Statement from Dr Denis Mukwege – 17 May 2016

After Beni Massacres, "peace cannot be achieved at the expense of justice." 

(Bukavu, DRC) The Panzi Hospital and Foundations released the following statement in English and French from Dr.  Denis Mukwege, regarding the recent massacres in Beni, North Kivu and the responsibility of both the DRC government and International Community's to protect innocent civilians and preserve their civil and human rights. 

Dr. Mukwege said from Panzi Hospital this morning: 

Since early May, more than 50 people have been brutally massacred in Beni, in North Kivu Province, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Since October 2014, the death toll in Beni has risen to more than 600. Photographs of these atrocities of masses are unbearable: pregnant women disemboweled, mutilated infants, human beings trussed up and their throats slit with a knife.

From the bottom of my heart, I extend my heartfelt and deepest condolences to all the families affected by this despicable barbarity, and also to all my countrymen and to all friends of the Congo who know victims of the atrocities committed in Beni, Lubero, Rutshuru, and elsewhere.

Our hearts are profoundly affected by the injuries related to the armed conflicts in the region; the crimes and barbaric atrocities occurring in the Eastern DRC for 20 years appear to be resurgent. The population feels abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

The blood of our Congolese sisters and brothers must stop flowing into the streets. Nothing can justify such cruelties, these are men and women and children, and their deaths are not simple news items. Their lives matter.

More than 2000 kilometers from Beni, our leaders are creating a political empasse, through a false battle around the interpretation of our constitution. The apparent objective is the perpetuation of chaos in order to preserve the privileges of certain people close to those in power. Meanwhile in Beni, evil continues striking our villages leaving behind terror, chaos, blood, and houses aflame.

The Congolese are frustrated, hurt and humiliated. They are demanding more accountability and efficiency on the part of those who govern them. They are mobilizing to achieve the long-awaited, and promised, change.

Delaying tactics and an apparent intent to thwart elections occurring within the timeframe set forth in the constitution, creating a ‘glissement’ or ‘slippage.’ This is extremely dangerous and a violation of the 2277 resolution of the UN Security Council and the principles of the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. This glissement would only prolong the suffering of the Congolese people, to better secure and continue to exploit its resources without accountability.

The definitive solution to the problems plaguing the DRC requires holistic consideration of evil, and the awakening of the patriotic consciousness of the Congolese people. Then the overhaul of the State must establish and enforce laws that embrace human rights and governance oriented to the satisfaction, and in the best interest of all the people. In short, a radical change must occur. The Congolese people must be at the forefront of national sovereignty. 

I appeal once again to the international community to implement its responsibility to protect civilians in the heart of the Great Lakes region, where truth and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of peace. We have waited too long, because until now we have neither peace nor justice.

 As the massacres in eastern Congo illustrate, peace cannot be achieved at the expense of justice. I am reminded of the words Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in 1963, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied." Peace can only be achieved where civil and human rights, in concert with economic development and education, and justice, are recognized by our government and the international community. 


Communiqué de Presse du Dr Denis Mukwege – 17 mai 2016

En ce début de mois de mai, plus de 50 personnes ont été sauvagement massacrées dans le Territoire de Béni, dans la Province du Nord Kivu, à l’Est de la République Démocratique du Congo. Depuis octobre 2014, le bilan s’élève à plus de 600 morts! 

Les images de ces atrocités de masses sont insupportables: des femmes enceintes éventrées, des bébés mutilés, des êtres humains ligotés et égorgés à l’arme blanche. Du fond de mon cœur, j'adresse mes condoléances les plus sincères et attristées à toutes les familles frappées par cette barbarie ignoble, et aussi à tous mes compatriotes et à tous les amis du Congo qui s'identifient aux victimes de Béni, de Lubero, de Rutshuru et d’ailleurs.

Nos cœurs sont profondément meurtris, et nos blessures liées aux conflits armés récurrents dans la région ; les crimes et barbaries qui sévissent dans l'Est de la RDC depuis 20 ans refont surface avec une nouvelle intensité. La population a le sentiment d'être abandonnées et livrées à elles-mêmes. 

Le sang des Congolais doit cesser de couler. Rien ne saurait justifier de pareilles cruautés qui passent dans l’actualité comme de simples faits divers. Chaque vie compte.

Alors que nos gouvernants organisent une impasse politique et se livrent, à plus de 2000 km de Béni, à une fausse bataille d'interprétation de notre Constitution qui constitue en réalité une démarche bassement politicienne ayant pour objectif de perpétuer un chaos organisé visant la préservation des privilèges de quelques proches du pouvoir, le mal court, traverse nos villages laissant, derrière lui, terreur, chaos, sang et maisons en feu.

Les Congolais sont exaspérés, meurtris et humiliés.  Ils réclament plus de responsabilité et d'efficacité de la part de ceux qui les gouvernent. Ils se mobilisent pour parvenir au changement tant attendu.

