Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

D.R.-Congo DRC


57.5 million (31 million under 18)

Government Armed forces


Optional Protocol


Other treaties

GC AP I & II CRC ILO 138 & 182 ICC

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The Committee on the Rights of the Child’s findings highlight the unbelievable suffering of children in Congo. In its concluding observations on the state of children rights in Congo, released on January 30, 2009, the UN body expressed grave concern that the Congolese government, through its armed forces, bears “direct responsibility for violations” and that the government has failed to protect children from rights violations by other non-state armed groups.

 An estimated 7,000 child soldiers remained in government forces and armed groups, including foreign armed groups mostly to be found in the eastern provinces of Equateur, Ituri, Katanga, North and South Kivu, and Maniema. They were used as combatants, porters, guards and sexual slaves. Children were recruited from refugee camps in Rwanda and used by armed groups in North Kivu. [1]

UN photo - Child soldier DRC

UN photo – Child soldier DRC

Nearly 5.5 million people were estimated to have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since the beginning of the armed conflict in 1998.[2] Exploitation of mineral and other economic resources fueled the conflict, which was characterized by systematic human rights abuses and population displacement, particularly in the east and north-east.

Children were recruited and used by all parties to the armed conflict for combat and support roles, and thousands of girls were used as sexual slaves. An estimated 33,000 children have been demobilized across the country with UNICEF’s assistance since 2004, according to Alessandra Dentice, UNICEF’s chief of child protection in the DRC.

See also Girl Soldiers and Developments

[2] International Rescue Committee, Mortality in the DRC, an Ongoing Crisis, January 2008,


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