Human Rights First has selected Democratic Republic of Congo’s Dr. Denis Mukwege as the 2013 recipient of its Human Rights Award for his courageous work in treating survivors of rape and sexual violence and for his advocacy on behalf of survivors. Dr. Mukwege will receive the award in New York City on October 23, 2013.
Dr. Mukwege is the founder of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DRC and member of the Campaign’s Advisory Committee. The hospital has won international awards for its attention to women’s health issues and for its work to treat survivors of sexual violence from throughout the Great Lakes Region. The hospital is composed of four departments (obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, surgery, and internal medicine), and was the first medical centre to offer cervical cancer screening tests to women in Eastern DRC. It has treated over 30,000 survivors of sexual violence.
Dr. Mukwege has risked his life multiple times in order to continue providing treatment for rape survivors. On October 25, 2012, he survived an assassination attempt at his home, in which his trusted security guard was killed and his family members held up at gunpoint. The attack occurred a month after Dr. Mukwege spoke at the United Nations about the problem of sexual violence in conflict and in support of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. Following the assassination attempt, Dr. Mukwege and his family fled to Europe for a short time and later returned to the DRC.
The Campaign congratulates Dr. Mukwege on receiving this honour.