Whether exit permits were required to leave the country in late 1997 and early 1998 and if so, procedure to obtain an exit permit, appearance of the document, and whether it was noted in the passport [RDC31210.E]

The following information was provided in a 5 January 1999 telephone interview by the director of the Association africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme (ASADHO).

Exit permits (or autorisations de sortie), which were abolished by the authorities of Zaire in 1990 in the course of the democratization process were re-established in May 1997 with the arrival of Joseph-Laurent Kabila and have remained in force ever since. This measure applies to all the citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) travelling abroad. In order to obtain an exit permit, an application must be submitted to the nearest Agence nationale de renseignement (ANR, or National Inteligence Agency) office, with the departure and return dates, the travel itinerary and the reasons for travelling abroad indicated. Once granted, the border guards collect the exit permit at the point of departure and put an exit stamp in the passport. The ASADHO director indicated also that it was possible to by-pass immigration controls and leave and return to the DRC without an exit permit. However, persons could be prosecuted by the authorities if they were informed about the person's unauthorized absence.

This information was corroborated by a representative of an organization called "Comité droits de l'homme, maintenant" (Committee Human Rights, Now) who was part of a Congolese Civil Society Delegation visiting Ottawa on 27 January 1999. The committee was created in 1992 in order to co-ordinate the activities of six to seven Human rights organizations, including ASADHO and the Amos group, within a single forum, and to speak on their behalf (Entraide missionnaire 2 févr. 1999). According to the representative of "Comité droits de l'homme, maintenant", exit permits were reinstated in May 1997 by the Kabila government and applied to all DRC citizens. In order to obtain an exit permit, applicants must obtain their visas from countries of destination, submit them to the authorities who issue exit permits, and hand-over their exit permit to the immigration officers at Kinshasa airport who, in return, stamp an exit stamp in their passport. The representative also indicated that DRC citizens currently living in the rebel-occupied areas have no choice other than going through Rwanda or Uganda to travel abroad. If these persons leave the DRC without exit permits, they may be prosecuted for being in contact with the enemy by the authorities if they re-enter the country through Kinshasa. However, these persons would have nothing to fear if they returned in the occupied areas of the DRC through Rwanda and Uganda.

The Travel Information Manual states that "entry in Congo (Kinshasa) must be effectuated by Kinshasa only and no longer by the East of Congo (Kinshasa) due to problem areas" (Feb. 1999, 104).

No copy or description of the exit permit could be obtained from the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the prescribed research deadlines.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Association africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme (ASADHO). 5 January 1999. Telephone interview with the director.

Comité droits de l'homme, maintenant, Kinhsasa. 27 January 1999. Interview with visiting representative.

Entraide missionnaire, Montréal. 2 February 1999. Telephone interview with representative.

Travel Information Manual [Hoofddorp, The Netherlands]. February 1999.

Other Sources Consulted

Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ottawa.

Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Washington.

Note on contacting foreign diplomatic representatives in Canada:

Ability to obtain information from diplomatic representatives depends on availability of

information and co-operation from individual countries.