code and how would the allocation for children be maintained in the light of the economic crisis, reduced export earnings, and corruption?

The delegation was also asked about training in human rights, including on children’s rights, and how those programmes were delivered in schools and other institutions of concern to children, as well as to the public; the situation of the National Institution for Social Workers which seemed to lack resources and qualified staff; insufficient legal recognition of civil society organizations; the declining number of non-governmental organizations; and the decreasing support and funding for these organizations by the Government.

The Country Rapporteur asked how the Government ensured the appropriate monitoring of the activities of mining and extractive industry companies, whose business activities had a negative impact on children through the forced displacement of communities, pollution, and large-scale deforestation.

JOSÉ ANGEL RODRÍGUEZ REYES, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, inquired about the definition of the child and noted that there were two basic laws, the family code and the child protection act, which seemed to be in contradiction. What was the minimum age of marriage for boys and for girls, and what rule was applicable in this matter? What was the state of play concerning the amendments to the family code?

What was the global strategy for eradicating discrimination against vulnerable groups, whatever the basis for discrimination might be? What policies were being adopted to address discrimination against Pygmy people and to ensure their access to basic services and land?

There seemed to be a significant gender gap in education. What was being done to tackle the issue and to encourage parents not to discriminate against girls when sending their children to school?
The Country Co-Rapporteur asked about measures taken to fight gender-based violence, and to protect children with albinism from violence and discrimination.

Turning to the best interest of the child, Mr. Rodríguez Reyes asked about measures adopted to ensure proper understanding of this principle by the courts and what happened to court decisions which did not take the principle into account.

The rate of child mortality was worryingly high, particularly in rural areas. What budgetary resources were being allocated to health? How did the Democratic Republic of the Congo protect children from violence in armed conflict, and what was being done to bring perpetrators of that violence to justice?
What was the status of the decree establishing the Children’s Parliament? What system was in place in rural communities and in courts to ensure that children were heard and that their opinions were taken into account?

On birth registration, a Committee Expert inquired about the status of the national action plan on birth registration, measures to address the very low rates of birth registration in the provinces of North Kivu and Katanga, and also to ensure that registration centres effectively reached people in remote areas and also people on the move due to the armed conflict.

Another Expert asked how the Government assured the cohesion, unity and cultural diversity of children, and preserved their cultural identity. What measures were in place to ensure the privacy of a child’s image? What protection was available for homosexual, lesbian and bisexual children, pygmy children and children with albinism; were there any restrictions on special protection?

On violence against children in all its forms and ill treatment by the police, the delegation was asked when the special police unit for the protection of children had been established, whether an assessment of the results of its work had been made, and what was being done to monitor that children were not tortured by the police. Corporal punishment was not explicitly prohibited by law in all settings – was the Democratic Republic of the Congo considering using the amendments to the family code to prohibit corporal punishment in the family and other settings?

Sexual violence and abuse of girls was widespread, particularly in the east, but it seemed that violence against women was present throughout the country and in all settings, and it seemed to be culturally accepted, even by the women themselves. Could the delegation inform on the implementation and the results of the national strategy against sexual violence? What protection networks were available in provinces and what was being done to put an end to impunity for sexual violence, including by members of the armed forces who were participating in the United Nations peacekeeping missions?

On harmful traditional practices, girls continued to be married as early as 12 years, also as a solution to poverty. What steps were being taken to address early and child marriages, the practice of female genital mutilation, and the torture of children accused of witchcraft?

Responses by the Delegation

Responding to questions raised on various forms of violence, the delegation reiterated that progress had been made on protecting children from violence and sexual violence, including through programmes to raise awareness on the fight against sexual violence. It was clear that an essential element in this fight was the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators. In this vein, the President had appointed a Special Representative for the fight against sexual violence, which had led to a 50 per cent decrease in sexual violence, as reported by various United Nations agencies present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

The implementation of the laws on the protection of the child was a process; laws had been adopted by the Parliament and promulgated by the Head of State, which was an indication of the political commitment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the moment, the Government was working on the dissemination of the laws to relevant agencies and services, and awareness raising among the members of the general public. Sexual violence was not yet eradicated, but there was a political will and commitment, with the support of partners, to fight the phenomenon.

The Commission on the Rights of the Child had already been set up, and was composed of representatives of relevant ministries, non-governmental organizations working on human rights and child protection issues, and partners supporting the process. The Commission suffered from a lack of resources to implement all the recommendations it had made and the delegation appealed for the support of the international community in this regard.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo had improved its tax system, applied the value-added tax, and created a single window to facilitate foreign and national investment. Commercial courts had been set up to avoid abuses of the past, the business climate was improving, and it was clear that those investments would provide a tax base to raise revenues required for the population of the country.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was vast and it was not always possible to reach people throughout the country. The last population census had taken place in the 1980s, and there were many Congolese without identity cards, which were also used as voting cards. The National Office for Identification of the Population had been created to facilitate the identification of the population and the delivery of identity cards, however, the Office had not been set up yet. Carrying out a census would be necessary to get a better idea of the population, which would be essential for a more equal distribution of wealth, registration of all children, and facilitation of development.

