Target: Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Goal: Draw attention to the dire situation of Congolese women by nominating Dr. Denis Mukwege for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Every five minutes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, four women are raped. Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist in the Congo, has seen the horrors of this conflict firsthand, having treated by his estimate over 40,000 rape victims. As a result of his exposure to the terrible violence in the Congo, Dr. Mukwege has become a forceful proponent of women’s rights and an outspoken critic of the lack of global response to a humanitarian crisis deemed “among the worst in the world.”
Dr. Mukwege, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, has devoted his life to treating victims of sexual violence in the Congo. He is the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital, and he has been recognized by a number of humanitarian organizations, receiving the U.N. Human Rights Prize in 2008, African of the Year in 2009, and the Clinton Global Citizen Award in 2011.
In September Dr. Mukwege spoke at the United Nations in New York City, where he sharply criticized the lack of response from the global community, and demanded a “unanimous condemnation of the rebel groups who are responsible for these acts [of violence].” Shortly after his return to the Congo, Dr. Mukwege was the victim of an attempt on his life, as gunmen stormed into his home, held his family hostage, and murdered his security guard. Dr. Mukwege managed to escape with his life, but his willingness to point fingers and name names in the Congolese conflict has made him a target for assassination.
Despite great risk to his health and even his life, Dr. Mukwege perseveres in treating victims of sexual assault and in working to raise awareness and secure assistance from the world community. “I think that it’s not a question for feminists or for doctors,” he says. “[I]t’s a question of life, humanity. And why, why this silence?”
Honor Dr. Mukwege’s bravery and determination and help draw more attention to his worthy cause: urge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to nominate Dr. Mukwege for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his important and lifesaving work.
Dear Madam Secretary,
For the past sixteen years, women in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been raped and brutalized as a result of military conflict. According to a 2011 study from the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, incidences of rape were 26 times more common than in 2010. The situation in the Congo has never been more dire, but in the midst of the violence, Dr. Denis Mukwege has taken a stand against rape and has worked tirelessly to garner support from the global community, two key points that make him infinitely worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Mukwege has been an outspoken and courageous proponent of women’s rights in the Congo for years. His work is wide-ranging and encompasses everything from treating individual patients to founding the world-renowned Panzi Hospital to speaking before the United Nations. He has been honored with the U.N. Human Rights Prize and the Clinton Global Citizen Award, and in 2009 he was named African of the Year.
Dr. Mukwege has devoted his life to healing and helping to protect the women of the Congo, even at great personal risk. In October, Dr. Mukwege’s home was invaded, his family held hostage, and his security guard murdered. Clearly there are many within the Democratic Republic of the Congo who wish to silence Dr. Mukwege, be we cannot allow his courageous work to be ignored. I urge you to honor this brave man’s mission and to help promote his cause: nominate Dr. Denis Mukwege for the Nobel Peace Prize.
[Your name here]
Photo credit: Radio Okapi via Flickr