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Violent Attack on Dr. Mukwege, Congolese Surgeon and Champion for Survivors of Sexual Violence

Photo courtesty of the Nobel Women's Initiative

We are saddened to learn of the recent attack and attempted assassination of Dr. Denis Mukwege, world renowned surgeon and director of Panzi Hospital in Eastern Congo's South Kivu Province. Dr. Mukwege is a champion for women survivors of sexual violence and has treated over 30,000 women in a region where rape is systematically used as a weapon of war.

Physicians for Human Rights reported that yesterday four armed men entered Dr. Mukwege's home in his absence and held several family members at gunpoint. Upon his arrival they forced him out of his car, shooting and killing a security guard who tried to intervene. Dr. Mukwege ducked when the armed men fired shots towards him, before driving off in his car, which was found abandoned soon after.

World Pulse serves with Dr. Mukwege on the Advisory Council of the Nobel Women's Initiative's International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, which launched earlier this year to coordinate action to highlight the widespread rates of gender violence around the world.

Together with the Campaign Advisory Council, World Pulse sends our condolences to the family of the guard killed in the attack. We fear for the safety and well being of Dr. Denis Mukwege and his family. Moreover, we are alarmed that the attempt on his life has a possible link to activities that Dr. Mukwege undertook in support of the advocacy for the campaign in September at the United Nations, spotlighting the increasing rape and gender violence in Eastern Congo.

At an event co-hosted by the campaign and attended by government and UN officials, Dr. Mukwege stated, "This year I am once again operating on women whose genitals were destroyed by rape and other atrocities. There are many women who are barely getting by and rape is continuing. The rainy season is coming soon in North Kivu and the vulnerability of women is increasing." He ended by calling for "urgent action to arrest those responsible for these crimes against humanity and to bring them to justice."

Susannah Sirkin, Deputy Director at Physicians for Human Rights, said, "Thousands of Congolese women and girls put at risk following incidents of sexual violence have depended on Dr. Mukwege for their lives and well-being." Physicians for Human Rights has recently conducted a training workshop at Panzi Hospital, where it has an office. Sirkin stated, "Dr. Mukwege has served the Congolese people with passion, expertise, and extraordinary dedication. Dr. Mukwege's safety must be of the utmost priority to the Congolese government."

World Pulse had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Mukwege this September during the Advisory Council meetings and World Pulse LIVE tour, and shared with him the vocal leadership of grassroots women in Eastern Congo emerging through the World Pulse platform—women who are speaking out and providing solutions through our Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign. He offered his strong support for promoting these women's voices. He also praised the efforts to connect disparate groups across the region to cultivate unified messages and collective leadership as a key component in establishing peace in the region. He said, "We need to start moving towards supporting the grassroots organizations, because they have amazing capability and because they have solutions. We must create a critical mass that starts a change from the grassroots up."

World Pulse stands with the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict in calling on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to take immediate steps to protect Dr. Mukwege and his family, and on the international community to speak out in solidarity of our extraordinary ally.

See press release from the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict >>

Comments

Hummingbird's picture

This is outragous

Condolences to the family of the security guard who lost his life. I had the honor to attend Dr. Mukwege's speech in New York and he was so powerful and caring for the sufferings of women in Congo. I am very very angry. This man devoted his life to treat and spread the word about rape victims in Congo and he must be protected. All support and prays for Dr. Mukwege and his family. Kudos for all those who work for justice.

Neema my dear friend from Congo you have all my support.

Courage.

A drop of rain can revive the earth, be the drop.

Hummingbird

Neema's picture

This is outragous

My sister, no words. Everyday in East Congo we have to face new atrocities against our gender. The assassination attempt on Dr. Mukwege's life is the culmination of all the violence against women in Congo.

We are thankful for Dr. Mukwege and his family's safety, but all the women survivors are still here waiting for him to come back. We have no voice to ask for him to come back. Dr. Mukwege is our hero. No one else fights for us. Dr. Mukwege fights for us with all his heart and his energy. He fights for us in the operating room, and he fights for us at the United Nations in New York City. There is no one to replace him. We have only one.

