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A Dieu, Inge Kool

A Dieu, Inge Kool

Panzi Foundations DRC/USA and the Mukwege Foundation Mourn Inge Kool

On Friday night, January 19, 2018, we lost our dear colleague and friend Inge Kool, deputy director of the Panzi Foundation program in the DRC, in a tragic accident in Europe.

As a member of the Bukavu-based senior staff, Inge greatly contributed to expanding the activities of Panzi Hospital and Foundation DRC in difficult circumstances and with remote constituencies.

She joined the team in Congo on April 13, 2014, and worked closely with the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation and the Panzi Foundation in the United States.

Her job at Panzi DRC involved replicating the Panzi model “One Stop Center” in other places.

She worked to defend human rights and served as DRC Coordinator for the Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones Program of Physicians for Human Rights.

Inge dedicated her career to bringing help and hope to victims of sexual violence in eastern Congo. Through her courageous and tireless efforts, she helped rebuild the lives of many of the most vulnerable people.

She will be missed as a very committed associate to the director, Dr Denis Mukwege. Inge was an inspiring colleague, a dear friend, and a great human being.

The thoughts and prayers of the hospital staff and the Panzi Foundation DRC, the Panzi Foundation USA, and the Mukwege Foundation go to her family.

À Dieu, INGE KOOL.


La Fondation Panzi RDC/USA et la Fondation Denis Mukwege Pleurent INGE KOOL

Vendredi soir 19 janvier 2018, nous avons perdu notre chère collègue et amie Inge Kool, directrice adjointe du programme de la Fondation Panzi en RDC, qui est décédée dans un accident routier tragique en Europe.

Comme cadre du personnel basé å Bukavu, Inge a beaucoup contribué à étendre les activités de l’Hôpital de Panzi et de Fondation Panzi RDC dans les circonscriptions difficiles et éloignées.

Elle a rejoint l’équipe au Congo depuis le 13. avril. 2014 et a travaillé de près avec la Fondation Panzi des Etats-Unis et la Fondation Dr Denis Mukwege.

Son travail à Panzi/RDC a plus consisté à répliquer le modèle de Panzi “One Stop Center” ou guichet unique à d’autres endroits.

Inge a utilisé son temps pour la défense des Droits Humains et a exercé les fonctions de Coordinatrice RDC pour le Programme des Violences Sexuelles dans les Zones de Conflit.

Inge a dédié avec beaucoup de courage sa carrière pour apporter de l’aide et espoir aux victimes de violences sexuelles dans la partie Est de la RDC.

Grâce à ses efforts intrépides et inlassables, elle a aidé pour la réhabilitation de la vie de beaucoup des personnes vulnérables.

Elle nous manquera en tant que bonne collaboratrice du Président du Conseil d’Administration, le Professeur Mukwege, en tant que collègue très engagée, mais aussi en tant qu’amie, et être humain remarquable.

Les pensées et les prières du Professeur Mukwege,des membres du personnel de l’Hôpital de Panzi, de la Fondation Panzi RDC, de la Fondation Panzi USA et de la Fondation Mukwege vont à sa famille.

À DIEU INGE KOOL

Photo Credit: Lauren Wolfe

Kavumu: Statement from Dr. Denis Mukwege

Kavumu: Statement from Dr. Denis Mukwege

Contact:
PanziUSA - Elizabeth Blackney (English) (GMT -5)

ElizabethB@pfusa.org or via phone: +1 541.390.1913. 
Panzi Hospital – Crispin Kashale (French) (GMT +2)
communication@fondationpanzirdc.org
+243 819 593 254

The following statement is from Dr. Denis Mukwege, Founder and Medical Director for Panzi Hospital, Dr. Mukwege is the Founder and President of Panzi Foundation DRC and Panzi Foundation USA. His statement on the Kavumu Trial is provided in both English and French. 

(Bukavu, DRC) From Dr. Denis Mukwege: "Yesterday, Wednesday, December 13, the curtains fell on the trial of Kavumu. The trial focused on the systematic rape of 42 children, aged 18 months to 10 years old. An exemplary verdict: twelve convictions were pronounced for crimes against humanity by rape and murder. Do these convictions signal the advent of justice's victory over the culture of impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

"I congratulate the parents of the victims and survivors for their courage. They were steadfast and strong until the end of the trial despite threats and intimidation of all kinds. They knew how to brave the fear, the shame, and the stigmatization to assert their rights. I salute with respect and great emotion this strong wind of truth which blows over our military and demonstrates to the world it is time to speak for what is right, no matter the political stature of the accused.

"This verdict gives hope to the multitude of silent and traumatized victims who dare not complain because of their lack of faith in our justice system.

"This Kavumu trial sends a strong message to political leaders at all levels who use and support militias. Even as those militias kill and rape civilians, attack Congolese armed forces, and United Nations peace-keepers; they commit and perpetuate war crimes and crimes against humanity – the message is still clear: sooner or later justice will prevail.

