This report is an update of the COI Focus of the same name dated 7 June 2020 which covered the period from 1 January 2020 to 7 June 2021. It focuses on the attitude of the Congolese authorities towards their nationals who have returned after having left the country illegally and/or having lodged an application for international protection in Belgium and/or having stayed there.
This present update is limited to additional information provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on 2 July 2021.
Return to the country of origin must be considered when the alien no longer meets the conditions required for his stay in Belgium. Such a return may be voluntary or forced.
The translation from French into English was provided by the UK Home Office.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is ranked first African country in terms of displacement with more than five million internally displaced people, a further two million internally displaced people who returned to their places of origin in 2019 and nearly 520,800 refugees from neighbouring countries. The majority of the DRC's more than 900,000 refugees and international protection seekers (IPRs) have been hosted by neighbouring countries.
A 2019 Justice et Paix report estimated that about 80,000 Congolese live in Belgium. The Congolese come to Belgium mainly for studies, family reasons and because of the ongoing conflicts in the DRC. In 2020 and 2021, migratory movements decreased sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the Kabila government, Belgium conducted prevention campaigns in the DRC against illegal immigration (since 2006) to discourage Congolese from migrating and seeking international protection in Belgium. There has been no such campaign since Felix Tshisekedi took over the presidency.
Politically, relations between the two countries were very tense during the last years of the Kabila government. They have improved significantly since the swearing-in of the new President in early 2019 and the latter's visit to Belgium in September 2019.
In 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding was agreed with the DRC to facilitate the return of rejected applicants for international protection and illegal immigrants. According to the sources consulted, this agreement works very well in practice and voluntary or forced returns have been organised for several years from Belgium to the DRC.
Upon arrival at Njdili airport, persons forcibly returned to Kinshasa from Belgium are identified. The authorities present at the airport are the Directorate-General for Migration (DGM), the National Police, the Border Police and the National Intelligence Agency (ANR).
The sources consulted did not report any problems encountered by Congolese nationals repatriated voluntarily or forcibly from Brussels to Kinshasa during the period covered by this update.
The policy implemented by the Commissioner General is based on a thorough analysis of accurate and up-to-date information on the general situation in the country of origin. This information is collated in a professional manner from various, objective sources, including the EASO, the UNHCR, relevant international human rights organisations, non-governmental organisations, professional literature and coverage in the media. When determining policy, the Commissioner General does not only examine the COI Focuses written by Cedoca and published on this website, as these deal with just one aspect of the general situation in the country of origin. The fact that a COI Focus could be out-of-date does not mean that the policy that is being implemented by the Commissioner General is no longer up-to-date.
When assessing an application for asylum, the Commissioner General not only considers the actual situation in the country of origin at the moment of decision-making, he also takes into account the individual situation and personal circumstances of the applicant for international protection. Every asylum application is examined individually. An applicant must comprehensively demonstrate that he has a well-founded fear of persecution or that there is a clear personal risk of serious harm. He cannot, therefore, simply refer back to the general conditions in his country, but must also present concrete, credible and personal facts.
There is no policy paper for this country available on the website.