The world does not hear our cries. But we will continue to wait for him until he returns. We need him back. We need East Congo to be safe so we can have our doctor back. We love you Dr. Mukwege, and we wait for you to come home to us.

Thank you for your sympathies, prayers, and encouragement.

Neema

Hummingbird's picture

Video about Congo

Dear Neema, I was watching videos for a journalist called Rageh Omaar who writes and reports about Africa especially Somalia, and I found this video about Congo: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xqv9xa_witness-preview-fighting-the-sil...

Take care

A drop of rain can revive the earth, be the drop.

Hummingbird

Wendyiscalm's picture

Condolences

Condolences and prayers to the family of the security guard and my prayers to Dr. Mukwege and his family, as these saints give examples of what it means to open their souls and spirits and to give their sincere and full energy to a cause greater than themselves.

It is not over. This is the beginning of crucial change through these heroes because as that great American, Martin Luther King, Jr. said during the civil rights movement "We shall overcome". And we have.

Ubuntu,

Wendy Stebbins

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Huma's picture

My condolences

I support Dr. Mukwege and his dedication to this very important cause. I am full of nothing but respect for the security guard who gave up his life for the safety of Dr. Mukwege and therefore this cause.

All through the World Pulse live tour, we talked of this man. The man who stood up for women - raped, abused and even mutilated in Congo. I even had the privilege to hear him at a discussion forum organized by the Nobel Women's Initiative in New York. He was speaking passionately about ending the unspeakable horror. And now i am reading this - of him being targeted, shot and victimized of the same violence.

But I can say one thing: those who shot Dr Mukwege, only shot themselves in the leg. Because, violence in Congo is already under the scanner of the world's human rights activists. And governments. And even common people. There is already a campaign to end the violence. Those who perpetrate this violence can't get away so easily. And they certainly can't stop either Dr Mukwege's work or him or his thoughts. Because, democracy and justice always win.

Prayer for the good doctor and his family!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Neema's picture

Well they only shot themselves in the leg

Yes, we were together dear Stella to hear Dr. Mukwege speak in NYC. He captured all of our thoughts, our hearts, and our dreams for women in Congo, and around the world.

He never speaks of himself; he speaks only about the women of Congo who have suffered such horrible atrocities, as both Congo's hope, and Congo's future.

He is our Hero. He is our Voice. He is not only medicine for our bodies, but medicine for our hearts. Because he believes in us, we believe in ourselves.

You are number 1 on Twitter and Facebook Stella. Tell the world we want Dr. Mukwege back, in a peaceful Congo. He is our son, our brother, our best friend.

I love you Stella,

Neema

amiesissoho's picture

This is horrible news. I had

This is horrible news. I had the privilege to meet Dr. Mukwege in Nairobi as Africa launched the One Billion Rising against GBV. He is an extraordinary man who gives hope and courage to women who are survivors of rape and other forms of violence in the Congo in particular. We shall not give up, as defenders of human rights you have to know that these are the high risks we subject ourselves to.

Keep courage.

Amie

Neema's picture

This is horrible news

You are right my sister. This is horrible news. Mukwege is our voice; that's why they tried to kill him. We shall not give up. We demand a peaceful Congo where our dearest brother and his family can come home. We cannot imagine going on without him. No one else cares for us. He is our angel. He is our confidence that one day, we as Congo's daughters, sisters and mothers, will be able live in the dignity of such a noble heritage.

Thank you sister,

Neema

Sharontina's picture

God Bless him !

May God bless this great warrior.

Condolences and prayers to the family of the security guard. The family of Dr.Mukwege should be proud of having him, such a great warrior fighting for a noble cause. Now the voice has become even more stronger and powerful after this attack that the world will turn its attention towards Congo. Justice wins always.

We wish him and his family good health and life to come across this hardships and let thousands of women of Congo taste their rights and peace.