"I express my gratitude to the staff of the Panzi Hospital, the Panzi Foundation, and the teams from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and TRIAL International. I also am grateful to all the experts in humanitarian and international law as well as psychological experts for their support to the victims and the determination to bring this trial to a successful conclusion. 

"This landmark collaboration is an example of humanism, altruism and efficiency; a model for fighting impunity in conflict zones. It deserves to be congratulated and replicated in other areas of conflict. To make a better world, everyone should bring out the best of himself or herself, bring our skills and materials to strengthen the process like the many practitioners who did so in, and for, Kavumu. That is what they did with professionalism. 

"The thorny question about reparations remains uncertain. Medical scientific literature does not shed sufficient light on the consequences of mass rape on babies. There are not many retrospective studies of babies left alive in the context of conflict where rape is used as a weapon of war.

"For some of these raped children under the age of twenty-four months, they should not only be provided with psychological and medical care for at least the next 17 years, but also a full assessment of the consequences of these rapes with extreme violence on their sexuality, their fertility, and their behavior. This can only be done when they reach adulthood. Their healing process is merely beginning.

"I encourage the gynecological, pediatric-psychological, and psychosocial monitoring teams as well as their parents to shower these children with love, tenderness, and grace so that the victory over their abusers and executioners is complete and with the least possible pain in the aftermath.

It goes without saying that the protection of witnesses, parents, and the various actors in the past and future care of these children is essential."

"With more political will we can overcome impunity, build a safer world, and a better future for our children and future generations."

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Déclaration du Dr Mukwege sur le verdict du procès de viol des enfants à Kavumu/RD Congo.

Depuis hier mercredi 13 décembre, les rideaux sont tombés sur le procès de Kavumu. Un procès pour viol de 42 enfants de 18 mois à 10 ans. Le verdict a été exemplaire : douze condamnations pour crimes contre l'humanité ont été prononcées. Ces condamnations augurent-elles l'avènement de la victoire de la Justice sur la culture de l'impunité en République Démocratique du Congo? 

Je félicite les parents des victimes pour leur courage. Ils ont su tenir bon jusqu'à la fin du procès malgré les menaces et les intimidations de toutes sortes. Ils ont su braver la peur, la honte, la stigmatisation pour faire valoir leur droit. Je salue avec respect et grande émotion ce vent de vérité et de fermeté qui souffle sur notre justice militaire qui a su montrer à la face du monde qu'elle est capable de dire le droit et rien que le droit quelle que soit l'influence politique du prévenu. 

Ce verdict donne l'espoir à la multitude des victimes silencieuses et traumatisées qui n'osent se plaindre faute de foi en notre justice. 

Ce procès de Kavumu est un message fort adressé aux dirigeants politiques, à tous niveaux, qui entretiennent des milices. Des milices qui tuent et violent les civils, attaquent les forces armées congolaises et les forces des Nations Unies. Des milices qui commettent des crimes de guerre et des crimes contre l'humanité judiciairement imprescriptibles. Le message envoyé est clair, tôt ou tard la justice vaincra. 

J’exprime ma gratitude au staff de l'hôpital de Panzi, de la Fondation Panzi et à nos collaborateurs des organisations PHR et TRIAL. J’exprime ma reconnaissance aux experts en droit humanitaire et international ainsi qu’aux experts psychologues pour leur soutien aux victimes et la détermination à faire aboutir ce procès. 
Cette collaboration qui fera date, est un exemple d'humanisme, d’altruisme et d’efficacité ;  un modèle  de lutte contre l'impunité dans les zones de conflit. Elle mérite d'être félicitée et répliquée dans d'autres zones de conflit. Pour faire un monde meilleur, chacun devrait apporter le meilleur de lui-même, sa pierre à l’édifice, c'est ce qu’ils ont su faire avec professionnalisme. 

Il reste en suspens, l'épineuse question de réparations. La littérature scientifique ne nous éclaire pas suffisamment sur les conséquences des viols de masse chez les bébés. Il n’y a pas beaucoup d’études rétrospectives portant sur des bébés laissés en vie dans le contexte de conflits où le viol est utilisé comme arme de guerre. 

Pour certaines de ces enfants violées en dessous de l’âge de vingt-quatre mois, il faudrait non seulement leur assurer un suivi psychologique et médical pendant au moins les 17 ans à venir, mais aussi une évaluation complète des conséquences de ces viols avec extrême violence, sur leur sexualité, leur fertilité et leur comportement. Cela ne pourra se faire que lorsqu'elles atteindront leur majorité. Le processus de leur guérison ne fait donc que commencer.

J'encourage les équipes de suivi gynécologique, pédo-psychologique, psychosocial ainsi que les parents à accompagner ces enfants avec amour, tendresse et grâce afin que la victoire sur leurs bourreaux soit totale et avec le moins des séquelles possibles. 

Il va sans dire que la protection des  témoins, des parents et des différents acteurs de la prise  en charge passée et future de ces enfants  est indispensable.

