Congo’s Women Deserve Action

Dr. Denis Mukwege is a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated physician and Congolese national hero. Whitney Williams is a co-founder of Eastern Congo Initiative with Ben Affleck. Both joined Dr. Jill Biden during her recent visit to Dr. Mukwege’s world-renowned Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DRC.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, rape has become a weapon of war. For over a dozen years, gynaecologist Denis Mukwege has operated on more than 40,000 raped and mutilated women. With his help, they have begun to put their ordeal behind them and rebuild their lives. The doctor, who is considered a hero, is continuing his fight despite an attempt on his life.

For several years, I had been hearing about Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist who heals raped women in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In late October, I learned that there had been an attempt on his life and that he had fled his hometown of Bukavu.

After a few weeks, I eventually managed to get in touch with him. I asked him if he would be willing to grant me an interview during a visit to Paris, one of a number of Western capitals he was touring during his forced exile to alert world leaders about the tragic fate of the raped and tortured women of the Congo. He agreed and told me that he was going back to Bukavu in mid-January – and offered me to come along.

After I interviewed him and heard him tell his story, especially how the women of Bukavu had collected money to pay for his flight ticket, I was convinced. I pitched a report on his journey home to my editors, who immediately agreed. And so a few days later, with Johan Bodin, we started following the Congolese doctor from Paris to his brother’s home in Belgium, then on to Burundi and finally Bukavu where he was welcomed as a hero.

Sakharov laureate Denis Mukwege: “Women’s bodies have become a true battlefield | European Parliament |

“Women’s bodies have become a true battlefield and rape is being used as a weapon of war,” said Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege as he accepted the 2014 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Strasbourg. Dr Mukwege was honoured by the European Parliament for dedicating his life to helping thousands of victims of gang rape and brutal sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Quest for peace, justice and democracy”

In his acceptance speech, Dr Mukwege told MEPs that by awarding him the Sakharov Prize they had drawn “the world´s attention to the need to protect women during armed conflicts, you have refused to be indifferent to one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes of modern times.”

However, he warned: “This prize won´t have any significance to the female victims of sexual violence if you won’t join us in our quest for peace, justice and democracy.” Dr Mukwege added: “Together – politicians, civil society, citizens, men and women – we have to draw a red line against the use of rape as a weapon of war.”

Democratic Republic of Congo: “neither at peace, nor at war”

“We have spent too much time and energy fixing the consequences of violence. It is time to take care of the causes,” said Dr Mukwege, calling on the EU and its member states to use all instruments available to support resolving the conflicts in the region.

“Justice should also be at the centre of the peace process and the fight against impunity should be reinforced,” he said, adding he empathised with every victim. “In every raped woman, I see my wife. In every raped mother, I see my mother and in every raped child, my own children.”

Sakharov laureate Dr Mukwege: the man who heals women

The Banning of the Film – Wrath of Hippocrates – in Congo

 We learned that the film “The Man Who Mends Women – Wrath of Hippocrates” is categorically forbidden from broadcast in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC. We have learned the Media Minister Lambert Mende objects to the film and barred us from screening the film in Kinshasa and Bukavu, as originally planned. The documentary examines the stories of Congolese women who are survivors of rape, and about Dr. Denis Mukwege and his work in Bukavu.

Top Favourite Dr. Denis Mukwege Talks About the Nobel Peace Prize | College Tour – Oct. 2015 |

In his last exclusive interview before the announcement of the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Denis Mukwege says he hopes receiving the prize will help improve the fate of women in eastern Congo. The interview will be broadcast tomorrow on Dutch national television in College Tour, hosted by Twan Huys.

Mukwege has a clear message for the audience, he asks them to take action: “I think that it can help a lot when everything doesn’t concentrate on you. You can do a lot for others.”

Support from Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie and Ben Affleck
 Mukwege’s work is supported by influential celebrities. Mukwege: “We are very happy with their support. We need the solidarity. Because it’s not only a Congolese problem, it’s a problem of humanity.”


Despite the fact that rape and sexual violence is the order of the day in Congo, Denis Mukwege is still hopeful. He feels that the future of his country lies in the positive attitude and the resilience of the women of Congo. Mukwege: “We must help them and give them the opportunity to show that they have not been destroyed and that they can go ahead in their lives.”

Clinton Presents Advancing Women in Peace and Security Awards | Georgetown University |
Paul Kagame said: “I don’t care about the death of Congolese”

DRC must investigate assassination attempt on activist Dr Denis Mukwege | Amnesty Int’l – Oct. 2012 |

The Congolese authorities must immediately open an investigation into the attempted assassination of Denis Mukwege, a doctor and activist, and ensure those responsible are held to account, Amnesty International said.

Dr Mukwege was attacked shortly after returning to his home in Bukavu, South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 25 October 2012, where he found armed men threatening his children with guns.

He narrowly escaped being shot by diving on the ground, as gunmen opened fire on him. One of Dr Mukwege’s security guards was killed in the attack as he tried to protect him.

    “This atrocious attack is one of a number of recent attacks by unknown armed men targeting humanitarian workers and human rights defenders in North and South Kivu,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Africa Director.

    “The Congolese authorities must immediately open an investigation and ensure that those responsible are held to account. Killings, abductions and attacks on humanitarian staff impede delivery of basic services, as civilians bear the brunt of escalating conflict in eastern DRC.

    Along with the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), the Congolese authorities must also ensure they increase the level of protection for civilians and aid workers in these regions.”

Dr Mukwege, who is the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, has received many awards, including the UN Human Rights Prize, for his work with survivors of sexual violence in South Kivu. He has been a long advocate for the rights of women in DRC and has recently addressed the UN General Assembly in New York, USA, on the subject.

Although it is unclear if the assassination attempt was directly linked to his activities, Dr Mukwege has been threatened several times by armed groups for his denunciation of rape and other forms of sexual violence committed by them.

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