[JURIST] The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Tuesday announced new international adoption legislation as well as a review of pending cases since the country banned non-residents from adopting in 2013. The new legislation would mandate [AP report] an in-person hearing from anyone who looks to adopt from the DRC and would require that all prospective parents hail from a country that has established good domestic relations with the DRC. The legislation further requires that international adoptions are available only when there are not any existing domestic alternatives for children. The government halted [USCIS press release] international adoptions in 2013 amid allegations of corruption in the adoption process, alluding to human trafficking [CNN report]. The Congolese government will vote on the legislation in March.
The DRC has also been the site of allegations of human rights abuses committed by both government forces and various rebel groups in the recent past. In July the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict presented a report outlining the situation of the child in the DRC, which found the recruitment of child soldiers [JURIST report] persists. In April a coalition of 146 Congolese and international human rights organizations released a joint declaration urging the DRC to create new mechanisms in its national justice system [JURIST report] for prosecuting war crimes.