13 March 2013 – A United Nations report released today shows that the number of deaths in detention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) nearly doubled in 2012, and the conditions in which prisoners live remain extremely poor in the majority of the detention centres.
The report, which is the result of investigations carried out by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC, found that in 54 civilians died in detention centres in 2010, and 56 in 2011. By comparison, 101 deaths were recorded in 2012.
Out of the 101 deaths, 24 were caused by torture or ill-treatment, a finding that the report describes as “extremely worrying,” according to a news release. The other deaths were caused by the poor conditions in the centres, including overcrowding, malnutrition, limited access to health care and lack of resources.
“Someone deprived of their liberty, should never be allowed to die of hunger or ill-treatment,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. “It is the responsibility of the State to keep prisoners alive and in good health, in accordance with international standards. The very serious and persistent problems surrounding detention conditions in the DRC need to be addressed without further delay.”