News & Editorial



News & Editorial


media contacts

Emily Warne, Panzi Foundation USA
Email: emily@pfusa.org

Crispin Kashale, Panzi Foundation DRC
Email: crispin.kashale@gmail.com

book a speaker

We coordinate speaking engagements for Dr. Denis Mukwege, the US Board of Directors, other officials and experts in DR Congo, conflict minerals, strategic advocacy, and the Panzi Model developed and implemented by Dr. Mukwege and our team of 750+ surgeons, physicians, clinicians, nurses, lab techs, administrative, and support staff.  

Email us to request a speaker.

recent news and Articles

New York Times Opinion Page: My Country Is Sliding Toward Chaos

New York Times: Nobel Peace Prize Winners Demand Global Action on Mass Rape

Reuters: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mukwege Worried Congo Vote Could Lead to War

Al Jazeera: The Nobel Interview featuring Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege

The Guardian: Indifference to sexual violence eats away at us all, say Nobel pair

Agence France-Press: Fight to end rape in war must begin in peacetime

Washington Post: The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize is about helping the survivors of sexual violence

Voice of America Afrique: Interview du Dr. Denis Mukwege après la remise du Prix Nobel

RFI: Nobel 2018, le docteur Mukwege: «quand on ajoute l'indifférence à l'impunité»

Press Releases and announcements

September 1, 2019

Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo —Statement from Dr. Mukwege

Today we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the Panzi Hospital. Born in a context of conflict, Panzi Hospital has welcomed and served war victims from its first days, including survivors of sexual violence, the wounded, and the displaced.

I remember two colonial homes that were restored to become the hospital and the very first consultations that took place in September 1999. Our choice for where to build the hospital was Panzi neighborhood, in the south of Bukavu. This part of the city was becoming more and more populated, and suffered from a lack of public services.

The situation for pregnant woman in this neighborhood was dire. If there were any complications (for example, if a caesarean section was necessary), they needed to go to Bukavu General Hospital, which was about 10 kilometers away at the other end of the city. In addition to the distance, there were many other security-related obstacles these women faced. There were roadblocks at every street corner as well as national and foreign soldiers who prevented people from passing. Women often succumbed to hemorrhaging when they could not reach a medical center in time.

When we opened Panzi Hospital, we had planned to address these issues by specializing in obstetric care, but a new phenomenon was striking in the region -- a wave of rapes accompanied by extreme violence. I was appalled by what was happening before my eyes, and our priorities immediately changed.

Twenty years after the first violent rape operation in 1999, Panzi Hospital has treated more than 55,000 victims of sexual violence. Unfortunately, this figure is constantly increasing: every day between five and seven new survivors arrive seeking treatment for their rapes. At Panzi Hospital, they find a refuge where they can seek healing.

We soon realized that medical treatment was not enough and that survivors needed access to additional services to rebuild their lives. To address this, we developed a four-pillar holistic healing model which combines medical treatment with psychosocial support, socio-economic reintegration services and access to the justice system. Together, these pillars saved lives and repaired souls while allowing survivors to gain independence and demand justice.

We replicated this model outside of Bukavu, opening "one-stop centers" in rural communities and deploying emergency field teams to deal with mass rapes in villages. Our mobile teams also operate vesico-vaginal obstetric fistulas in other provinces of the country.

Recognizing that sexual violence in conflict is not just a problem in the DRC, we want to broaden our vision of holistic healing outside the country by ensuring that victims in the Central African Republic, Burundi, Iraq and elsewhere can access holistic healing and rebuild their lives. One Stop Centers offering Panzi's global support model will be implemented in the coming months.

It is with great pride that I thank all of the staff of Panzi Hospital and Foundations and the Denis Mukwege Foundation for their hard work and commitment to ending rape as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and around the world, as the fight against rape in war must be echoed globally. I warmly thank our staff who have always responded bravely by treating each victim with compassion and dignity.

And even if this month we remember the last two decades -- and its challenges -- we look forward to the future with hope. In the coming years, we will continue to deliver on our vision to remain a center of excellence for the treatment of victims of sexual violence and delivering quality maternal health care, while expanding our legacy. We will do this by serving as a global training center focused on delivering medical treatment for victims of sexual violence in other conflict settings. We will continue to demand justice around the world for the victims by drawing a red line against impunity. We will continue to fight for the Global Fund for Reparations, which we have been advocating for since 2010 and will officially launch on October 30, 2019.

