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Country reports: Congo, Democratic Republic of.

Marijuana is grown throughout the DRC, as it is throughout the region, but consumption of DRC's domestic marijuana is largely confined to the domestic market. There are no available statistics concerning acreage or yield in the country. There is no coca or opium production in the DRC. No evidence exists to determine that any controlled substances are manufactured in the DRC. Although known bulk shipments of pseudoephedrine entering the country could be an indicator that methamphetamine is being produced, more likely the shipments are diverted for production of meth elsewhere. There is no sizable methamphetamine user population in the DRC.

The three major DRC transit points for illegal drugs are the Ndjili International Airport at Kinshasa, the major seaport of Matadi, and the ferry crossing between Brazzaville, Congo and Kinshasa, DRC. Traffickers in the DRC are involved in the transshipment of drugs from the DRC to several countries in Europe. Couriers transiting through the DRC have been arrested with significant quantities of heroin, cannabis and cocaine in several west European countries and Canada. Significant seized shipments of pseudoephedrine into the DRC have been identified as diversions headed for the illicit methamphetamine market.

Funding for drug awareness training, demand reduction and treatment is scarce in the DRC. Congolese authorities believe that the use of marijuana, as well as abuse of licit drugs such as amphetamines and tranquilizers, has increased steadily over past years. The government does not maintain accurate statistics on drug abuse, and thus, the extent of the problem is unknown. Marijuana is widely used in the DRC, as it is throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Cocaine and heroin abuse is most likely confined to the capital, Kinshasa, as well as some areas that have expatriate communities, such as Goma. Eastern areas of the country are the loci for the highest demand for cocaine and heroin. Congolese use of cocaine and heroin is cost prohibitive so it is possible that UN peacekeepers and other expatriate residents of the Eastern Congo are among those abusing these drugs.

The DRC continues to operate with antiquated drug laws and regulations. Marijuana regulations and laws were enacted in 1917, based on The Hague Convention of 1903. Laws and regulations controlling other narcotics were enacted in 1927 based on The Hague Conventions of 1912 and 1925. The Belgium Convention of 1941 is also still in force. Laws and regulations used to control the production and trafficking of opium were enacted in 1958 based on the international protocol of 1953. The DRC has signed on to the Rome Statute regarding the surrender of persons to the International Criminal Court, which entered into force in July 2003. The DRC is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Drug enforcement efforts, however, are largely opaque in the DRC, and local police and customs officials are underpaid, undertrained and generally ineffective. Corruption, at various levels, possibly facilitates a wide range of criminal activity, to include drug trafficking. The DRC does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, nor does it encourage or facilitate the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There is also no proof that senior officials engage in drug trafficking, certainly not in an official capacity. However, corruption in conjunction with narcotics trafficking is thought to be widespread, possibly reaching into the highest levels of the government.

Narcotics control is not a priority in the DRC. Relative to neighboring African nations, drug enforcement in the DRC suffers from a lack of resources and training. Law enforcement officials in the DRC are not capable of conducting traditional drug enforcement investigations. The effectiveness of host government counter-narcotics efforts therefore is greatly reduced by the lack of expertise, training, equipment, and funding.

The DRC does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, nor does it encourage or facilitate the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There is also no proof that senior officials engage in drug trafficking, certainly not in an official capacity. However, corruption in conjunction with narcotics trafficking is thought to be widespread, possibly reaching into the highest levels of the government.

The DRC cooperates very little with its neighboring countries concerning counter drug operations. Officials from the DRC did attend the most recent United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Heads of Narcotics and Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA) conference held in Windhoek, Namibia in October 2009. For the present, other problems in the DRC seem logically more urgent than drug abuse or trafficking, but drug abuse is growing, so the government will need to be wary of this development.
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Publication:International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:6ZAIR
Date:Mar 1, 2011
Words:768
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