The family code clearly set the legal age of marriage at 18, and since it had been promulgated there had been no marriages involving minors. In villages, where customary codes still prevailed, there were isolated incidents of early marriages, and awareness raising activities were being undertaken in those communities. Having a sexual relationship with a minor was considered as rape and perpetrators were prosecuted.

As far as the special protection of vulnerable groups was concerned, Parliament had adopted a law on the protection of vulnerable persons, in particular persons with disabilities and persons with albinism. There had been discrimination in the past, and it persisted, as it did in many other parts of the world. All reported cases of discrimination were investigated and perpetrators prosecuted.

In terms of girls’ education, great efforts were being deployed to persuade the population that all were equal before the law, that human rights were universal, and that no race or gender was superior to others. A campaign was in place in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund to ensure that girls were sent to school, and there were plans to expand the campaign throughout the country as soon as resources were made available.

The amended family code clearly stipulated that all children were legitimate and that all children had a right to a mother and a father. Only monogamous marriages were recognized by this law.
The Government employed efforts to ensure that basic health care was available to all its citizens, and that at least a dispensing pharmacy was available in each village. The project was ongoing to build a referral hospital in each provincial capital. A number of challenges continued to exist in the health sector and the Government counted on the generous support of its partners.

Civil registration services were available in all provinces of the country; great efforts were being deployed to ensure that local authorities set up civil registries. Still, not all the children were registered, also because there were parents who did not believe in the need to register their children.

Follow-up Questions and Answers

In their follow-up questions, Committee Experts asked about tangible measures to protect from discrimination children with albinism, pygmies, and all other vulnerable groups; how could the Cabinet be persuaded about the importance of setting up the National Office for the Identification of the Population and allocating resources to ensure it was fully operational; the coordination role of the National Children’s Council; and the state of play and the Government plans to improve data collection.

Responding, a delegate said that since 2002, the Government had been promoting the participation of children and the functioning of the Children’s Parliaments. Efforts were being made to draw up a strategic plan to address gender-based violence, with the support of partners. A database on sexual and gender-based violence had been created in the Ministry for Gender; it covered the whole country and periodic reports were being issued which defined the dimension of the problem.

Questions from the Experts

In the next series of questions, Committee Experts asked about the full recognition of children born out of wedlock, particularly in the light of the family code. What was the situation with family assistance to poor families?

The issue of children separated from their families in conflict situations was of concern, particularly in the Kivus. What support was being provided to those children and the families they were staying with, how were those families monitored, and how were the orphans from the recent Beni massacre being cared for?

The conditions in orphanages were terrible – what was being done to improve that situation?
International adoption had been halted, although there were 1,200 children who had been released from care as they entered adoption procedures. What was the situation of those children and what was being done to improve the legal situation of international adoption?

How many children with disabilities were in the country, were any programmes of detection of congenital malformations available, and what was the social situation of those children?

The current health care financing stood at four per cent of the public budget, which was way below the 15 per cent set by the Abuja Guidelines on healthcare financing. What was being done to improve access to health services for children in remote areas, and in conflict affected areas? What was being done to ensure the consistent quality of training of health personnel?

The delegation was asked about measures taken to reduce the maternal mortality rates, to inform on the state of play of adolescent health, efforts to provide care to obstetric fistula, and about programmes to support breastfeeding, as only 48 per cent of the children were exclusively breastfed up to the age of six months.

What was being done to prevent the vertical transmission of HIV/AIDS, i.e. from mother to child, what care did mothers living with HIV/ADIS receive, and was the access to anti-retroviral drugs of orphaned HIV positive children ensured?

On education, an Expert asked about the status of the 2011 programme “1,000 schools per year”, measures to reduce school drop-out rates, and efforts to improve the quality of teaching and bring it in line with international standards in this area. About 20 per cent of children were out of school, mainly because of poverty and conflict, and there was very little information about the education of children with disabilities. What were the results of the plan to put a stop to the use of schools for military purposes?

With regard to children in need of special protection, how successful was the plan to demobilize child soldiers, and the programme for demobilization, disarmament and reintegration? Could the delegation provide information on the prosecution of those responsible for the recruitment of children to armed forces? What were the results and the outcomes of the programme to deal with the phenomenon of children living in the streets?

The labour code prohibited child labour up to the age of 16, but in the informal sector, the worst forms of child labour were widespread, including children aged 7 or 8 working in mines. What mechanism was in place to identify children affected by the armed conflict, and to provide them with care, support, and family reunification?

The delegation was asked to explain the juvenile justice system, and the treatment of children in conflict with the law, who seemed to be treated as adults and were subjected to violence in detention facilities they were held in. What was the age of criminal responsibility?

