MEDIA CONTACTS, RESOURCES, AND COVERAGE
MEDIA CONTACTS, RESOURCES, AND COVERAGE
ASIA, THE AMERICAS, & EUROPE
Emily Warne, Panzi Foundation (USA)
Benjamin Duerr, Mukwege Foundation
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Crispin Kashale, Panzi Hospital and Panzi Foundation DRC
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 470+ surgeons, physicians, clinicians, nurses, lab techs, administrative, and support staff.
Email us to request a speaker.
December 10, 2018
“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.”
Dr. Denis Mukwege with Platon at Panzi Hospital
Dr. Denis Mukwege with Platon at Panzi Hospital
Scheduling requests are reviewed weekly by the appropriate Panzi Hospital and Foundations staff. Invitations must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.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.