Physicians for Human Rights, a founding Advisory Committee member of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict, strongly endorses the following statement the Campaign released today following the violent attack last week on our esteemed colleague Dr. Denis Mukwege in Bukavu, DRC:
We of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict stand with the women and men who are protesting today by organizing a ville morte (“dead city,” or general shutdown) in Bukavu. Last week, we were shocked to learn about the apparent assassination attempt on world-renowned surgeon, anti-rape activist, and our esteemed colleague, Dr. Denis Mukwege.
We support the women and men of Eastern Congo and join their call for an immediate and full investigation into this brutal armed attack that resulted in the death of the doctor’s long-time trusted guard, Joseph Bizimana.
The Campaign stands with the brave women and men of Eastern Congo struggling to survive increasing insecurity and escalating levels of violence that most of us cannot begin to imagine. The attack against Dr. Mukwege is another brazen display of the violence that persists in an atmosphere of impunity in Eastern Congo. Just last month, Dr. Mukwege issued a resounding call at the United Nations for an end to the violence and for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of war crimes in the region.
We, Dr. Mukwege’s friends and colleagues in the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, support that call. We, too, want to see the results of a full and immediate investigation of the attempt on Dr. Mukwege’s life and the murder of Joseph Bizimana — and persecution of other human rights defenders who also endure this terror.
We stand with the women and men in Bukavu in their appeals for security and justice. We join their calls on the Government of Congo to act urgently and address increased insecurity in Eastern Congo.
As Dr. Mukwege stated so clearly at the United Nations last month, “it is the courage of the women victims of sexual violence that will in the end overcome this evil.” Today we stand with them and their brave healer Dr. Mukwege.
>> Lire la déclaration en français (pdf)
See also this blog post from Susannah Sirkin, PHR’s representative on the Advisory Committee and Deputy Director of PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones.