DR Congo: The Legal Aid Clinic Update
4th Quarter (2020)
The ALARM Congo Legal Aid Clinic continues to advocate on behalf of children and adults who have been wrongly accused. Over the last several months, the staff has met with many individuals who were wrongly accused, and together they have fought for justice for these children and adults. In August alone, 6 out of 9 children that ALARM was working with were released. Unfortunately, the 3 that remained imprisoned were unable to be released due to having no family members to take care of them upon their release.
ALARM hopes to build a transit center for children who have no alternative place to live but are released from imprisonment. In this center, the children would be educated and equipped through training that would allow them to begin a trade in the future.
During COVID-19, the local churches were unable to provide food and sanitary supplies to the children’s prison. Because of this critical need, ALARM DR Congo stepped in and provided some basic food and sanitary supplies to the children in the prison. The director of the prison and the children were both grateful for the kindness that ALARM showed them. One case that ALARM is working closely with is of an 18-year-old woman who illegally married as an orphaned child. Because she was orphaned, the mother-in-law hated her and encouraged her son to leave his impregnated wife. After this young woman’s husband left her, she was unable to get assistance as she gave birth and because of improper care, the baby died. The mother-in-law took this death as a chance to accuse her of murder and because of this, she was imprisoned for life due to murder. The ALARM Congo Legal Aid Clinic has been successful in her case and has found much evidence in support of her innocence. We are hopeful and expectant that this young woman will be freed in the near future.
The Legal Aid Clinic continues to provide legal aid and consultation to innocent children and adults. As they advocate for the innocent, the clinic staff takes time to educate the prisoners in values such as good decision-making, creativity, discipline, etc. The Legal Aid Clinic has intervened for many children and vulnerable individuals and has reunited them with their families.