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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."

 

Kabila Funds American Lobbyists with $5.6 Million Payout

06 June 2017


DRC GOVERNMENT FUNDS AMERICAN LOBBYISTS WITH $5.6 MILLION PAYOUT
Dr. Denis Mukwege Advocates for Expansion and Protection of Humanitarian Work

(New York, NY) The following is a statement from Panzi Foundation USA: 

As reported by The Hill, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is paying millions of dollars to lobbyists in Washington, DC. 

Amid election strifecalls for an international investigation into the murders of UN Experts in the troubled Kasai provinces, President Kabila's government continues to shrink humanitarian and democratic spaces as reports of extrajudicial killings and mass gravescrumbling or nonexistent infrastructure, massive inflation, extreme poverty and malnutrition, an epidemic of rape, an acting with total disregard for the Constitution continue to make headlines. 

In Washington, DC and New York this week, our Founder, Dr. Denis Mukwege participated in a series of high level meetings with US Government and United Nations policymakers and diplomats about humanitarian issues faced in Congo. Our colleagues at Panzi Hospital and Panzi Foundation DRC have helped to treat more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence since 1999. Many thousands of other patients were treated for complex obstetric or gynecological injuries. A general reference hospital, Panzi serves more than 400,000 Congolese in South Kivu province across every medical discipline. Security concerns are paramount for front line defenders. 

Dr. Denis Mukwege stated: "President Kabila claims there is no money for elections. Instead, he paid $5.6 million to lobbyists that want to persuade American lawmakers and the American people of his virtue. 

"With $5.6 MILLION, we could fund 25 health centers and heal hundreds of thousands of Congolese."

Panzi Foundation USA stands in solidarity with Dr. Denis Mukwege. We mourn our colleague and friend, Dr. Gildo Byamungu, who was assassinated in April 2017. We stand with our selfless, courageous colleagues. We stand with the countless citizens and civil society groups who are dedicated to nonviolence and the expansion of the democratic and humanitarian spaces in Congo.

For additional information on the Lobbyists, please utilize the Justice Department's website for Registered Foreign Agents: www.FARA.gov, and use the 'Quick Search' function. Alston Bird LLP, the firm for Senator Bob Dole is under s retainer agreement through Mer Security. Mer's registration number is 6423. Southfive Strategies' registration number is 6426. The Livingston Group, founded by former Congressman Bob Livingston, is registered under 6344. Alpha/Aseleus Strategies, where Trump Transtion member Adnan Jalil is a principal, is registered under 6431. More than $4,500,000 has already been paid since December 2016 according to disclosures filed with FARA.

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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. 

#YELLOWSUNDAY

#YELLOWSUNDAY

Join Congolese civilians worldwide for Yellow Sunday on June 19, 2016. Together we will stand in solidarity to increase public awareness of the ongoing atrocities in Beni and throughout Congo, and mobilize support for those fighting for peace and justice. 

In Congolese traditions, yellow symbolizes wealth. Congo's greatest wealth is its people, who struggle under violence, corruption, and poverty. Join our effort by wearing yellow on Sunday, June 19; take a picture of yourself, your friends, your families, your church and community wearing yellow and post it on social media using hashtag #YellowSunday #DimancheJaune #JeSuisBeni #Congo.

Feel free to use the graphics below to aid your efforts! 

Resources: