AFRICA/DR CONGO - Covid-19: fears of a catastrophe in prisons if no action is taken in time

Monday, 23 March 2020 coronavirus   prisoners   justice  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - Do not take advantage of the emergency linked to the coronavirus to commit abuse against the population. This is the invitation of the Congolese NGO for the defense of human rights Nouvelle Dynamique de la Societé Civile en RD Congo (NDSCI).
In a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, the authorities are invited "to take legal and administrative measures to avoid human rights violations, in particular by security services".
It is also recalled that Covid-19 has already affected some members of the government, the NDSCI, therefore invites politicians to be responsible and exemplary in accepting the quarantine, possibly including the Head of State himself, and to make public the names of those who are positive. Particularly worrying is the situation of the overcrowded Congolese prisons, defined as "real places of daily death due to famine and lack of medical treatment. Prisoners survive only thanks to volunteers and food supplies from their families; given that, due to Covid-19, visits are no longer allowed in prisons, the NDSCI fears a massacre of prisoners in the very near future".
Parliament is also asked to urgently launch a "special Covid-19" national fund to compensate for the economic damage caused by the pandemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the majority of the population lives below the poverty line. This fund must be managed so as to avoid embezzlement by unfaithful officials. Finally, the NDSCI calls on Congolese politicians "who have granted themselves huge bonuses and wages, to halve them in order to contribute to the Covid-19 special national fund". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/3/2020)