By Prosper HERI NGORORA, 11 January 2024
While the year 2024 is only just beginning, tough life is already beginning for Congolese prisoners. What will happen at the end of the year, ask human rights activists in the DRC.
Three persons have been reported dead in jail since the 2024 has begun in South Kivu province, in the Eastern of Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A report from Partenariat pour la protection integrée (Partnership for Integrated Protection), a local organization aiming to promote peace and protecting human rights defenders reveals that all those detained people passed away due to the lack of healthcare.
One has given his ghost on 11 January 2024 after his health deteriorated for long, underlines the local organization.
“This inmate was ill and his relatives were negotiating his provisional release in order to get him treatment, but unfortunately he died before they realized the costs required of them” says Partenariat pour la protection integrée in a statement.
This demise should be the third since 2024 took off at Bukavu central prison, a correctional house which has now 2191 inmates, with 160 in observation.
On January 7, another prisoner died in Kamituga in the same province following diarrhea and was the third person to die in these same circumstances, uncovers the organization promoting peace and human rights defenders in the region.
In Democratic republic of Congo, prison conditions are deplorable and every year there are deaths and cases of illness.
We note the overcrowding of prisons, with dilapidated infrastructures, poor hygiene and sanitation, inadequate food supplies and healthcare, weak security, lack of gender-sensitive rehabilitation services and so on.
“I was in the Munzenze central prison in Goma, it’s a real deathbed.I didn’t really know what was going on there, until I myself was able to go there and observe reality” says a human right defender in Goma who requested anonymity.
In 2023, in Goma for example, a few cases of tuberculosis had been reported at the Munzenze central prison in Goma, the neighboring town of Bukavu, located in North Kivu.
Partenariat pour la protection integrée once again urges the Congolese Government to improve prison conditions, with an emphasis on the construction of new prisons and or the rehabilitation of those that can still be.
“The Government is also called upon to supply them with food and medicine, on the understanding that it does not send people to prison to lose their lives”; they emphasized.
After being reelected for his second term as DRC president, Félix TSHISEKEDI committed to fight for each citizen to get justice.
“You believed in my fight against inequalities that have for a long time characterized our society” he said, vowing to make Congolese people get their dignity.