5.5 million people live in Congo. 2.6 million are children, and 822,000 of the children are under five years old.
From the day you are born you have the right to have a name and to be registered as a citizen in your country. 177,000 children are born every year in Congo. Almost all of them are registered, but some are not. There is no documented proof that they exist, which could make it difficult for them to get health care and education.
You have the right to life. Congo must do all it can to allow children to survive and develop. In Congo 1 out of 21 children (7,745 every year) dies before the age of 5, usually due to causes that could have been prevented.
You have the right to clean water, nourishment, healthcare and to privacy when consulting an adult about any health issue. 7 out of 10 children in Congo have access to drinking water, and only 2 out of 10 have access to sanitation facilities.
You have the right to a decent living standard, a good home, food, clothing, and security. 6 out of 10 children in Congo live in poverty. That does not just mean their family has little money. To live in poverty can mean that a child lacks all or any basic needs such as shelter, education, nutrition, water or health services.
You have the right to go to school. Primary and secondary schools should be free for everyone. More than 9 out of 10 children in Congo go to school. However, many of them leave school early, especially girls.
You have the right to protection against all forms of violence, including neglect, maltreatment and abuse. Many children in Congo are victims of violence both at home and in school. Girls are especially vulnerable to domestic violence. Some children are also exposed to false information, hate crimes and sexual abuse on the Internet. Only 63 countries have forbidden all forms of corporal punishment for children. Congo banned corporal punishment in 2010.
More than 1 out of 10 children aged 5-17 in Congo have to work. You have the right to be protected against both economic exploitation and work that is hazardous to your health or which prevents you from going to school. All work is prohibited for children under 12. Some children are forced into the worst forms of child labour, such as being debt slaves, child soldiers or used for commercial sexual exploitation.
You have the right to say what you think about any issue that affects you. The adults should listen to the child’s opinion before they make decisions, which must always be made in the best interest of the child! Today, many children make their voices heard online but far from everyone. The digital divide is shrinking faster than before but still, less than 1 out of 10 children and young people in low-income countries have internet access compared to circa 9 out of 10 in high-income countries.