And lastly, we will never cease in our delivery of care for survivors of sexual violence, sharing our vision of a world of solidarity and empowering all survivors to become agents of change. We invite you to join us, and call you to action!

July 9, 2019

Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo —Statement from Dr. Mukwege on the conviction of Bosco Ntaganda: We welcome the guilty verdict issued yesterday by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Bosco Ntaganda.

This judgment restores confidence in international criminal justice and is also a source of hope for the victims in Ituri and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This long-awaited decision shows us that the humanitarian community has both a moral and legal obligation to draw a red line against war criminals. From those who target civilians, to those who rape, to those who disembowel pregnant women and to those use girls as slaves, all war criminals must be prosecuted and tried.

 We remain convinced that there will be neither lasting peace nor reconciliation in the Great Lakes region or the DRC without justice, truth and reparations for survivors and other affected communities.

The decision in The Hague is a step in the right direction but we must not forget that the instigators of violence in this region continue to hold positions of power in institutions and within the security and defense forces; and as a result, they continue to perpetrate crimes with impunity.

That is why we invite the ICC to continue investigations in the DRC to break the cycle of violence that prevails in Ituri, in the Kivus and elsewhere to this day. We also call upon the states of the Great Lakes region to cooperate and provide transparent legal assistance to the ICC in order to bring perpetrators of international crimes to justice.

In this period marked by the temptation to retreat behind national boundaries, we also urge the international community to intervene when populations are threatened or held hostage by those in power.  Sovereignty emanates from the people – it cannot be claimed by those who cannot protect the people, nor guarantee their basic needs, and especially not while threatening peace and international security. Finally, we urge the States Parties to the Rome Statute to mobilise themselves in order to allocate the resources necessary for the ICC to fulfil its mandate.

January 24, 2019

Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo — Statement from Dr. Mukwege on the Constitutional Court’s Decision Regarding the Presidential Elections: Mr. Félix THISEKEDI was proclaimed the winner of the presidential election by the Constitutional Court. Presiding over the destiny of our country is a heavy responsibility.

Our people, who have suffered so much because of a system that has enslaved them for decades, expect much from their new leaders in order to improve their lives and chart a brighter future. We hope they will take on this role with gravity.

We call on the Congolese people and all the sociopolitical forces of our country to embrace patriotism and to unite around the ideal of the need for change to rebuild our country together, restore the dignity of our people, and preserve peace.

December 10, 2018

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege: We need to stop sexual violence as a weapon of war.

“Governments must draw a red line. Taking action is a matter of political will.”

Oslo, Norway — In his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018, Dr. Denis Mukwege, world-renowned gynecologist, human rights activist and founder of the Panzi Hospital and Foundation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), urged world leaders and citizens to take action against sexual violence in wars. “It’s not just perpetrators of violence who are responsible for their crimes, it is also those who choose to look the other way.”

Dr Mukwege received the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize together with Nadia Murad, a Yezidi activist from northern Iraq, for their efforts to end the use of rape as a weapon of war. In his remarks, he dedicated this honour to survivors of sexual violence in Congo and across the globe. Dr. Mukwege:

“The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to us today will be of value only if it leads to concrete change in the lives of victims of sexual violence all over the world and the restoration of peace in our countries.”

Recognition, support and reparations for sexual violence survivors

He shared his frustration about the high levels of violence in Congo, which increasingly targets babies and children. Since the opening of Panzi Hospital in 1999, Dr. Mukwege and his team have treated more than 50,000 victims of sexual violence in Congo by providing not only medical care, but also psychological, legal and livelihood support.Dr. Mukwege said that with this holistic approach, victims have the potential to turn their suffering into power: “Even if the road to recovery is long and difficult…they can become agents of positive change in society.”

 He also pressed for the recognition of sexual violence victims: “I insist on reparations: the measures that give survivors compensation and satisfaction and enable them to start a new life. It is a human right. Dr. Mukwege advocated the establishment of an international reparations fund for victims of wartime sexual violence.

International community must act

Dr. Mukwege called on governments to send clear signals against the use of rape as a method of warfare. “The international community must cease to welcome heads of state who have tolerated or - worse - used sexual violence to gain power.” He implored the international community to refuse visas to the perpetrators, to sanction them, and to bring them to justice in international courts. “Doing the right thing is not difficult”, he said while addressing governments around the world. “It is a matter of political will.”

He says consumers have a role to play, too, since the abundance of natural resources like gold, coltan, cobalt and other minerals necessary for the production of electric products is a cause of the on-going war and extreme violence in east Congo. “When you drive your electric car; when you use your smart phone or admire your jewellery, take a minute to reflect on the human cost of manufacturing these objects,” Dr. Mukwege said. “We all have the power to change the course of history when the beliefs we are fighting for are right.”

