Congo, Republic of the (ROC) - Social development

A social insurance program is in place for all employees providing pensions for old age, disability, and survivorship. Contributions are made by employers at a fixed percentage of the employee's wage. Other payments include prenatal allowances, a lump sum payable at the birth of each of the first three children, and a recuperation allowance for 14 weeks. There is a family allowance for employed persons with one or more children. However, large segments of the population are subsistence farmers and are therefore excluded from coverage under these programs.

The Fundamental Act prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, or religion, but many marriage and family laws do discriminate against women. Polygamy is legal, while polyandry is not. Adultery is legal for men but not for women. Women receive less education on average than men, and their salaries are generally lower. Women are not prominent at the highest levels of political or professional life. However, the Union of Congolese Women promotes the advancement of women and has launched major literacy and female education campaigns. Domestic violence is widespread and rarely reported. Civil conflict is thought to have increased the number of indigent children living on the streets of Brazzaville.

Pygmy minorities also face discrimination despite legal protections. They are often paid with food or goods for their labor, rather than with salaries. Pygmies are underrepresented in government and are largely marginalized from government decision making.

The human rights record has improved somewhat since the transition to democracy, but abuses have continued. There were reports of torture and extrajudicial killings, as well as disappearances, rapes, and arbitrary searches, arrests, and detention.

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