Les manœuvres dilatoires ayant pour projet apparent d’hypothéquer l’organisation des élections dans les délais constitutionnels préparent un « glissement » extrêmement dangereux et une violation de la résolution 2277 du Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies et des principes de la Chartre Africaine de la démocratie, des élections et de la gouvernance, qui entrainerait une prolongation des souffrances du peuple congolais, en vue de mieux l'assujettir et continuer à exploiter ses ressources sans redevabilité.

La solution définitive  de la RDC requiert une prise en compte holistique du mal congolais, qui passera d'abord par l'éveil de la conscience patriotique du peuple, ensuite par la refondation de l'Etat, et enfin par l’instauration d’un état de droit respectueux des droits humains et une gouvernance orientée vers la satisfaction de l’intérêt général : en bref, un changement radical de l'actuel système. Pour y arriver, l'acteur principal reste le peuple congolais qui doit l’assumer en tant que détenteur primaire de la souveraineté nationale.

J'en appelle, une fois encore, à la communauté internationale pour mettre en œuvre sa responsabilité de protéger les populations civiles au cœur de la région des Grands Lacs, où la vérité et la justice ont été sacrifiées sur l'autel de la paix que nous attendons depuis trop longtemps, car jusqu’à ce jour nous n'avons ni la paix, ni la justice.

Ces derniers massacres commis à l’Est du Congo illustrent à suffisance, hélas, que la paix ne saurait s'obtenir au détriment de la justice.  Je me rappelle les mots écrits en 1963 par le Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: « Une justice trop tardive est un déni de justice ». La paix ne peut être atteinte que lorsque le respect des droits humains et des libertés fondamentales, allant de pair avec un développement économique et l’accès à l’éducation et à la justice pour tous, seront reconnus par notre gouvernement et la communauté internationale.

Dr. Denis Mukwege, PhD


26 April 2016

(New York, NY)  Elizabeth Blackney, Media Director for the Panzi Hospital and Foundations released a brief statement on the TIME 100 Gala in New York City, where Dr. Denis Mukwege was being honored as an Icon: "Dr. Denis Mukwege walks the red carpet at the #Time100 Gala tonight. It is a strong signal that survivors of rape and sexualized violence in ‪the Democratic Republic Congo‬, and everywhere around the world, have a champion - and now many more will find hope." 


21 April 2016

Founder and Medical Director of Panzi Hospital and Foundations, Dr. Denis Mukwege, Named to Time 100 List of Most Influential People in the World

(New York, NY) TIME named Panzi Founder, Dr. Denis Mukwege, PhD, to the 2016 TIME 100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

The girls and women of Congo, and survivors of sexual and gender based violence in every corner of the world, have a champion. Dr. Denis Mukwege is a pioneer of medical and psychosocial healing, integrated with education and vocational training, safe transitional housing, legal assistance, and social, familial, and community reintegration. 

His tireless efforts on behalf of some of the most vulnerable people in the world inspires, and informs our work with our colleagues at Panzi Hospital and Panzi Foundation DRC.

The full TIME 100 list and related tributes appear in the May 2 issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Friday, April 22, and now at time.com/time100. 


Remarks of Dr. Denis Mukwege at the occasion of the Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards ceremony – Middelburg – April 21, 2016

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander 

Her Majesty Queen Maxima,

Her Majesty Princess Beatrix,

King's Commissioner for the Province of Zeeland,

Members of the Roosevelt Foundation,

Distinguished guests,

It is my pleasure to be with you today in the historic Abbey of Middelburg.

Members of the Roosevelt Foundation,

I accept the Freedom from Want award today on behalf of all victims of rape around the world. By highlighting the work carried out at Panzi Hospital, you have chosen to hear the cries and suffering of women victims of sexual violence. You are choosing to recognize the fierce determination of survivors who become advocates for social change and justice in their communities. They are often at the forefront in the fight against poverty.

I greatly admire you, Ms. Linor Abargil for your dedication, and wish to express my most sincere gratitude for your tireless advocacy in encouraging other survivors of rape to speak out. Like many girls and women, you have transformed your pain into power, and you inspire all of us. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Women in Africa are carrying the family and the economy on their shoulders. If even a single woman is physically harmed and destroyed psychologically, the cycle of violence and poverty is perpetuated. 

We cannot continue to neglect the rights of more than half the world’s population. We know that when women are healthy and educated, families, communities, and society as a whole flourishes.

It is time to act and put words into action. It is time to fill the gap between the law and its implementation. It is time to engage men and boys, with women and girls, in the struggle to end patriarchal discrimination and gender based abuses. It is time to draw a red line against rape as a weapon of war, as a weapon of oppression. It is time to unite and act together for our common humanity, towards freedom from want globally.  

Finally, please allow me to share with you a message from my patients: they express the need for peace and democracy in the heart of Africa! Together, we must create an environment in which the social, economic, cultural, civil and political rights of women and girls can be fully enjoyed, and where they will fully be able to contribute to the betterment of our world, free from want and free from fear. 

I trust we will prevail!

Thank you.

