The Congolese military is unlawfully detaining at least 29 children in dire conditions in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo. The authorities allege that the boys, ages 15 to 17, were members of a rebel armed group, and have held them in a military prison in Angenga since apprehending them in eastern Congo in the first half of 2015.
Human Rights Watch found during a visit to Angenga prison in December 2015, that neither the boys nor the adult men detained with them have been charged with crimes, or had access to lawyers or their families. Detainees who did not commit any criminal offense should be promptly released. Under international law, countries are obligated to recognize the special situation of children who have been recruited or used in armed conflict. Former child soldiers should be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
“Congolese authorities should immediately release the children and adults held at Angenga prison who have committed no crime and fairly charge the rest,” said Ida Sawyer, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Children who were rebel fighters should be rehabilitated, not thrown into prison and held there indefinitely.”
Human Rights Watch interviewed 52 detainees, including 29 children, and several prison officials at Angenga, as well as more than 40 Congolese military and government officials, United Nations officials, humanitarian workers, and others, between December 2015 and March 2016. Read more