Responses by the Delegation

With regard to the preservation of the identity of children and the protection of their cultural identity, the delegation said that cultural diversity was a principal richness of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which had more than 240 tribes, speaking many different languages. Although there were conflicts between some ethnic groups, Congolese were proud of their cultural diversity.

Homosexual marriage did not exist in any of the cultures in the country, and the Constitution stated that marriage was between a man and a women. The rights of those who chose homosexuality were respected.

The delegation stressed that no child was considered illegitimate before the law, and all children had the right to be treated on an equal footing. There were cases where a child was not recognized by a father, but the law treated all children the same.

In 2015, more than 400 provincial trainers had been trained; all juvenile judges had been appointed and half had already received training. Several awareness raising events had been organized in the framework of key commemorations such as the Day of the African Children, International Day of the Girl Child, and others, which addressed a number of issues such as gender-based violence, early marriages, exclusive breastfeeding, birth registration, and civic responsibility. The State budget every year included resources for the promotion of children’s rights, while key partners such as the United Nations Children’s Fund, the European Union and others also made their contributions.

The rate of birth registration was very low in the North Kivu province, which was among those most affected by the armed conflict, particularly in the area of Beni and Butembo, which were regularly attacked by rebels based in Uganda. Those attacks disrupted schooling of children, many were abducted and killed and the population was terrorised, which meant that they were not feeling secure enough to go out and register the birth of their children. To date, more than 500 focal points for registration officers and inspectors had been implemented, monitoring of the 107 provincial registration offices was in place and awareness raising of birth registration had been conducted.

Witchcraft was largely a part of the culture, but was not recognized by the law. Many children accused of witchcraft had to flee and become homeless; some were accepted in the State’s institutions or foster homes, and some were accepted in Church-run or private orphanages.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo planned to harmonize the many legal provisions referring to corporal punishment, and to prohibit it in all settings.

To tackle sexual violence, the Government had devised strategies based on eight pillars and since the appointment of the Special Representative of the Head of State two years ago, the cases of sexual violence had significantly declined. The best way to eradicate sexual violence was to stop the war, which had been raging in the country for 20 years; it did not depend on the Democratic Republic of the Congo but on neighbouring countries which continued to arm the groups inside the country. Laws to punish crimes of sexual violence had been adopted, and all cases of sexual violence that were reported to the police were investigated and prosecuted, including those perpetrated by high-ranking military and police officers.

Persons with albinism were well protected and accepted as full-fledged members of the society; unlike other Sub-Saharan countries, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo they were not killed or used in rituals.

The international adoption of 1,200 children had been suspended because of observed irregularities, for example there were children who were noted as orphans while their parents were still alive, other children were given for adoption to homosexual couples which the Democratic Republic of the Congo did not recognize, while some adoptive parents lied about their identity. The Government had an obligation to protect its children, and was hoping that this situation would soon be resolved.

Children with disabilities went to school, and some of the bigger cities had schools for children with hearing or visual impairments. There was a lack of places for children with mental disabilities; those children also faced cultural attitudes and prejudices as mental illness was seen as linked with sorcery or witchcraft.

The nutrition of children was a recurring problem; awareness raising campaigns were in place and the proper nutrition of children was discussed with parents during vaccination campaigns for example. Messages were also passed through the media, traditional leaders, clergy, and village chiefs, which promoted the consumption of fish and vegetables, of which there were plenty as the Democratic Republic of the Congo was rich in water and had very fertile soil. Parental attitudes were the largest part of the problem.

Turning to maternal mortality, the delegation said that pregnant women, like in many sub-Saharan countries, did not have access to prenatal consultation. The Government had made efforts to the best of its ability and had equipped hospitals with the necessary equipment and materials, and also provided free of charge deliveries to women who could not afford to pay.

The rate of breastfeeding was about 50 per cent, which was also due to globalization and the fact that more women worked and were not available to feed their infants. Obstetric fistula was one of the scourges which afflicted the country as a result of the war and the brutal rapes that women suffered.
Because of the situation in the country, the Government was sometimes forced to use the budget allocated for social, health and education sectors to protect the territorial integrity of the State, its borders and the population. The Democratic Republic of the Congo did not negotiate with militias, or terrorists, as they were known in Europe.

Turning to sexual and reproductive health, the delegation said that abortion was prohibited by the law except when the life of the mother was at risk, which must be established by a doctor. Contraceptives were available free of charge for adults. Sex education was often a taboo in many African cultures, but some of those topics were included in the school curriculum. This was one of the measures to prevent early pregnancies.

Follow-up Questions and Answers

In their follow-up questions, Experts asked about legal abortion in case of rape, access to abortion for young girls who had been raped, and about the access of adolescents to free contraceptives.