 Call for peace in Congo

Dr. Mukwege made a strong plea for peace in his home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where more than 6 million people have been killed during two decades of war. Addressing his fellow citizens he said: “Dear Congolese compatriots, let us have the courage to take our destiny in our own hands.  Let us build peace, build our country’s future, and together build a better future for Africa.  No one else will do it for us

Dr. Mukwege called on the international community to follow the recommendations made in the Mapping Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights which is “gathering mold in an office drawer in New York.” The 2010 report lists gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed in the DRC between 1993 and 2003. Mukwege explained that as long as the perpetrators remain unpunished and there are no truth-finding and reconciliation efforts in Congo, lasting peace cannot be achieved.

Dr. Mukwege: “With this Nobel Peace Prize, I call on the world to be a witness and I urge you to join us in order to put an end to this suffering that shames our common humanity.”




Scheduling requests are reviewed weekly by the appropriate Panzi Hospital and Foundations staff. Invitations must be submitted to info@panzifoundation.org. A member of our staff will confirm receipt and guide you through the approval process. Visits to the Panzi Hospital and Foundations require a minimum for four to six weeks for processing. For additional information please visit our media page.

Dr. Denis Mukwege travels from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and various cities around the world. When Dr. Mukwege is unavailable, a surrogate from the Panzi Hospital, Panzi Foundation DRC, or Panzi Foundation USA may be available.

Panzi Hospital and Panzi Foundation DRC staff travel from Bukavu, DRC. Please email your request, and we will assist in logistics coordination.

The Panzi Foundation USA Board of Directors and Staff travel primarily from Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC and other cities across the United States.

Once your event has been approved, a member of our staff will collaborate with you to develop and manage logistics. Hosts and hosting organizations should be prepared to meet the following criteria:

  • Dr. Mukwege will be accompanied by one staff member from the DRC on all travel. When in Europe, he will also be accompanied by a European or US Based staff member. On travel outside of Europe and Africa, he will be accompanied by at least one staff member from DRC and one from Panzi Foundation USA.

  • Dr. Mukwege's Business class airfare, and Coach class airfare for designated staff will be provided. In the event Dr. Mukwege is unavailable, his designee will be provided Coach class airfare.

  • Airport transfers and Hotel accommodations will be provided for the duration of stay. Hotels must have official security protocol, to be approved by Chief of Security for the Panzi Hospital and in consultation with PFUSA staff.

  • Appropriate credentials for staff will also be provided.

  • Suggested speech text will be provided no less than 14 (fourteen) days prior to scheduled event. Once finalized, Remarks as Prepared will be submitted in French and English.

  • Scheduling requests must clearly state the host/hosting organization purpose, and all meetings under consideration for the duration of the itinerary.

  • When traveling outside of the DRC, media scheduling will be reviewed by PFUSA Media and Communications Director. Suggested speech text must be submitted for review more than 14 days in advance. Speech text will be reviewed and translated into English and French.

  • Media requests and interviews will be reviewed and coordinated by PFUSA and DRC staff.

  • Hosting organizations will be advised of Security protocols and costs for Dr. Mukwege in advance. All protocols will be reviewed with PFUSA and DRC staff. All appearances are subject to security review. Security compliance protocols will be reviewed as necessary.

  • Honorariums must be negotiated in advance.

  • Security protocols for Dr. Mukwege. and all Panzi Hospital and Foundations staff, will be reviewed with appropriate PFUSA and DRC staff. All appearances are subject to security review. Security compliance protocols will be reviewed as necessary. Security will be paid for by hosting organizations.



Press Releases, Advisories, and Additional Materials


Press Releases, Advisories, and Additional Materials


Statement from Dr. Denis Mukwege:

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the Nobel Prize Committee,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends of peace, friends of humanity,

It is with great humility that I learned of this news while I was in the middle of performing surgery in my hospital.

At this time, my thoughts turn immediately to all survivors of rape and sexual violence in conflict zones around the world.

I am honored to be named alongside Nadia Murad, with whom I have shared this fight for some time. Nadia Murad is a person for whom I have a great deal of respect because her courage and strength in denouncing this barbarity in conflicts, which
goes well beyond anything that one can imagine.

Dear members of the Nobel Committee, you heard her voice, you have heard the voices of all survivors.

