HRC 42 | The Democratic Republic of Congo must refrain from adopting restrictive laws


In the Democratic Republic of Congo​, despite the change of leadership, human rights defenders still operate in a challenging environment. As the government admitted during its Universal Periodic Review, a lot remains to be done for Congolese to fully enjoy their human rights in the country.

On 19 September a review of the human rights record of the Democratic Republic of Congo took place through the UPR mechanism. During the review, ISHR delivered a statement highlighting the legal framework in which NGOs operate and the need to improve it.

“ISHR continues to remain very concerned about the bill currently under discussion at the Parliament supposedly for the promotion and protection of human rights defenders. As it stands, the bill would in fact restrict human rights defenders, as it would allow excessive control and interference from the State and focuses on the sanctions entailed by the alleged failure of NGOs to comply with this oversight” said Salma El Hosseiny, ISHR Human Rights Council Advocate.

Moreover, the Protection Cell for Human Rights Defenders which is supposed to be responsible for ensuring defenders’ protection and serving as an intermediate with the relevant authorities when defenders are arrested, is yet to be functional.

During the UPR review, ISHR further called on the DRC to:

  • Adopt legislation and policy to protect against business related human rights abuses, and guarantee the protection of human rights defenders working on issues related to extractive industries;
  • Provide the Protection Cell for Human Rights Defenders with the necessary resources and high-level political support for it to be fully functional and able to fulfil its mandate.

Watch the statement here: 


Contact: Adélaïde Etong Kame, Africa Advocacy Consultant,

Photo: FlickR/Jelena Prtoric


  • Africa
  • Freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • Human rights defenders
  • NGOs
  • Universal Periodic Review
  • Congo (Kinshasa)