The delegation said that a woman carrying a child as a result of rape could request her doctor to draw up a certificate that she could not psychologically and morally support the pregnancy and have the child; in such a case, an abortion was carried out. Children under the age of 18 could not request an abortion, it had to be done by the girl’s parents. Abortions were not conducted in late stages of pregnancy. A child born as a result of rape to girls under the age of 18 could be put up for adoption, with the consent of the parents of the young mother.

Girls under the age of 18 did not have access to contraceptives, this was out of the question and contrary to the culture. The legal age of marriage was 18, and any other form of marriage apart from civil marriage was not recognized by the State. Birth certificates must be presented by each spouse, and their parents must also give their consent for the marriage. Boys under the age of 18 could not access condoms, if they had them, it was illegal. The law prohibited forced and early marriage and polygamous marriages were not recognized.

Female genital mutilation did not exist in the customs of the land, and if there were any cases, they were isolated and often connected with rape as the weapon of war. The mutilation of men also took place in some areas afflicted by the activities of Ugandan-based rebels.

Committee Experts stressed that the laws indeed existed, but that what happened in practice was different. What awareness raising campaigns were in place to highlight the existence of the law prohibiting forced and early marriage, and against female genital mutilation which was prohibited by the law but still took place? Was is possible to annul forced marriages?

Responding, the delegation reiterated that the Congolese customs and culture did not promote the practise of cutting, and that any cases were isolated. A marriage contracted on the basis of lies was automatically annulled.

On education, the delegation said that 1,000 schools had been built every year for the past two years in the framework of the “1,000 schools per year” programme of 2011, but the implementation of the project was hindered by the security situation in the Beni-Butembo area, which had given priority to the defence of the territory of the State and the protection of the population. The elections would be convened in 2017, which in a country the size of the Democratic Republic of the Congo would be difficult, with the state of the roads, the state of the civil service and the lack of identification cards for all the citizens. It was estimated that the holding of the elections would require a great deal of resources, about US $1.2 billion. As a result, it was clear that 1,000 schools would not be built this year. The war was using up more than half of the State budget, but it was clear to the Government that education must be a priority in order to build up the country, and the education budget today was second only to the defence. The curriculum was up to international standards, but more needed to be done to improve the quality of teaching.

The Congolese military and the police force did not recruit children, and the presentation of a birth certificate was obligatory during the recruitment process; there were however some armed groups which continued to recruit children. There were street children in the country, and when the compulsory education became more effective, school would become mandatory and no children would be left in the street.

In a further series of follow-up questions, the delegation was asked to clarify how big the education budget would be after the allocations for the elections; and to explain the process of demobilization of children from the armed forces, and the support they, their families and communities received.
Answering, the delegation said that armed groups continued to take children and adults hostage in a number of provinces, and use them as slaves – in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Maniema. This was unacceptable. The Democratic Republic of the Congo had an obligation to organize the elections, but it had not been said that the education budget would be revised; still, US $ 1.2 billion would have to be found.

There were children working in mines and the Government requested mining companies to only recruit adults. If labour inspectors found children working in mining companies, those would be fined and prosecuted.

Questions Related to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography

BERNARD GASTAUD, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur, asked about a body tasked with the coordination of public bodies in charge of the implementation of the Optional Protocol and what place it held in the State structures, as well as about outcomes of any advocacy efforts.

What budgetary resources were allocated to the implementation of the Optional Protocol and was there an independent body tasked with monitoring of the implementation of this Protocol or the Convention?

What steps would be taken to fully harmonize criminal legislation with the provisions of the Protocol and what sanctions were handed to perpetrators of the crimes set in article 2 and 3 of the Protocol? Would the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the future use the Optional Protocol as a basis for the extradition of perpetrators and no longer require the existence of bilateral agreements?

Other Experts noted that the situation in the country made children particularly vulnerable to trafficking and sale for purposes of sexual exploitation, while lack of birth registration increased the risks of trafficking and sale.

What was the situation concerning the financing and dissemination of the national action plan on combatting the sale of children? Why had the planned campaign on trafficking of children not taken place?

It seemed that very little was being done to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse by armed groups. Girls faced additional challenges during demobilisation because they were rejected by their families. What actions were being put in place to address this issue?

The delegation was also asked about plans to tackle online sexual exploitation of children, and the very worrying situation of children in detention, including in facilities in Kinshasa.

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation said that if the age of the child was not known, the authorities would turn to doctors who would carry out appropriate examinations and could avail themselves of magistrates to help establish the age of the child. The Army did not recruit children, stressed the delegation; anyone who wanted to be recruited needed to present a birth certificate. It was the same case for police officers. Some armed groups in the country did use child soldiers; those groups were considered terrorists and fought against accordingly.

Turning to the issue of gender equality, it was explained that a national commission was being established to combat the exploitation of women and trafficking in persons.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo had a monist legal system, which meant that the Convention had primacy over domestic law; the Convention and its Optional Protocol were thus directly applicable. There had been no cases of extradition under the Optional Protocol.