Avec davantage de volonté politique nous pouvons vaincre l'impunité, bâtir un monde plus sûr et un meilleur avenir pour nos enfants et les générations futures. 

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PANZI USA DENIED TRAVEL VISAS BY DRC GOVERNMENT

PANZI USA DENIED TRAVEL VISAS BY DRC GOVERNMENT

In our work with Panzi Hospital and Panzi Foundation DRC, we provide support to survivors of rape perpetrated by militias and other bad actors in eastern Congo. 

Co-Founded in 2010 by Dr. Denis Mukwege with Dr. Lee Ann De Reus, Panzi USA scheduled a delegation to attend the Partners Conference in Bukavu, South Kivu province in May 2017. The visit would have marked Dr. De Reus' tenth to Panzi facilities. Our Executive Director Tony Gambino has been traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) regularly since 1979 in many capacities, including as the Mission Director for USAID in Kinshasa for three years.

The Kabila government, which continues to violate the Congolese Constitution, denied travel visas for Dr. Lee Ann De Reus and Tony Gambino.

Dr. De Reus stated: "As the Panzi Model continues to show clinical progress and benefits to families and society, we are with our colleagues every step of the way. Documenting success at Panzi, and how they overcome the many challenges presented in a conflict zone, are critical for our work."

President Kabila and his government cannot silence the voices of our colleagues and the many Congolese who want free and fair elections by denying Americans travel visas. President Kabila is well beyond his Constitutional mandate. By denying our team their visas, it only confirms the democratic space and the humanitarian space is closing in Congo.

Executive Director Tony Gambino noted: "This is yet another clear example of the Kabila government's sad decline into an autocratic defiance of all decency and respect for humanitarian norms."

 

Monusco Must Restore Protection At Panzi for Dr. Denis Mukwege

Monusco Must Restore Protection At Panzi for Dr. Denis Mukwege

11 May 2017

(Washington, DC) Yesterday, Panzi Foundation USA's Executive Director Tony Gambino responded to inaccurate statements made by Monusco officials on Twitter. "To say that Dr. Mukwege is under no threat is a terribly wrong misstatement. His close friend and colleague, Dr. Gildo Byamungu was murdered in Uvira just a few weeks ago. Sadly, the statement made by Monusco is factually incorrect. Protection was withdrawn following the departure of former SRSG Martin Kobler. This needs to be rectified as soon as possible."

Mr. Gambino is available for interviews. 

The statement below, from our colleagues at Panzi Foundation DRC, reflects the facts surrounding the withdrawal of protection. Panzi Foundation USA endorses and joins them in calling for the restoration of protection to Dr. Mukwege and Panzi Hospital. 

Statement from the Panzi Foundation DRC on the Protection MONUSCO Provides to Dr. Mukwege and Panzi Hospital

"On Tuesday, May 9, the French newspaper "La Croix" published an article stating that MONUSCO no longer provides permanent protection to Dr. Dénis Mukwege. That statement is true.

"On Wednesday, May 10, in Kinshasa, during a press conference, Charles Antoine Bambara, MONUSCO's Director of Public Information, stated that "MONUSCO always has protected Dr. Denis Mukwege. Our forces are always there to secure those who feel threatened. Some of our soldiers are even now near Panzi Hospital." That statement is inaccurate, and verifiably so.

"MONUSCO protected Panzi Hospital and Doctor Mukwege for a certain period until the departure of SRSG Martin Kobler.

"Unfortunately, MONUSCO, without giving us any explanation, no longer protects the hospital as it once did.

"The Pakistani contingent of MONUSCO, which had been based at Panzi camp, was moved last year. There are no more MONUSCO blue helmets in the vicinity of the hospital.

"Also, MONUSCO said on Twitter that "MONUSCO continues its protection to Dr. Mukwege and there is no threat to him." This statement also is inaccurate.

"The threat remains, grows, and is permanent. It is surprising that MONUSCO does not seem to understand this fundamental and urgent reality about the safety of Dr. Mukwege, the medical and administrative staff, and especially the girls and women who come to Panzi.

"MONUSCO's mandate is to protect civilians. We request that MONUSCO provide permanent, continuous protection to Dr. Mukwege and Panzi Hospital. We thank them for the escorts that continue to take place."

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Contact: Elizabeth Blackney, +1541.390.1913 
 ElizabethB@pfusa.org 

Nita Evele and Tony Gambino Speak Out

Nita Evele and Tony Gambino Speak Out

Stay informed about the escalating political crisis in the DRC, and concerns that sexualized violence against women will increase by following us here. Our Expert Insight call with be announced soon on our Events page. 

Recently, Panzi USA Board Members Nita Evele and Tony Gambino were featured in the Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace, and Security's "Profiles in Peace" series. 

Ms. Evele also spoke at the Enough Project's "Combating Violent Kleptocracy in the DRC" event. Read the report here. See the panel discussion in the video below.