Congo, Democratic Republic: 'D.R. Congo: arrest and detention of Dikenda Di Kansi Kita
DRC : 11 year old boy, labelled as "child-witch", tortured and murdered
Case COD 120803.CC
The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT INTERVENTION in the following situation in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Brief description of the situation
The International Secretariat of OMCT was informed by LIZADEEL, le Centre d’Assistance Judiciaire et Psychosociale pour l’Enfant et la Mère « CAJEM », about the torture and murder of a “child-witch” in Mont Ngafala, Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the information received, because of maltreatment and burns suffered on the 23rd of June 2003, the victim, Nsumbu, an eleven year old boy, died on the 27th of June 2003 in a university hospital. The perpetrators accused Nsumbu of being a "Child-witch" after the death of a young student Kabibi, a member of their family. Despite warnings following the incidents, the police acted against the young boy. He and his mother were arrested, but no proceedings have been initiated against the alleged perpetrators.
The phenomenon of the so-called « child-witches » is present throughout Africa. It exists in Benin, Nigeria, Liberia, Angola, South Africa, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, difficult children are sometimes considered by their parents or by their relatives as having evil powers and they are then rejected, marginalized by society or placed in re-education centres. The living conditions of these children are precarious and they are often victims of abuse or maltreatment.
The International Secretariat of OMCT is alarmed by the problem of so-called « child-witches » in Africa and strongly supports the principles contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (signed and ratified by all African States), and particularly article 19 which requires that “State Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation (…)”
OMCT recalls that the Convention, ratified by the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1990, contain article 6 which states that: "States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child (…)" and article 37 "No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (…)" which must be respected.
Even if the D.R.C has not yet signed and ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, OMCT recalls that article 21 requires that « States Parties (…) take all appropriate measures to eliminate harmful social and cultural practices affecting the welfare, dignity, normal growth and development of the child (…).”
Please write to the authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo urging them to:
- guarantee an immediate judicial investigation to identify those responsible and to bring them before a competent tribunal;
- apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law against policemen involved;
- guarantee support and assistance and obtain compensations for the victim's family;
- develop protection programmes for so-called “child-witches” in D.R.C.
- establish preventative action and initiate judicial proceedings against any person who commits acts of torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment against children on grounds of witchcraft.
S.E. l’Ambassadeur de la République démocratique du Congo, Mission permanente de la République démocratique du Congo auprès de l’Office des Nations Unies à Genève, Avenue de Budé 18, 1202, Genève, Suisse, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: +4122 7401682
Président, S.E. Joseph Kabila, Présidence de la République, Kinshasa-Ngaliema, République Démocratique du Congo, E-mail: email@example.com
Ministre de la Justice, Ministère de la Justice et Garde des Sceaux, BP 3137, Kinshasa Gombé, République Démocratique du Congo, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ministre des droits humains, Ministère des droits humains ; Fax: +243 12 20 664, E-mail: email@example.com ou firstname.lastname@example.org
Ministre de l’Intérieur, Ministère de l’Intérieur, Fax: +243 88 02 042, E-mail: email@example.com
Please also write to the embassies of the Democratic Republic of Congo in your respective country.
Geneva, August 15, 2003
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply