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MONUSCO participates in brainstorming on food aid to detainees in DRC



MONUSCO participates in brainstorming on food aid to detainees in DRC

About fifty deaths linked to malnutrition were recorded during the last quarter of 2019

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, October 5, 2021 / APO Group / –

“Our prisons are in poor condition, overcrowded and facing recurring food shortages.” Rose MUTOMBO, Congolese Minister of Justice, made this bitter observation during a consultation organized on September 30, 2021 at her ministry premises in Kinshasa, by evoking the issue of food aid to detainees in prisons in the DRC.

The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC, Khassim Diagne, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, Daniel Asselo Okito, took part in this reflection.

As the administration of Congolese prisons is a matter of joint competence between the central power and the provincial power, the provincial governors also participated by videoconference.

According to the Minister of Justice, the Congolese government encounters serious difficulties every year in feeding and treating detainees who regularly face food shortages and health problems, and very few provinces are involved in their care. .

Rose Mutombo specifies that this situation affects practically all Congolese prisons, despite the efforts made by her team since taking office as Minister of Justice.

She notably mentioned “the increase in the number of subsidized prisons from 70 to 84; the establishment of a management commission for funds allocated to prisons offering more management transparency; the rehabilitation of Makala prison and penitentiary farms to improve the feeding of detainees, with support from MONUSCO and UNDP, which continue to help us meet the many challenges facing our prisons ”.

Through its Correctional Unit, MONUSCO supports the functioning of prisons in the DRC, in particular by providing food aid to fight against malnutrition in penitentiary establishments.

According to Khassim Diagne, Deputy Special Representative, “around fifty deaths linked to malnutrition were recorded during the last quarter of 2019 in the 12 priority prisons in the DRC covered by MONUSCO”.

“If the situation remains as it is, the health and even humanitarian problems due to the malnutrition of detainees can generate security problems and compromise the efforts already made to consolidate the rule of law in the DRC”, a- he explained.

Speaking in turn, the provincial governors deplored the insufficient resources available to them for food and health care for detainees.

This is why the stakeholders found this consultation framework supported by MONUSCO useful to clarify the responsibilities in the administration of prisons between the central power and the provincial governors. They also wanted the levels of contribution of provincial and central governments to be clearly determined.

It should be noted that through several projects, MONUSCO has provided food aid to hundreds of detainees over the past two years. It also supported the national prison authorities in the creation of “in Luzumu, province of central Kongo; in Kalemie, province of Tanganyika, in Nyongera, province of North Kivu and in many other provinces of the DRC.

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