2010 Human Rights Report
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a nominally centralized republic with a population of approximately 68 million. The president and the lower house of parliament (National Assembly) are popularly elected; the members of the upper house (the Senate) are chosen by provincial assemblies. Multiparty presidential and National Assembly elections in 2006 were judged to be credible, despite some irregularities, while indirect elections for senators in 2007 were marred by allegations of vote buying. There were many instances in which state security forces acted independently of civilian control and of military command.
In all areas of the country, state security forces continued to act with impunity throughout the year, committing many serious abuses, including unlawful killings, disappearances, torture, rape and engaging in arbitrary arrests and detention. Severe and life-threatening conditions in prison and detention facilities, prolonged pretrial detention, lack of an independent and effective judiciary, and arbitrary interference with privacy, family, and home also remained serious problems.
Members of the state security forces continued to abuse and threaten journalists, contributing to a decline in press freedom. Internally displaced persons remained a major problem, and the integration of ex-combatants and members of rebel and militia groups (RMGs) into state security forces and governance institutions was slow and uneven. Government corruption remained pervasive, and some corporations purchased minerals from suppliers who financed mining activities by armed entities that committed serious human rights abuses. Elements of the state security forces were charged in the death of one of the country's leading human rights defenders and at times beat or threatened local human rights advocates and obstructed or threatened UN human rights investigators. State security forces retained and recruited child soldiers and compelled forced labor by civilians. Societal discrimination against women and ethnic minorities, trafficking in persons, child labor, and lack of protection of workers' rights continued to be widespread throughout the country. Enslavement of and discrimination against Pygmies occurred.