Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Issues > Rape in War

Dr. Mukwege, Panzi Hospital, and PHR’s Partnership

Dr. Mukwege

Dr. Denis Mukwege is a world-renowned gynecological surgeon who is the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He founded the hospital in 1999 as a clinic for gynecological and obstetric care, and expected to be working on issues of maternal health. Since 1999, however, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have helped to care for more than 30,000 survivors of sexual violence. The hospital not only treats survivors with physical wounds, but also provides legal, and psycho-social services to its patients. Even patients who cannot afford post-rape medical care are treated without charge at Panzi Hospital.

Dr. Mukwege has been fearless in his efforts to increase protections for women and to advocate that those responsible for sexual violence be brought to justice, including the Congolese government and militia groups laying siege to eastern DRC.

In October 2012, Dr. Mukwege was violently attacked and his family was held at gunpoint at his home in an assassination attempt. Joseph Bizimana, his trusted friend and security guard, was killed. The attack came several weeks after Dr. Mukwege denounced the country’s 16-year-long conflict and called for those responsible to be brought to justice during a speech at the United Nations. After this attack, Dr. Mukwege and his family fled the country for his safety, but his many Congolese patients and colleagues urged him to resume his life-saving work at Panzi Hospital. He returned to the hospital in January 2013 and was celebrated by crowds of people ecstatic to have him home. During this difficult period, PHR worked in close coordination with Dr. Mukwege and colleagues at risk in DRC to mobilize a global campaign to advocate for and protect individuals working on the front lines helping survivors of mass atrocities and prosecuting perpetrators of these mass crimes.

For nearly a decade, Dr. Mukwege has been PHR’s close colleague. More recently, we have been partnering with Dr. Mukwege and his staff at Panzi Hospital, where the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones has a local office. Our partnership works to help strengthen the capacity of local doctors, nurses, police, lawyers, and judges to improve evidence of sexual violence in order to support prosecutions of these crimes. Together with Panzi clinicians, we have been training and mentoring doctors and nurses at Panzi Hospital as well as at other clinics in South Kivu to more effectively document and preserve court-admissible evidence and to improve medical care and treatment for survivors. Dr. Mukwege’s leadership and willingness to pilot these trainings and documentation techniques at Panzi Hospital have been invaluable for developing this initiative in eastern DRC. PHR’s deep partnership with Dr. Mukwege and his staff at Panzi Hospital has been instrumental to the success of the emerging local networks of collaboration among the health and legal communities to fight to end impunity for sexual violence and to support meaningful access to justice for survivors of these crimes.

Dr. Mukwege is also on the advisory committee for the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. He has been the recipient of numerous awards worldwide for his advocacy against sexual violence as a weapon of war and for his outstanding services to survivors of rape. PHR honored Dr. Mukwege at its gala in New York in April 2015. Mukwege was also the laureate of the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2014.

Read More About Dr. Mukwege and Panzi Hospital


Photos: Dr. Mukwege and Panzi Hospital
Photos: Dr. Mukwege Honored at PHR Gala
Video: A Message from Dr. Mukwege

Panzi Hospital

Outcry from Doctor Mukwege on the increase of rape against children in South Kivu
Presentation to the United Nations 25/9/2012 by Dr. Denis Mukwege
Panzi Hospital’s Fistula campaign discovers large number of women in need of treatment
Amejibu took her skills from Panzi back to her village

Blog Posts/Op-eds

Changing the Narrative on Sexual Violence in the DRC
Recognizing Dr. Denis Mukwege and His Inspirational Fight against Sexual Violence
Why You Should Join This International Campaign
A Congolese Hero is Welcome Home
Congo Needs Our Help
Standing in Solidarity with Medical Colleagues and the People of South Kivu
Standing With Our Courageous and Visionary Colleagues in the DRC
International Campaign to Stop Rape in Conflict Holds DRC Launch
Bending the Arc of the Moral Universe toward Justice: Prosecuting Mass Rape in the DRC

PHR Press Releases

Dr. Mukwege’s Return to DRC Offers Opportunity to Support Courageous Champion of Human Rights
Dr. Mukwege’s Planned Return to DRC Shows Extraordinary Courage and Commitment
PHR Urges DRC Government to Protect Hospital Director after Violent Attack

PHR Statements

Banning of Film in DRC Represents Attempt to Silence Survivors of Sexual Violence
PHR Endorses Statement of International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict on the Attack Against Dr. Denis Mukwege

Attack on Dr. Mukwege and His Return Home

Doctor Returns to Congo and Is Hailed as a Hero
Renowned Congolese Doctor Hopes to Return Home
Dr. Mukwege Fights Back
The Misogyny Behind an Attempted Assassination of a Man in Congo
UN Chief Condemns Attack on Home of Renowned Sexual Violence Doctor in Eastern DR Congo
An Attack on One of My Heroes, Dr. Denis Mukwege