Encouraging and assisting Civil Society in the fight against arbitrary detention and torture in the Republic of the Congo
The MANDAT project which started in January 2016 is being managed jointly by AEDH and the Congolese NGO, The Congolese Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH).
MANDAT aims to contribute to democracy and the rule of law, as well as to the promotion and the protection of human rights and basic freedoms in the Republic of the Congo.
Although the Republic of the Congo ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment torture is frequently used in the Republic of the Congo.
This is shown very clearly in the report on the Republic of the Congo before the 54th Committee against Torture of the UN. It was ten years late, but in the Congolese government acknowledged that there was a lack of respect for the rules governing arrests and detention. It also recognised that torture was used repeatedly in police stations.
According to the Congolese authorities, “putting the convention into practice is encountering a number of difficulties”. Amongst these difficulties they listed:
- poor knowledge of the convention and the rights therein
- poor use of the international legal tools concerning human rights by government agents
- Insufficient staff to manage justice... all of which have disastrous consequences for human rights.
This assessment confirms the analysis carried out by experts from the UN and of Congolese civil society representatives. For these latter the absence of a definition of torture in the Congolese civil and criminal codes allows the police and the armed forces to operate with impunity; and blocks any initiative to get them to change their approach.
The aim of the project
Through the MANDAT project AEDH and its Congolese partner are undertaking to:
- Reinforce the capability of civil organisations
- Alert the authorities and influence public opinion to have practices changed
- Identify, protect and defend the victims