The delegation stated said that there was a demonstrated will by indigenous communities to integrate in the society. Some indigenous individuals had become ministers in provincial governments.

There was no discrimination when it came to children’s access to school. Major steps forward had been taken, especially with the amendment of the family code, including strengthening the criteria for the adoption of children. Vocational training courses were organized for girls, who were also provided with self-empowerment kits.

Follow-up Questions

An Expert asked about what happened to those who hired child soldiers. What punishments were imposed if there were no provisions in place?

A question was asked on what the State party was doing to protect the diversity and individuality of different ethnic groups.

Another Expert inquired about the demobilization of girl soldiers and wondered if they went through programmes separate from boys. Was the programme well-known to girls in armed groups?

Had a census been carried out to establish the number of children living on streets?

An Expert inquired whether there was a national hotline to help children exposed to domestic violence. There needed to be structures in place which would be able to take action on reported violations against children.

A question was also asked about making schools physically accessible to children with disabilities. The educational system ought to be as inclusive as possible, with the view of avoiding stigmatization. That would have a long term impact on the country.

The issue of underage marriage was brought up by an Expert, who inquired whether customary or traditional marriages involving minors were acknowledged or repealed.

Replies by the Delegation

It was true that there were armed groups who did not fall under the aegis of the Government. Once those who used child soldiers were reached and arrested, they would answer for their crimes. It was not easy to apprehend the leaders of armed groups; when they fled to other countries, the authorities would ask for help from the International Criminal Court.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s courts had established a working group in order to ensure that domestic law was fully compliant with international law. Currently, domestic laws were being adjusted to international conventions.

In armed groups, boys generally carried guns and girls carried munition, so their needs after the demobilization were different. There were not as many girls in armed groups as there were boys. Those youngsters were encouraged to restart their lives in the society. Civil society was of great help in persuading families to accept their children back from armed groups. Between 2013 and 2015, thousands of children had benefited from the reintegration programme.

The head of the delegation, responding to the question on street children, explained that they found themselves on the streets for many reasons, including being orphans, fleeing domestic violence, or being accused of sorcery. For those children escaping from their families, there were attempts to mediate with their parents. There was no law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo recognizing witchcraft, but 90 per cent of the country believed there were witches and sorcerers. When children were accused of witchcraft, some parents rejected them. Some families, on the other hand, conducted exorcisms on their children. Many children did not know their rights; often the only way to remedy those situations was having material witnesses or photographs of child abuse.

Labour inspectors were present in all the provinces of the country. Given the increase in the population, there was a need for more inspectors, who could help establish if children were used in mining or other prohibited professions. Labour inspectors conducted unannounced visits.

The delegation stated that a campaign would soon start in all schools to inform children of their rights. They should be aware of their rights from an early age. Laws clearly stated that families should not abuse their children, but the cultural norms were such that a child could not complain against its parents. Courts had mediation committees to ensure the amicable resolution of disputes; young people were increasingly registering for those services.

Juvenile courts were present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in major cities; there would be more in the future. The conditions of children deprived of liberty were checked during inspection visits.

Juvenile delinquents who used knives and firearms to violently rob people on the streets had to be dealt with by the Government, which had created a special programme in response. Many had been tried and imprisoned; since the operation the level of such banditry in Kinshasa had gone down.
On the issue of child marriage, it was explained that the country’s legislation recognized marriage as of the age of 18. Traditional marriages were agreed upon between the bride’s and the groom’s families. If those were conducted only between the two families and not registered with the authorities, there was no way the Government would know of such marriages. If the authorities became aware, such marriages would be annulled. If an adult had sex with a minor, even within a traditional marriage, he would be held accountable. If a child was born, the father would need to recognize paternity and support the child.

On homophobia, the delegation explained that the Congolese culture simply did not accept that a man could marry another man. Different cultures were accepting of different practices. The Congolese culture, for example, did not allow for a child to launch a complaint against its parents. Mentalities and approaches needed to change through awareness raising. Communities needed to be aware of the Government’s plans and helped with their implementation.

The hotline for domestic violence was already in place, stated a delegate.

Children with physical disabilities were not refused access to any schools in the country, but the facilities had unfortunately not been put in place to alleviate their access. Teaching such children in isolation made them only more isolated and had a further negative effect on them.

Follow-up Questions

An Expert asked whether the authorities were planning to hold an awareness-raising campaign to ensure that children were not harassed during political demonstrations and rallies in 2017.

Another Expert referred to the sale of children, and said that there were examples where parents would sometimes be given financial or non-financial remuneration for giving up their children.
A question was asked on the ratification of the Hague Convention on International Adoptions.

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation confirmed that 2017 would indeed be a year of elections. All provisions had been taken to ensure that children would not be used during the election campaign. The support of partners and the mobilization of resources were necessary to ensure that the entire territory of the country would be covered.

