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How are DR Congo’s children?

The Democratic Republic of Congo has ratified (pledged to follow) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This means that DR Congo must respect the rights of the child and listen to what children have to say. Are the rights of the child respected in DR Congo?

41.6 million children

78.7 million people live in DR Congo. 41.6 million are children, and 14.5 million of the children are under five years old.

Name and nationality

From the day you are born you have the right to have a name and to be registered as a citizen in your country. 3.3 million children are born every year in DR Congo. 7 out of 10 of them are never registered. There is no documented proof that they exist!

Survive and grow

You have the right to life. DR Congo must do all it can to allow children to survive and develop. 1 out of 9 children in DR Congo (304,000 every year) die before the age of 5, usually due to causes that could have been prevented.

Health and well-being

You have the right to food, clean water, medical care, and to privacy when consulting an adult about any health problem. 4 out of 10 children in DR Congo have water from improved water sources, and 2 out of 10 have access to adequate sanitation facilities.

A home, clothing, food and security

You have the right to a home, food and security. 8 out of 10 children in DR Congo live in extreme poverty with less than 1.90 US-dollar (3157 Congolese franc) a day to live on.

Education

You have the right to go to school. Primary and secondary schools should be free for everyone. More than 3 out of 10 children in DR Congo go to school, but many of them leave school too early. Many children do not go to school at all.

Protection against violence

You have the right to protection against all forms of violence, including neglect, maltreatment and abuse. Only 60 countries have forbidden all forms of corporal punishment for children. DR Congo has not, and many schools still allow caning.

Hazardous child labour

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. An estimated 7.9 million children aged 4-10 in DR Congo have to work.

Your voice must be heard

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.
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