Wishes.

Merlin Sharontina

it is very saddening, it is shocking, it is outrageous...........

Dr. Mukwege, and the security guard who suffered and lost life while fighting for a noble cause....I honour you.

My heartfelt sympathies to the family of the security guard who died during the attack. may his family be comforted by our good lord.

In particular i want to honor Dr. Mukwege for being a shoulder that our DRC sisters and mothers who had been raped, abused and even mutilated in Congo leaned on.

You gave them hope Dr.,

you comforted them remember,

you also supported them when traumatized,

and you stood up for them......to defend them when no one seemed to care.

The world now knows......that people doing what is right are the ones threatened and sometimes killed...world leaders should now come in and end the GBV in Congo, end the fights, have a paradigm shift where peace will be felt and celebrated; where security will be ensured for all people particularity for the women.

My prayers for the families affected by this attack;Security guard's( Joseph Bizimana--may his soul rest in peace)- wife and young children., Dr.Mukwege's and all the women of DRC who depended on the services of our dear Dr. Quick healing to Dr. Mukwege.

DRC leadership......see the tears of the women, hear the voices of the defenders of those who suffer violence in DRC..do something to end all these.it is time you did something...this is the time..it is now!!!!!!

in solidarity with my DRC sisters.

Shallom

EK Chemorion

Sanjay Dixit's picture

Condolences

From India I send condolences upon the tragic death of Joseph Bizimana, security guard to Dr. Mukwege. Also condemn the attack on Dr. Mukwege and Joseph Bizimana. The perpetrators of this crime should be brought to justice.
Sanjay Dixit,
Mumbai,India

sanjay r. dixit

Greengirl's picture

Such Evil Act!

Both the electronic and print media in Nigeria also reeled out several reports about the tragic attempt on Dr. Mukwege's life. He is no doubt a hero, and he has captured the hearts of women beyond the boundaries of East Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For defending our hero, his guard is no less our hero too. I say rest in peace Joseph Bizimana, you meant well and did great till the point of death!

For the perpetrators, I believe they know better now that they have only awakened the whole world to the reality of the existence of such a rare, selfless and passionate women's rights defender "DR. MUKWEGE". A truly born and bred global citizen and voice of innumerable voiceless and invisible women!

Now the whole world is watching, and very much so stands in solidarity and prayers with our sisters in the DRC to call for the protection of Dr. Mukwege, his family and associates.

I sincerely pray that Dr. Mukwege's good works will continue to shield him from the evil intentions of ALL those who are blind to the noble and worthy cause he has long stood and staked his ALL for.

In solidarity,

Olanike

Wendyiscalm's picture

Amnesty International

Has anyone gone on Amnesty International to find out how they can DIRECTLY and ACTIVELY make this a cause to remedy the cause and save his life.

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Sanjay Dixit's picture

Letter sent to Amnesty International

Hi Wendy,

I have sent mail to Amnesty international to bring to justice to the perpetrators of this crime of attempt to murder Dr. Denis Mukwege and the murder of Joseph Bizimana, his security guard.

Best regards,

Sanjay Dixit
Mumbai,
India.

sanjay r. dixit

Wendyiscalm's picture

THAT IS GREAT

sANJAY,

yOU ARE THE BEST. iuT IS A POSITIVE ACTION THAT HOPEFULLY WILL GET THE BALL ROLLING

Thank you. I respect you for this.

WIll be hboping they take action.

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Sanjay Dixit's picture

Amnesty's Action

Hi Wendy,

I received the acknowledgement of receipt of my mail to Amnesty. I sincerely hope they initiate and take appropriate action. But honestly, I can only hope. I don't have any contacts or connections in Amnesty who I can ask whether some positive action has been or can be initiated and taken. About Amnesty I feel somewhat pessimistic because they appear to be lethargic and stall or fizzle out actions and indulge in a lot of procrastination.

Best Regards,
Sanjay Dixit

sanjay r. dixit

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