2013 Civil Courage Prize Honoree
Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Physician and advocate for women survivors of wartime violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Dr. Denis Mukwege is internationally-known for his heroic work to treat survivors of rape in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to publicly denounce sexual violence as a weapon of war.
Dr. Mukwege founded Panzi Hospital in Bukavu in 1998, originally as a clinic for gynecological and obstetric care. Since its inception, however, Dr. Mukwege and his colleagues have treated about 40,000 women and girls victimized in brutal sexual attacks, often at the hands of soldiers and armed rebels. In addition to medical care, the center provides legal, social and psychological services.
In September 2012 Dr. Mukwege spoke publicly at the United Nations in New York of the need to prosecute the crime of mass rape and rape as a tool of war and terror. In October 2012, he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt at his home in Bukavu, which resulted in the shooting death of his bodyguard. Dr. Mukwege and his family were forced to flee to Europe. In January 2013, he returned to the DRC to continue his work.
Dr. Mukwege lives and works at Panzi Hospital, seeing twenty patients per day and performing surgery two days a week. The hospital employs 398 and has an annual budget of US $3.2 million. Patients who cannot afford care are treated without charge. In September, Dr. Mukwege was awarded the prestigious Right Livelihood Award for healing women survivors of sexual violence and speaking up about its root causes.
An award ceremony was held in New York on October 15, 2013.
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