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Deaths In DRC Detention Centers Doubled In 2012, Says UN

Deaths In DRC Detention Centers Doubled In 2012, Says UN Report

KINSHASA / GENEVA (13 March 2013) A UN research into the human rights situation in detention centers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) shows that the number of deaths in detention almost doubled in 2012, and that conditions of detention remain extremely poor in the vast majority of detention centres.

Between January 2010 and December 2012, a total of at least 211 civilians died in Congolese detention centers. In 2012, 101 such deaths were recorded compared to 54 in 2010 and 56 in 2011. The report notes that poor conditions, including overcrowding, malnutrition, limited access to health care and lack of resources, were the main causes of death, but also says that more than 10 percent of the deaths (24 cases) were caused by torture or ill-treatment, a finding it describes as “extremely worrying.”

The report, published Wednesday, details the results of in-depth research conducted by human rights officers working for the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC (UNJHRO)* during visits to prisons and other detention centers throughout the country.

“Someone deprived of their liberty, should never be allowed to die of hunger or ill-treatment,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. “It is the responsibility of the State to keep prisoners alive and in good health, in accordance with international standards. The very serious and persistent problems surrounding detention conditions in the DRC need to be addressed without further delay.”

While recognizing the direct impact that the lack of resources and equipment in the penitentiary services has on the number of deaths in detention, the UNJHRO report placed much of the blame on the rampant corruption and lack of transparency affecting the management of prisons in the DRC.

“MONUSCO welcomes practical measures taken by the Government to remedy the situation, including the suspension of high-ranking officials suspected of corruption. The international community should support the government’s efforts to reform the prison system and improve conditions of detention,” said the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General, Roger Meece.

The report reminds the Government of its obligations to protect and take care of people in detention, and points out that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure that their basic needs are satisfied, particularly those that, if neglected, might result in loss of life.

* The UN Joint Human Rights Office, which was established in February 2008, comprises the Human Rights Division of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC.


Les décès dans les centres de détention en République démocratique du Congo ont doublé en 2012, indique un rapport des Nations Unies

KINSHASA/GENEVE (13 mars 2013) – Une recherche des Nations Unies sur la situation des droits de l’homme dans les centres de détention en République démocratique du Congo (RDC) indique que le nombre de décès en détention a presque doublé en 2012, et que les conditions de détention restent extrêmement précaires dans la grande majorité des centres de détention.

Entre janvier 2010 et décembre 2012, un nombre total d'au moins 211 civils sont morts dans des centres de détention congolais. En 2012, 101 décès ont été enregistrés contre 54 en 2010 et 56 en 2011. Le rapport note que les mauvaises conditions de détention, notamment le surpeuplement, la malnutrition, l'accès limité aux soins de santé et le manque de ressources, ont été les principales causes de décès, mais indique également que plus de 10 pour cent des décès (24 cas) ont été causés par la torture ou les mauvais traitements, une constatation qu'il décrit comme « extrêmement préoccupante ».

Le rapport, publié mercredi, détaille les résultats d'une recherche approfondie menée par les officiers des droits de l’homme travaillant pour le Bureau Conjoint des Nations Unies aux Droits de l'Homme en RDC (BCNUDH) * à l’issue de visites dans les prisons et autres centres de détention à travers le pays.

« Il ne devrait jamais être permis qu'une personne privée de liberté meure de faim ou de mauvais traitements », a déclaré la Haut Commissaire aux droits de l'homme, Navi Pillay. "Il est de la responsabilité de l'Etat de maintenir les prisonniers en vie et en bonne santé conformément aux normes internationales. Les problèmes très graves et persistants entourant les conditions de détention en RDC doivent être traités sans plus tarder. "

Tout en reconnaissant l'impact direct que le manque de ressources et d'équipements dans les services pénitentiaires a sur le nombre de morts en détention, le rapport du BCNUDH attribue le blâme en grande partie à la corruption généralisée et au manque de transparence qui affectent la gestion des prisons en RDC.

« La MONUSCO se félicite des mesures concrètes prises par le gouvernement pour remédier à la situation, y compris la suspension de hauts fonctionnaires soupçonnés de corruption. La communauté internationale devrait appuyer les efforts du gouvernement visant à réformer le système pénitentiaire et améliorer les conditions de détention », a déclaré le Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général, Roger Meece.

Le rapport rappelle au gouvernement ses obligations de protéger et de prendre soin des personnes en détention et souligne qu'il est de la responsabilité de l'Etat d’assurer que leurs besoins fondamentaux soient satisfaits, en particulier ceux qui, s’ils sont négligés, peuvent entraîner des pertes en vie humaine.

* Le Bureau Conjoint des Nations Unies aux Droits de l’Homme, qui a été établi en février 2008, est composé de la Division des Droits de l’Homme de la Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo (MONUSCO) et du Haut-Commissariat aux droits de l’homme en République démocratique du Congo (RDC).


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