The European Parliament has just announced that Dr. Denis Mukwege, Founder and Medical Director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo is the winner of this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
In his statement in response to his selection for the prize, Dr. Muwkege highlighted the courage of survivors themselves:
Our thoughts go to the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world, especially those of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Those women whose existence hangs between life and death from the wounds that have been inflicted on them, continue to fight courageously.
We think about those who fight against stigma and social exclusion, those who fight for justice, and for their rights…
He also reminded policy makers on the need to keep working to end the conflict in eastern DR Congo:
Presently, the Congo remains in a state of “neither peace, nor war.” Congolese have a thirst for justice and stability, but the security situation keeps worsening in the Eastern provinces […] This is the daily life of Congolese. We must answer their call. There is an urgency to act!
This prize will only have a meaning if you accompany us on the path to peace, justice, and democracy.
AIR joins the world in congratulating Dr. Mukwege for his persistent bravery and both technical and political leadership as a leading surgeon and as an advocate for women’s rights, peace, and for the respect of and holistic support for women survivors of sexual violence.
AIR itself was started out of a request for solidarity from Panzi Hopsital and remains active in collaborations with Panzi as a member of the AIR Steering Committee.
Viva Dr. Muwkege! Viva Panzi Hospital! Viva African integrated responses!