The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a member of the United Nations and the African Union. It has ratified many UN Human Rights Conventions (compare list on the right) and thus has made binding international commitments to adhere to the standards laid down in these universal human rights documents.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a French-speaking country in Central Africa. With an area of 2,344,885 square km, it is the third largest country of Africa. It has only a small length of coastline to the Atlantic Ocean. On a global scale, its population density is low. The capital of the country, which became independent on 30 June 1960 from Belgium, is Kinshasa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a member of the regional economic communities SADC, ECCAS and COMESA.
With a Human Development Index of 0.39 the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranks seventh lowest among 182 countries ranked in the UNDP Human Development Report of 2009. Life expectancy of the 64.2 million inhabitants at birth is 46 years, population growth is 2.9 percent per year. GNI is 150 US-$ per capita. External debt is 142.9 percent of gross national income.
In as far as the Democratic Republic of the Congo has ratified the Optional Protocols for UN Human Rights Conventions or has accepted the Competence of the corresponding UN Treaty Bodies (compare list on the right), the inhabitants of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their representatives are able to invoke their human rights through these bodies.
All inhabitants of the Democratic Republic of the Congo may turn to the UN Human Rights Committee through procedure 1503, to the Special Rapporteurs for violations of specific human rights or to ECOSOC for women's rights violations.
Since the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a member state of UNESCO, its citizens may use the UNESCO procedure for human rights violations in UNESCO's fields of mandate.
Employers' or workers' and certain other organizations (not individuals) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo may file complaints through the ILO procedure in the cases of those conventions which the Democratic Republic of the Congo has ratified.
Since the Democratic Republic of the Congo is an AU member, its citizens and NGOs may file complaints to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
They may also file complaints according to the EU guidelines (on Human Rights Defenders, Death Penalty and Torture) to Embassies of EU Member States and the Delegations of the European Commission.
In cases of human rights violations by multinational enterprises, they may also invoke the National Contact Point in an OECD member state.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has joined the International Criminal Court, it may thus be called upon in case of severe crimes.