Freedom in the Republic of Congo

The Political Context, State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law
republic of Congo

Capital: Brazzaville

Population: 5,260,750

GDP 2017 (US$ million): 8,722.55

Language: French

Political Regime Type: Unitary Semi-Presidential Republic

President: Denis Sassou Nguesso

Current Political Context

  • The international community and opposition have questioned the credibility of the constitutional referendum process and results as well as the presidential election of President Denis Sassou Nguesso

State of Democracy

  • The 2015 constitution vests most decision-making authority and political power in the president and prime minister
  • New constitution changed maximum term limits from 2 terms of 7 years to 3 terms of 5 years and provided complete immunity to former presidents
  • Domestic nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), opposition candidates, foreign governments, and international organisations questioned the validity of the results and cited electoral irregularities

State of Rule of Law

  • There are not investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by security forces and prison guards
  • Little progress has been made in judicial proceedings involving opposition leaders and members detained since 2015 for opposing changes to the constitution or the presidential election results

State of Human Rights

  • 81,000 internally displaced people live in appalling conditions
  • The rate of acute malnutrition has reached alarming levels
  • Authorities used restrictive legislation, relating to public gatherings and assembly to curtail the right to freedom of assembly
  • The opposition initiative of the Republic states that there are over 100 political prisoners that remain in detention in the capital’s central prison
  • Several cases of torture and other ill-treatment by security services have been reported, however there are no investigations or judicial proceedings on these allegations 

Freedom House Democracy Index Score (2018): 20/100

republic of Congo