Denis Mukwege

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Denis Mukwege
Denis Mukwege par Claude Truong-Ngoc novembre 2014.jpg
Denis Mukwege in November 2014.
Born Denis Mukengere Mukwege
(1955-03-01) 1 March 1955 (age 64)
Bukavu, South Kivu, Belgian Congo (now in Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Occupation Gynecologist

Denis Mukwege English pronunciation: /ˈdɛnɪs mᵿkˈwɡ/[1] (born 1 March 1955)[2][3] is a Congolese gynecologist. He founded and works in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specializes in the treatment of women who have been gang-raped by rebel forces. Mukwege has become the world's leading expert on how to repair the internal physical damage caused by gang rape.[4]

Mukwege has treated thousands of women who were victims of gang wartime rape since the Second Congo War, some of them more than once, performing up to 10 surgeries a day during his 18-hour working days. He has described how his patients arrive at the hospital sometimes naked, usually in horrific condition.[4] In 2014, Mukwege was awarded the European Union's Sakharov Prize and in 2013, he received his first of three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.[5] On May 28, 2015, Dr. Mukwege was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by Harvard University. [6]

Early life

Denis Mukwege was the third of nine children born to a Pentecostal minister and his wife. He studied medicine because he wanted to heal the sick people for whom his father prayed, working at first in a rural hospital, then traveling to France to study gynecology at the University of Angers, after seeing the complications of childbirth experienced by women in the Congo who had no access to specialist healthcare.[4]

United Nations speech

In September 2012, Mukwege gave a speech at the United Nations where he condemned impunity for mass rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,[7] and criticized the Congolese government and other countries "for not doing enough to stop what he called 'an unjust war that has used violence against women and rape as a strategy of war.'"[8]

Assassination attempt and return

Mukwege in his office in Panzi

On October 25, 2012, four armed men attacked his residence while he was not home, held his daughters hostage, and waited for his return to assassinate him. Upon his return, his guard intervened and was shot dead by the assassins. They missed Mukwege as he dropped to the ground during the shooting.[9] After the assassination attempt, Mukwege went into exile in Europe and the Panzi Hospital reported that his absence has had a “devastating effect” on its daily operations.[10]

He returned to Bukavu on January 14, 2013, where the population reserved him a warm welcome over the 20 miles from Kavumu Airport to the city, especially from his patients, who had raised funds to pay for his return ticket by selling pineapples and onions.[11]


Denis Mukwege with the Légion d'Honneur


  • (French) Colette Braeckman: L'homme qui répare les femmes. Violences sexuelles au Congo. Le combat du docteur Mukwege. Bruxelles, André Versaille, 2012. ISBN 978-2-87495-194-7


  1. English pronunciation of Denis Mukwege. Retrieved 29 October 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Denis Mukwege: winner of Sakharov Prize 2014". European Parliament/News. 2014-10-21. Retrieved 22 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Denis Mukwege, Laureate of the 2013 Prize for conflict prevention". Fondation Chirac. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 22 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Nolen, Stephanie. "Where repairing rape damage is an expertise," The Globe and Mail, October 22, 2008.
  5. "Nobel Peace Prize: Congo rape trauma surgeon among favorites". CNN. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Ten to receive honorary degrees".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Presentation to the United Nations 25/9/2012 by Dr. Denis Mukwege". Panzi Hospital. Retrieved 22 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Cowell, Alan; Gettleman, Jeffrey (22 October 2014). "Denis Mukwege, Congolese Gynecologist, Is Awarded Sakharov Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Nicholas Kristof (October 26, 2012). "An Attack on One of My Heroes, Dr. Denis Mukwege". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Congo-Kinshasa: A Red Armband for Dr Mukwege, Africa:, 2012, retrieved 16 November 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. ""Congolese gynaecologist wins EU Sakharov Prize"". Retrieved 23 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "United Nations Human Rights Prize 2008". 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2009-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 "DR Congo doctor is 'top African'". BBC News. 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2009-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "'Activists against rape and sexual violence in combat named honorary doctors". June 18, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "The King Baudouin International Development Prize, A Prestigious and Original Accolade". 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2011-05-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "The Clinton Global Citizen Award".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "'Dr. Denis Mukwege Honored for work as a physician and advocate for women survivors of wartime violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.'".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "'Dr. Denis Mukwege recognized for his tireless and courageous work on behalf of women victims of rape in war-torn DRC.'".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "'Alternative Nobel Prize' awarded for courageous work healing women victim of war-time sexual violence". Deutsche Welle. September 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Fête de l'université 2014 - Doctorats honoris causa". UCL - Université catholique de Louvain. 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2014-02-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "'Clinton presents Advancing Women in Peace and Security Awards'". February 26, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "'Le Prix Solidarité '". October 16, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "DR Congo doctor Denis Mukwege wins Sakharov prize". BBC News. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Médico distinguido por tratar mulheres violentadas no Congo". Notícias ao Minuto. 2015-07-17. Retrieved 17 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>