Parents sometimes put their children up for adoption because of their poor material situation; if occasionally they were given a cow or a goat by the other party as a gift, it did not amount to selling children. In some countries, for example, surrogate mothers were paid money to carry children they would then give away. Was that selling of children?

Questions by Experts

A clarification was asked on the age of majority for criminal responsibility.

More details were also sought on the national action plan for trafficking. How were the causes of sexual exploitation addressed?

The delegation was asked to comment on the reportedly terrible conditions of centres holding children.
How was the State party combatting online sexual exploitation of children?

A question was also asked about the prevention of sexual abuse in peacekeeping operations.
An Expert asked about the lack of provisions prohibiting capital punishment.

The delegation was asked to comment on the conditions of children who used to be in armed rebel groups and were arrested by the Armed Forces. Were they treated as children and did they go through the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration process?

Replies by the Delegation

Regarding the ratification of the Hague Convention, it was explained that it had not yet been ratified, but was being still studied in Parliament. The same was the case for the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Reception centres for children and social homes had been in existence for 30 years, and many needed to be renovated. Most of them were very run down, and the Government would work on improvements.
Some Members of Parliament had proposed that there would need to be a law on cybercrime in general, but the authorities did not have the equipment or means to monitor all Internet sites related to child pornography. Children’s access to pornographic sites was also difficult to monitor.

The Armed Forces of the country took part in some peacekeeping missions, most recently in the Central African Republic. The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Human Rights were involved in awareness raising for soldiers. Sometimes there were soldiers who did not meet expected standards, but that was not only the case with Congolese soldiers. Such sort of abuse knew no race, religion or culture and had to be combatted. Congolese soldiers who had committed sexual abuses in the Central African Republic had been convicted and were serving their sentences.

The delegation acknowledged the need to provide more statistics. Some figures existed for Kinshasa and a number of other provinces, but certainly more needed to be done. An inter-ministerial committee composed of eight ministries collected data. The National Council for Childhood was a forum providing an opportunity for all stakeholders involved in child issues to meet.

It was true that there was no specific piece of legislation that clearly prohibited corporal punishment, said a delegate. She condemned corporal punishment and said that the delegation would take on board all comments made by the Committee. The delegation would do all it could to ensure that the bill was brought before Parliament.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was conducting a campaign to combat HIV/AIDS. An extremely high percentage of the population was now aware of the threats and risks of AIDS.
The plan of action would start with legislation; an exclusive hotline for children would be put in place; and efforts would be made for children themselves to be aware of their rights. The children ought to be aware that it was not an accepted custom for them to be beaten at home.

Concluding Remarks

SUZANNE AHO ASSOUMA, Committee Member and Co-Rapporteur for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, commended the progress the country had brought about. There was still very much that remained to be done, and colossal challenges remained with maternal and infant mortality, the fight against poverty, birth registration, child soldiers, etc. It was hoped that financial and human resources would be made available for the benefit of children. Some excellent policies and plans of action were in place. It would be beneficial to support non-governmental organizations working on the same issues.

KIRSTEN SANDBERG, Committee Member and Rapporteur for the Optional Protocol, said that some answers had been received, even if vague. The Committee would need to hear more about exact strategies in place and the relevant criminal provisions.

MARIE-ANGE MUSHOBEKWA-LIKULIA, Minister of Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thanked the Committee for the detailed questions and promised to provide more detailed answers wherever there was a need. The country had the machinery to put into place all the commitments undertaken by the Government. The international treaties and protocols would be respected. The Committee was thanked for all the recommendations and constructive criticism, which would be taken into consideration.

For use of the information media; not an official record

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Troisièmes à cinquièmes rapports périodiques des États parties attendus en 2012 : République démocratique du Congo (CRC/C/COD/3-5)

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 20 January 2017 - 10:40pm
Source: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Comité des droits de l’enfant

Examen des rapports soumis par les États parties en application de l’article 44 de la Convention

Introduction

  1. Le Gouvernement de la RDC a présenté et défendu le 21 janvier 2009, son 2è rapport périodique sur la mise en œuvre de la Convention relative aux Droits de l’Enfant devant le Comité des Droits de l’Enfant (CRC/C/COD /2).

  2. À l’issue de cette présentation, une série des recommandations (observations finales) avaient été formulées à l’endroit du Gouvernement de la RD Congo par le Comité des Droits de l’Enfant sous la cote CRC/C/COD/CO/2 3. Ce 3è , 4è et 5è rapport périodique est élaboré dans un document unique, en tenant compte des observations finales et recommandations du Comité adoptées à sa 1398è séance, le 30 janvier 2009.

  3. Le présent rapport périodique a été élaboré par le Comité Interministériel des Droits de l’Homme (CIDH) suivant le document portant la cote CRC/C/COD/CO/2 du 30 janvier 2009.

