The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the United Nations (UN) must take urgent and concrete measures to protect Denis Mukwege, a doctor and Nobel Laureate who is receiving death threats for demanding accountability and justice for serious crimes perpetrated in the country, said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
The Congolese gynecologist and Pentecostal pastor founded and works in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specializes in the treatment of women who have been raped by armed rebels.
In 2018, Mukwege and Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”.
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Amnesty International said it was alarmed that no concrete actions has been taken by the Congolese authorities to protect him
“We are alarmed that two weeks after President Tshisekedi pledged to protect Dr Denis Mukwege, his government and the UN authorities are yet to take concrete measures in that regard. Likewise, the authorities have not started investigations into the threats as promised by President Tshisekedi,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“The hospital where Dr Mukwege works must also be protected. As well as hundreds of doctors, nurses and support staff who are worried for their safety, the hospital contains thousands of medical files belonging to survivors of rape, for whom Dr Mukwege has been a longtime advocate. The women receiving medical care at the hospital after suffering sexual violence are also in need of protection.
“President Tshisekedi and his government must take concrete and immediate measures, in agreement with Dr Mukwege himself, to ensure his adequate protection and that of his family and colleagues.
“In accordance with its mandate to protect civilians in the DRC, the UN must also act urgently to ensure the protection of Mukwege, his family, as well as the Panzi Hospital with its personnel and patients, in support of national authorities.”