The mini-dissertation analyses the international law obligations of the government and nonstate
actors regarding the protection of internally displaced children living with HIV in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The war and armed conflicts in the Eastern DRC have exacerbated the vulnerability of
children, causing them to be separated from their families, to experience sexual violence and
forced conscription into armed groups, to experience the violent deaths of a parent or friend,
resulting in insufficient adult care. They further are subject to a lack of safe drinking water
and food, insufficient access to health care services, discrimination and stigmatisation, and so
on. These factors increase their risk of contracting HIV and, if they are already living with
HIV, they adversely affect their welfare.
The mini-dissertation illustrates that international, regional and domestic human rights
instruments protecting children can be applied in situations of armed conflicts to supplement
humanitarian law instruments. It demonstrates that the government of the DRC has not
implemented and fulfilled its international obligations to ensure these children adequate
access to health services and to humanitarian assistance for displaced persons living with
HIV; security and protection within displaced persons camps; and that children are protected
from abuse and human rights violations.
The dissertation recommends the prosecution of perpetrators of crimes tied to the conflicts which have targeted children, as well as the ratification by the DRC of regional instruments
such as the African Union Convention on the Protection and Assistance of Internally
Displaced Persons in Africa, and the African Charter on the Rights and the Welfare of the
Child, as this may enhance the legal protection of displaced children in the DRC.