Indeed, this honor is an inspiration because it shows that the world is actually paying attention to the tragedy of rape and sexual violence and that the women and children who have suffered for too long are not being ignored.

This Nobel Prize reflects this recognition of suffering and the need for just reparations for female victims of rape and sexual violence in countries across the world and on all continents.

This is an important step towards the long-awaited reparations that we all owe to these women.

This award will have real meaning only if it helps mobilize people to change the situation of victims in areas of armed conflict.

I dedicate this Nobel Prize to women of all countries in the world, harmed by conflict and facing violence every day.

For almost 20 years I have witnessed war crimes committed against women, girls, and even baby girls not only in my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also in many other countries.

To the survivors from all over the world, I would like to tell you that through this prize, the world is listening to you and refusing to remain indifferent. The world refuses to sit idly in the face of your suffering.

We hope that the world will not wait any longer to act with determination and strength to assist you because the survival of humanity depends on you.


May 30, 2018 - Dr. Denis Mukwege is founder of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he and his staff have cared for more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence. They include women who have been raped in front of their families and girls brutally assaulted by combatants during the country’s two decades of civil war. Some of his patients are infants—less than one-year-old—who have been raped.

For someone who has witnessed so much cruelty and suffering, Dr. Mukwege could be forgiven for not having a very hopeful view of our world. But when I met him in New York last year, I was struck not only by his warmth and gentleness, but also his incredible optimism.

“What is keeping me going is really the strength of women. I discovered how women are strong, how women can rebuild, and give hope for our humanity,” he told me. “They have taught me a lot about how we can make our world better, by not only thinking about yourself but to think about other people.”

As a boy growing up in eastern Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Dr. Mukwege was drawn to a life of service to others. He would accompany his father, a pastor, as he went from home to home to pray for the sick in their community. While he admired his father’s faith, he wanted to use the power of medicine to help heal them. At age 8, he decided he would become a doctor.

He went to medical school in France where he specialized in pediatrics. As he learned about how many women were dying giving childbirth, especially in his own country, he switched to obstetrics.

When he returned to Africa, he opened a center to provide maternity care in the city of Bukavu in eastern Congo. It was the first clinic of its kind in the entire region. But the first patient he saw didn’t come because she was pregnant. She had been raped and shot. In the months that followed, dozens more rape survivors showed up at his hospital. By year’s end, Dr. Mukwege had treated hundreds of survivors and their numbers kept growing. He soon learned that rape was being used by soldiers to intimidate and displace entire communities, causing the women and their families to flee.

“When rape is used as a weapon of war, the impact is not only to destroy women physically, it’s also to destroy their minds . . . to destroy their humanity,” he said. 

At first, Dr. Mukwege focused on treating the women’s physical wounds. But he soon realized that it was not enough. Most of the women had been so traumatized that they could not go back home and restart their lives. So, he designed a more comprehensive approach to care that goes beyond physical healing and focuses on psychological support and socioeconomic assistance. He also started a legal program to pursue justice for the survivors of sexual violence.

Looking back over the thousands of patients he’s seen over the years, Dr. Mukwege says one case stands out for him. It’s the first patient he treated—more than two decades ago. She underwent six surgeries and, at first, was unable to walk. She thought her life was ruined, he recalled.

But she was inspired to help others who had experienced what she had. She enrolled in school and dedicated her life to taking care of other victims of sexual violence. Today, she is one of the longest serving employees at Panzi Hospital, where she helps patients put the pieces of their lives back together. Thanks to her efforts and the work by the rest of Dr. Mukwege’s staff at Panzi Hospital, thousands of women have been able to rebuild their lives—some even going on to become nurses, doctors, and lawyers.

“The goal is to transform their pain into power,” Dr. Mukwege said. “We can change hate by love.”


May 27, 2017 - The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative named Dr. Denis Mukwege as one of five finalists for the 2017 Aurora Prize. From the Aurora Prize: "They were chosen for their exceptional impact, courage and commitment to preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes." Read more here.

"We have an international consensus against the use of nuclear weapons and against chemical and biological weapons, and against torture. Since 1919, international law has recognized that rape as a weapon of war must end. And yet it continues as a cheap, effective tool of war. Making the bodies of women and children the battlefields. As human beings and governments, we need to say, if you win a war by destroying women, the international community will never accept you as a leader." 


October 11, 2016 -A Holistic, Person-Centred Care Model for Victims of Sexual Violence in Democratic Republic of Congo: The Panzi Hospital One-Stop Centre Model of Care


April 21, 2016 -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.