Congratulations, Dr. Denis Mukwege!

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Congratulations, Dr. Denis Mukwege!

  • The Congolese gynaecologist wins the 2014 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in recognition of his work in helping African rape victims.

Wednesday, 22nd October, 2014. The Women for Africa Foundation congratulates the Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, dubbed the “guardian angel of women raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, for being awarded the 2014 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

This eminent award, created in 1988, recognizes work in defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  In 2013, the award went to the Pakistani Malala Yousafzai, the girl who was brutally attacked a few years ago by the Taliban for defending the right of girls to education.

As explained by the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, “the presidents of the groups have unanimously decided to award the prize to a man who is at the forefront of the struggle to protect women in Africa”. The award will be presented in Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament, on 26th November.

The assistance given by Dr. Denis Mukwege to women and girls who have been subjected to female genital mutilation or are victims of sexual violence is thus recognized by a prestigious award that will help give visibility to the tragedy experienced by hundreds of thousands of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  

In 1998, Mukwege founded Panzi Hospital in his country to assist women who for almost 20 years have been suffering from sexual violence as a weapon of war. He often travels abroad to spread the word about the importance of working for women's rights. Two days a week he continues to assist and operate on patients in the DRC.

Throughout his career, Dr. Mukwege has received numerous prizes and awards, and in 2009 he was named African of the Year.

Interestingly, the fight against sexual violence in the Congo has also received very significant international recognition this year through the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, given to the journalist Caddy Adzuba. 

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