Congo, Democratic Republic of the (DROC) - Social development
Social security in the former Zaire was handled by the National Social Security Institute, an autonomous public agency created in 1961 and controlled by the Labor and Social Security Department. In addition to pension funds, the institute administered compensation for accidents and illness; old age, disability, and death benefits; and family allowances. The program covered all employed persons, including domestic workers, sailors, and casual workers. The program was financed by 3.5% contributions from both employee and employers. Retirement was allowed at age 63 for men and age 60 for women. The economic and political crises of the mid-1990s, however, led to the near total collapse of these systems, and there is no information available on their current status. The Roman Catholic Church provides most of the nation's welfare and social programs.
Discrimination and violence against women is widespread and common. A married woman must obtain her husband's authorization before opening a bank account, accepting a job, obtaining a passport, or renting or selling real estate. Usually women are relegated to agricultural labor and household and child-rearing duties. The small percentage in the work force receive less pay than men for comparable work and remain severely underrepresented in management positions. Domestic abuse is pervasive. Widows are generally deprived of all possessions including dependent children. Children are forced into labor and military service.
Discrimination against ethnic Tutsi and indigenous pygmies persists. The human rights situation is extremely poor, especially in rebel held areas. Abuses include large scale killing, disappearances, torture, rape, dismemberment, extortion, robbery, arbitrary arrest and detention, harassment of human rights workers and journalists.