1. Le Comité invite instamment l’État partie à prendre, à titre prioritaire, toutes les mesures nécessaires, y compris des mesures de sensibilisation, pour accélérer l’application effective du Code de protection de l’enfant et d’autres textes de loi qui protègent les droits de l’enfant, à veiller à ce que des ressources humaines et financières suffisantes soient affectées à la pleine application de ces textes, et à renforcer les mécanismes d’application de la loi et la formation.

  1. En vue d’accélérer l’application de la loi portant protection de l’enfant et autres textes de lois qui assurent la protection des droits de l’enfant des mesures suivantes ont été prises :

    • Décret no 11/01 du 5 janvier 2011 fixant les sièges ordinaires et ressorts des tribunaux pour enfant ;

    • Arrêté ministériel n o 001/CAB/MIN/JDH/2011 du 5 janvier 2011 portant création des sièges Secondaires des Tribunaux pour Enfant et fixation de leurs ressorts ;

    • Arrêté ministériel n o 003/CAB/MIN/JDH/2011 du 5 janvier 2011 portant regroupement des ressorts des Tribunaux pour Enfant pour l’exécution des mesures de garde, d’éducation et de préservation ;

    • Arrêté n o 0248/GC/CAB.MIN/AFS.SAH.SN/09 du 19 novembre 2009 portant réglementation du placement social des enfants en rupture familiale ;

    • Arrêté n o R.9C/0249/GC/CAB.MIN/AFF.SAH SN/09 du 9 novembre 2009 portant mise en application des lignes directrices nationales de protection et de prise en charge des enfants en rupture familiale ;

    • Arrêté Interministériel n o 490/CAB/MIN/JDH/2010 et n o 011/CAB/MIN.GEFAE du 29 décembre 2010 portant composition, organisation et fonctionnement du Comité de médiation en matière de justice pour mineur ;

    • Loi organique n o 11/013 du 11 août 2011 portant organisation et fonctionnement de la Police Nationale Congolaise ;

    • Arrêté Interministériel Ministères du Genre Famille et Enfant – EPSP portant organisation et fonctionnement du Parlement et du Comité des Enfants.

  2. En dehors de ces mesures, le Gouvernement a mené des actions et a mis sur pied des programmes et des politiques pouvant contribuer à éliminer les violations des droits des enfants. Il s’agit notamment de :

    • Campagne de vulgarisation de la loi sur les violences sexuelles ;

    • Campagne de plaidoyer auprès des magistrats, autorités militaires et de la police pour la bonne application de la loi portant protection de l’enfant ;

    • Projet de loi portant révision du code de la famille révisé disponible ;

    • Création du Fonds National pour la promotion de la Femme et de l’Enfant (FONAFEN) ;

    • Note circulaire du 5 mars 2000 portant vulgarisation de la loi portant protection de l’enfant concernant l’enregistrement des enfants à l’État civil ;

    • Recrutement de 2 000 magistrats et leurs auxiliaires et formation sur des modules portant sur la protection de l’enfant ;

    • Décision gouvernementale instituant la gratuité de l’enseignement primaire sur l’ensemble du territoire national sauf La ville province de Kinshasa et celle de Lubumbashi.

  3. Les mesures suivantes attendent d’être prises :

    • Décret du 1er Ministre fixant l’organisation et le fonctionnement de l’établissement de garde et d’éducation de l’État ;

    • Décret du 1er Ministre fixant l’organisation et le fonctionnement du Conseil National de l’Enfant ;

    • Arrêté du Ministre de l’Intérieur, Sécurité et Décentralisation fixant l’organisation de la Brigade Spéciale de protection de l’Enfant ;

    • Arrêté Interministériel Justice et Droits Humains – Affaires Sociales fixant les modalités d’accès de l’Enfant vivant avec l’un ou les deux parents emprisonner ont droits des subventions aux besoins sanitaires et alimentaires ;

    • Arrêté Interministériel des Ministères du Genre, Famille et Enfant – Affaires Sociales fixant les conditions d’interventions de l’État pour assister les enfants dont les parents sont incapables d’assurer la survie ;

    • Arrêté du Ministre des Affaires Sociales fixant l’organisation et le fonctionnement du corps des assistants sociaux.

    • Les ressources humaines ont été affectées notamment au sein du Conseil National de l’Enfant afin de rendre plus opérationnel, et dans les tribunaux pour enfants (personnel judiciaire et auxiliaire de justice)

    • Toutefois, ces ressources demeurent insuffisantes pour couvrir l’ensemble du pays d’où la nécessité de le renforcer.

