Dr. Denis Mukwege, Gynecologist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was interviewed by the Seikyo Shimbun as part of its monthly Culture of Peace series.
In 1999, Dr. Mukwege established the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu-city, Eastern DRC, where he has treated over 50,000 women who were victims of sexual violence since the Second Congo War. He has brought the world’s attention to the need to put an end to the rampant sexual violence taking place in the Eastern DRC and the importance of elevating the status of women.
Dr. Mukwege points to the failure to hold the perpetrators of violence in the Congo accountable as one of the reasons for the persistence of that violence. In the interview, he discusses the history of conflicts and violence in the DRC, the use of rape as a weapon of war and strategy of terror, and the need to offer holistic care when supporting the survivors of sexual violence. He states, “I strongly believe we must support those women who have gone through the worst of life experiences because we can learn a lot from them in return. Their courage and strong will to recover and enjoy life again give us the inspiration and determination to pursue our humanitarian mission and to fight for justice, human rights and peace.”
The full text of the interview can be downloaded as a PDF file. The Culture of Peace series was launched in 2019 to mark the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (UN General Assembly Resolution A/53/243). The interview was first published in the Seikyo Shimbun, a daily newspaper of the Soka Gakkai in Japan, on 22 December 2020.