Democratic Republic of the Congo
Practice Relating to Rule 137. Participation of Child Soldiers in Hostilities
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Law on Child Protection (2009) states:
For the purpose of the present law, it is understood as:
1. child: every person under the age of 18;
The worst forms of child labour are prohibited.
The worst forms of child labour include:
b) the forced or compulsory recruitment of children in view of their use in armed conflict.
The enlistment and use of children in armed forces and groups, as well as in the police, are prohibited.
The State ensures the demobilization of children enlisted or used in armed forces and groups, as well as in the police …
The National Committee to combat the worst forms of child labour has the following mission:
1. to develop a national strategy for the eradication of the worst forms of child labour;
2. to ensure the follow-up of the implementation of the strategy is implemented and to evaluate the degree of application of the measures prescribed.
… [T]he enlistment or use of children under the age of 18 years in armed forces and groups, as well as in the police, is punishable by between ten to twenty years’ imprisonment.
In 2007, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Democratic Republic of the Congo stated:
96. The war, which had a very adverse effect on children’s rights, has ended through the conclusion and implementation of the Global and Comprehensive Agreement signed in Pretoria on 17 December 2002, although there remain to this day some isolated pockets of armed conflict in the East of the country.
97. … Among the positive measures taken by the Government to maintain a lasting peace, the following should be noted:
- The demobilization of children in armed forces and armed groups;
185. The new Labour Code of 2002 … prohibits all of the worst forms of child labour, taking its cue from article 3 of ILO Convention No. 182 (1999) concerning the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour and immediate action with a view to their elimination.. Pursuant to article 3 (2) of the Code, the term “worst forms of child labour” includes, in particular:
(a) All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict[.]