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Protect and support Dr. Denis Mukwege

September 11, 2020

Dr. Denis Mukwege

IPPNW expresses its concern, support and profound admiration for Dr. Denis Mukwege, our physician colleague and fellow Nobel Peace Laureate. Dr. Mukwege has worked for decades with great courage and compassion to address the needs of survivors of sexual violence and to stop the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, in his homeland of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and around the world.

We are pleased and grateful that UN (MONUSCO) peacekeepers returned on 9 September to Panzi Hospital where Dr. Mukwege works, following several weeks of threats and intimidation, both on social media and offline, including death threats, against Dr. Mukwege and his family. These threats are deplorable and evil against an outstanding physician upholding the highest and sacred ethical obligations of physicians. They must be taken seriously, as Dr. Mukwege has received death threats in the past, narrowly survived an assassination attempt in 2012 which killed one of his colleagues, and has refused to be silenced in calling for those responsible for sexual violence to be brought to justice.

These threats are linked with Dr. Mukwege’s consistent call for the recommendations of the 2010 UN Mapping Report on serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in eastern DRC during a decade of conflict to finally be acted on. The report recommended steps to establish transitional justice processes to grant thousands of victims of successive conflicts their right to truth, justice and reparations and to prosecute those responsible for heinous crimes.

We welcome DRC President Felix Tshisekedi’s vow to protect Dr. Mukwege and prioritise transitional justice efforts.

We support calls by Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, for swift action to investigate who is behind the threats to Dr. Mukwege and bring them to justice; for Congolese authorities to provide comprehensive protection for Dr. Mukwege, prevent further human rights violations in eastern DRC, and establish long-overdue processes to deliver justice for victims of violence.

For the IPPNW Executive Committee,

Tilman Ruff, IPPNW Co-President, Australia

Daniel Bassey. IPPNW Co-President, Nigeria

Ira Helfand, IPPNW Co-President, United States

Arun Mitra, IPPNW Co-President, India

  1. Dr. Arun Dixit permalink
    September 13, 2020 3:02 am

    We Nepali doctors strongly condemn the death threat to Denis Mukwege and his family.
    We appeal to the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

  2. Estelle Lamoureux permalink
    September 11, 2020 12:22 pm

    I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Mukwege speak when he was in Winnipeg. This incredible man cannot give anything more than he already has. He has literally put his life on the line to protect severe abused and marginalized women. There needs to be a collective outcry not only to protect him but the very women that are continued to be victimized. Sitting back is not an option.

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