7 November 2017

DRC: Civil Society Under Threat as New Bill Proposed

On October 19th, 2017, the National assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) adopted a bill aimed at regulating the activity of non-profit organisations (NGOs) in the country.

Civil society in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is under threat as a result of a new bill that could hinder the mobility of non-governmental organisations and those that defend human rights. Justice and Peace Netherlands calls on the DRC government to withdraw the bill.

On October 19th, 2017, the National assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) adopted a bill aimed at regulating the activity of non-profit organisations (NGOs) in the country. If the law is enacted, it will restrict the vital work of human rights defenders in the DRC.

The bill mandates that civil actors must meet a list of necessary conditions to be recognised as a human rights defender, which includes obtaining a human rights defender card in Kinshasa and passing a mandatory training course given by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

These conditions will not only hinder the work and space of human rights defenders in the DRC, but also make the NHRC a monitoring tool of civil society. If enacted, the DRC government will be in violation of the principle that states must encourage the action of human rights defenders, and deviate from international standards of upholding human rights.

Many Congolese civil society actors have denounced the proposal, which is considered to be a step backwards for human rights in DRC. Justice and Peace Netherlands supports the efforts of NGOs and human rights defenders in the DRC, and stands by the Congolese civil society in calling on National assembly representatives to vote against the bill. 

​Read bill (FR) here