Denis Mukwege, MD, PhD


21 April 2016

Contact: Elizabeth Blackney, +1 541.390.1913, ElizabethB@pfusa.org

Founder and Medical Director of Panzi Hospital and Foundations, Dr. Denis Mukwege, Named to Time 100 List of Most Influential People in the World

(New York, NY) TIME named Panzi Founder, Dr. Denis Mukwege, PhD, to the 2016 TIME 100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

The girls and women of Congo, and survivors of sexual and gender based violence in every corner of the world, have a champion. Dr. Denis Mukwege is a pioneer of medical and psychosocial healing, integrated with education and vocational training, safe transitional housing, legal assistance, and social, familial, and community reintegration. 

His tireless efforts on behalf of some of the most vulnerable people in the world inspires, and informs our work with our colleagues at Panzi Hospital and Panzi Foundation DRC.

The full TIME 100 list and related tributes appear in the May 2 issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Friday, April 22, and now at time.com/time100. 

The list, now in its thirteenth year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world's most influential individuals. As TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs has said of the list in the past, "The TIME 100 is a list of the world's most influential men and women, not its most powerful, though those are not mutually exclusive terms. While power is certain, influence is subtle. As much as this exercise chronicles the achievements of the past year, we also focus on figures whose influence is likely to grow, so we can look around the corner to see what is coming."
Follow @PanziUSA on Twitter and Instagram, Facebook.com/PanziFoundationUSA, using #PanziStrong and #FemmeForte, and @TIME for updates about the list on Twitter, Facebook.com/TIME and Instagram using #TIME100.

Surrogates from Panzi Foundation's Board of Directors and Staff are available beginning at 09:00AM EST, 21 April 2016. Additional information and Materials for Download are available at http://panzifoundation.org/media. 

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Interview or speaking engagement requests for Dr. Denis Mukwege, or Executive Director Naama Haviv, may be submitted via email or telephone to Elizabeth Blackney, ElizabethB@pfusa.org, 541.390.1913.

Panzi Foundation USA is a 501(c)3 organization, founded in 2010 by Dr. Mukwege to build awareness and support the work of our partners, primarily the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DR Congo. Photography of survivors at the hospital requires special arrangements.

FORTUNE MAGAZINE: TOP 50 GREATEST LEADERS

Dr. Denis Mukwege named to Fortune Magazine's Top 50 World's Greatest Leaders list: 

"In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, militiamen use sexual violence as a tool of war—at the height of the country’s decades-long conflict, 48 Congolese women every hour were raped. Congolese surgeon and gynecologist Denis Mukwege, who founded a hospital in the epicenter of the violence, has treated tens of thousands of victims—some of them children of rape themselves. Despite censorship by the Congolese government, attacks, and an assassination attempt, Mukwege has continually returned to the operating theater, and he has campaigned fiercely worldwide to bring the military use of sexual violence to an end."


08 March 2016
Contact:

Elizabeth Blackney, +1 541.390.1913, ElizabethB@pfusa.org

Darcy Ataman, +1 204 298 0119, Darcy@MakeMusicMatter.org

Panzi Hospital and Foundations, Make Music Matter Commemorate International Women's Day
with Release of New EP featuring Guest Artist Timbuktu

(Los Angeles, CA and Winnipeg, Canada) Featuring guest artist  Timbuktu, the third album from Panzi's groundbreaking Music Therapy Program reaches a new level of artistry, with powerful, evocative songs about women's experiences in Congo. This new EP, "I Also Have a Dream" features four tracks, including the powerful "Mon corps n'est pas une arme," or "My Body is Not a Weapon." 

"The artists are driving the session. With the help of Jojo and Justin, the producer and psychologist respectively, these artists are ready to go. They are engaged. They have ideas and are ready to create. It is, of course, an honor to host an artist of Timbuktu's caliber - but more so to witness the collaboration in this community of artists." said Darcy Ataman, Founder and CEO of Make Music Matter who recently returned from five weeks at the Panzi Hospital and Foundations' campus in Bukavu, DRC.

Naama Haviv, Executive Director of Panzi's US foundation said, "Music more than heals us - it helps us to heal each other. We are honored Timbuktu, along with our partners at PMU, were able to visit the music therapy program at Panzi. We're very excited to share the music from his powerful collaboration with the artists in our program. This EP represents more than what it possible, it is an expression of restored humanity." 

Working in tandem with a trained psychologist and music producer, Panzi's groundbreaking Music Therapy program brings together survivors of sexual violence, vulnerable community members, and children for a healing journey by writing, recording, and professionally producing songs about their experiences.

The Music Therapy program is a collaboration between Panzi Foundation USA, Panzi Foundation DRC, and Make Music Matter. We are deeply grateful to the Humanitarian Innovation Fund for its ongoing support of the program.

The copyright for all lyrics and music are held by the artists who have given the Panzi Hospital and Foundations and Make Music Matter permission to share and disseminate the songs on their behalf. The music is available on Soundcloud. Lyrics and production information may be found here, and will be provided upon request. Panzi Foundation DRC staff and information may be found here