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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

Justice for Kavumu's Children

Child Rapes and Murders Declared Crimes Against Humanity in Landmark Case

(Washington, DC) The following is a statement from Panzi Foundation USA on the landmark ruling in the Kavumu trial that concluded today in eastern Congo.  

Abuse of Power and a Path to Justice
The crimes of murder and systematic rape of very young children perpetrated by Frederic Batumike, a Congo parliamentarian, and his militia terrorized children, parents, and the community of Kavumu for more than a year. The heinous nature of the attacks created an outrage that spread far beyond Kavumu. 

Throughout this crisis, a coalition of leaders of local associations, teachers, lawyers, NGO representatives, and human rights defenders worked to confront sexual violence in Kavumu. In April 2016, they convened an important community-led symposium, "Consortium SOS Jeune Filles en Danger,” at Panzi Hospital’s Maison Dorcas after-care facility and conference center. 

Technical expertise of Panzi Hospital and Panzi Foundation DRC doctors, alongside other medical and legal professionals – like Physicians for Human Rights and TRIAL International – facilitated the rigorous documentation of each case. This, plus the careful preservation of evidence was critical to the judicial process.

A Complicated Path to Healing
Infants, toddlers, and young children sustained grievous, extensive injuries to their organs and reproductive systems. The severity of the trauma each child and family still faces cannot be understated. 

Injuries include the destruction of the cervix, reproductive organs, bladders, fistula, and severe trauma to the abdomen. It is unknown if, or how many, of the surviving girls will recover and have normal sexual or reproductive functions. 

Panzi physicians, psychologists, clinicians, and staff continue to serve the children and survivors. It is our commitment to support their work, and the families of those we serve every day. 

Next Steps for Justice
The conviction of Batumike and his militia, 12 men in total, of Crimes Against Humanity by Rape and Murder is an historic moment in the fight against impunity for crimes of this nature. Many, many more women and girls, and boys, await justice in Congo. 

The Bukavu Court made the mobile court possible for the victims and survivors in Kavumu. The strong partnership between medical and legal practitioners with civil society and the families affected was and remains critical. 

No parent, no child, no person should be confronted with violence. The excruciating burden these families face must be met with action – through the holistic, comprehensive survivor-centered care provided on the frontlines, through the judicial process, stronger institutions, and with a supportive and engaged international community. 

The child rapes in Kavumu shock the conscience, and we cannot – and should not – distance ourselves from this reality. While justice is denied any victim – the work must continue. The international community must respond. Rape decimates humanity. In the victim of each crime and within each of us. 

Justice in Kavumu must be a step towards ending impunity in Congo, and around the world.  


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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