Former part of the French colony of Equatorial Africa, independent since 1960, the Republic of Congo or Congo-Brazzaville, borders its larger namesake the Democratic Republic of Congo to the east. It was known as the People’s Republic of the Congo, a Marxist–Leninist single-party state, from 1970 to 1991, but multi-party elections have been held since 1992. Central African Republic requested full membership of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2011.

Mostly Satisfactory
Free and Equal

Constitution and government

The Congolese constitution and other laws and policies generally protect religious freedom and forbid discrimination based on religious affiliation. In Congo, it is compulsory for all organizations, including religious groups, to undertake a lengthy process of registration. All organizations must receive approval from government. Failing to register can incur penalties, including fines and the confiscation of goods, annulment of contracts, and the removal of foreigners from the country.

The rights to freedom of assembly and association are sometimes restricted in practice, and often precarious to exercise if they involve a particular political agenda. However, Congo nevertheless has a particular lively civil society.

Education and children’s rights

There are religious private schools in Congo. Public schools do not have religious teaching. Academic freedom is formally unrestricted. However, some professors engage in self-censorship on grounds of fearing government harassment.

Freedom of expression, advocacy of humanist values

Although guaranteed by the Congolese constitution, freedoms of speech and expression remain limited. Journalists have been threatened, attacked and detained by members of the state security apparatus for reporting critical accounts of government officials. Journalists have also been attacked by non-state armed groups. In June, a radio host was murdered in North Kivu. According to UNESCO, he had discussed the activities of armed gangs in Kirumba. Furthermore, as elections neared, there was a surge in violence against journalists. However, the Congolese government does not monitor online communications or inhibit access to the internet, but internet use is limited because of a lack of infrastructure in the country.