    • Les ressources financières sont insuffisantes, à côté des ressources disponibilisés par le gouvernement, pour une pleine application de tous ces textes qui protègent l’enfant notamment l’installation des tribunaux pour enfants sur toute l’étendue du pays, l’installation des bureaux secondaires de l’état civil pour l’enregistrement des naissances, la création des EGEE, etc., …, les fonds alloués par les partenaires (UNICEF, Save the children, etc.) sont importantes et indispensables mais ne couvrent malheureusement pas tous les besoins.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Combined third to fifth reports of States parties due in 2012: Democratic Republic of the Congo (CRC/C/COD/3-5)

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 20 January 2017 - 10:35pm
Source: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Committee on the Rights of the Child

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 44 of the Convention

Introduction

  1. On 21 January 2009, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo presented its second periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/COD /2) to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and responded to the Committee’s questions on the subject.

  2. Following that meeting, a series of recommendations (concluding observations) were drawn up by the Committee on the Rights of the Child addressed to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (document CRC/C/COD/CO/2).

  3. The third, fourth and fifth reports have been drawn up as a single document, taking account of the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations, as adopted at its 1398th meeting, on 30 January 2009.

  4. The present periodic report was drawn up by the Interministerial Committee on Human Rights in accordance with document CRC/C/COD/CO/2 of 30 January 2009.

1. The Committee urges the State party to take, as a matter of priority, all appropriate measures, including awareness-raising activities to expedite the effective implementation of the Child Protection Code and other legislative texts that provide protection for the rights of the child and to ensure adequate human and financial resources for their full implementation, and that it strengthen law enforcement mechanisms and training.

  1. The following measures have been taken to speed up the application of the laws on child protection and other legislation protecting the rights of the child:

    • Decree No. 11/01 of 5 January 2011 establishing the regular seats and jurisdiction of children’s courts;

    • Ministerial Order No. 001/CAB/MIN/JDH/2011 of 5 January 2011 establishing the secondary seats of the children’s courts and determining their jurisdiction;

    • Ministerial Order No. 003/CAB/MIN/JDH/2011 of 5 January 2011 consolidating jurisdiction in relation to the children’s courts for the implementation of custodial, educational and safeguarding measures;

    • Order No. 0248/GC/CAB.MIN/AFS.SAH.SN/09 of 19 November 2009 regulating the social placement of children from families in breakdown.

    • Order No. R.9C/0249/GC/CAB.MIN/AFF.SAH SN/09 of 9 November 2009 applying the national guidelines for the protection and care of children from families in breakdown;

    • Interministerial Orders Nos. 490/CAB/MIN/JDH/2010 and 011/CAB/MIN.GEFAE of 29 December 2010 on the composition, organization and operation of the Juvenile Justice Mediation Committee;

    • Basic Law No. 11/013 of 11 August 2011 on the organization and operation of the Congolese National Police Service;

    • Interministerial Order of the Ministries for Gender Issues, the Family and Children and for Primary, Secondary and Vocational Education (EPSP) on the organization and operation of the Children’s Parliament and the Children’s Committee.

  2. In addition to those measures, the Government has undertaken activities and set in place programmes and policies that could help eliminate violations of the rights of the child. These include:

    • A campaign to publicize the law on sexual violence • An awareness-raising campaign geared to members of the judiciary, the military authorities and the police, and designed to secure the proper application of child protection legislation;

    • A bill revising the Family Code;

    • Creation of the National Fund for the Promotion of Women and the Protection of Children (FONAFEM);

    • Circular of 5 March 2000 publicizing the legislation on child protection in relation to the registration of children in the civil register;

    • Recruitment of 2,000 judges and auxiliaries, and the provision of training modules on child protection;

    • Governmental Decision making primary education free of charge throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo except for the city-province of Kinshasa and the city of Lubumbashi.

  3. The following measures are due to be taken:

    • Prime Ministerial decree determining the organization and operation of the State custodial and educational establishments;

    • Prime Ministerial decree establishing the organization and operation of the National Council for Children;

    • Order of the Minister of the Interior, Security and Decentralization determining the organization of the Special Child Protection Brigade;

    • Interministerial Order of the Ministries of Justice and Human Rights and of Social Affairs determining the arrangement whereby children with one or both parents imprisoned have access to subsidies for health care and subsistence;

    • Interministerial Order of the Ministries for Gender Issues, the Family and Children and of Social Affairs determining the conditions for State intervention to assist children whose parents are unable to guarantee their survival;

    • Order of the Minister of Social Affairs establishing the organization and operation of the social workers’ panel;

    • Human resources have been allocated to the National Council for Children in particular to render it more effective, and to the children’s courts (members of the judiciary and legal officers);

    • However, these resources are still not enough to cover the whole country, hence the need to boost them further.

    • Financial resources, alongside the resources made available by the Government, are insufficient to secure the full application of all of the legislation that protects children, including, among other things, as regards the setting up of registry office branch offices for the registration of births, the creation of State custodial and educational establishments; the funds allocated by the partners (the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children, for example) are significant and vital but unfortunately not sufficient to meet all needs.

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