Protocol watch

Democratic Rep. of Congo

DRC ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (The Maputo Protocol) on the 9th of June 2008. Decades of armed conflict have led to the deaths of over 2 million civilians and estimates suggest over 1 million women have been raped. Though articles 5, 14 and 15 of the DRC constitution establish a legal basis for equality and equity policies, women currently occupy only 7.2% of positions at the highest level of decision making at a national level in the parliament and government. Up to 52% of women in DRC are survivors of domestic violence and 39% of Congolese women report having being threatened or injured. 27% of women in DRC are victims of harmful traditional practices. Early marriage is common, with 2007 reports indicting 39% of women in their early twenties were married or in a union before the age of 18. Very few Congolese women have access to decent jobs, and in general women and girls have less access to education than men and boys, as well as higher rates of illiteracy. (Source: UN Women)


The DRC’s 2015 Gender Parity statute derives from Article 14 of the Constitution and promotes fair representation (représentation équitable) of women in elected and appointed bodies. However, it lacks binding measures to raise women’s representation in these bodies.


Revisions of the 1987 Family Code introduced new legislation (Loi n° 16/008 du 15 juillet 2016) which involved the removal of the marital authorisation for a married woman to undertake business and the obligation imposed upon the spouses to agree on any legal deeds containing mutual obligations to them, whether individually or collectively.


The DRC introduced the 2017-2021 five-year National Action Plan to Combat Child Marriage. The overall objective of the plan is to provide better protection for children and reduce their engagement in early conjugal unions (before the age of 18) by 20% by 2021.


The DRC launched the Strategic Development Plan 2018-2022 which highlighted that the main challenges to overcome in order to reduce gender inequalities are gender mainstreaming in development policies, programs and projects in all the domains and elimination of gender-based violence including child marriage and harmful practices.


The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Congolese National Police adopted an Action Plan to Combat Sexual Violence


Information regarding the 2015 Gender Parity Statue can be found on page 29 of USAID’s and CEPP’s 2018 ‘ASSESSMENT OF ELECTORAL PREPARATIONS IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (DRC)’, available at:

Loi n° 16/008 du 15 juillet 2016 modifiant et complétant le loi n°87-010 du 1er août 1987 portant Code de la Famille, available at: 

Information on the NAP to Combat Child Marriage can be found on page 55 of the Beijing +25 Country Report on DRC (2019), available at:

Information regarding the Strategic Development Plan 2018-2022 can be found on page 46 of the Beijing +25 Country Report on DRC (2019), available at:

Information regarding the Army and Police’s 2019 Action Plan can be found on page 10 of the National Core Report, available at: