Dr. Denis Mukwege was honored with an award at the second edition of the Albies on Thursday, September 28, a distinction initiated by the Clooney Foundation for Justice to acknowledge the efforts of outstanding human rights defenders around the world.
At the Albies gala, held at the New York Public Library, Dr. Denis Mukwege was awarded a “Lifetime Achievement Award”, in recognition of his dedication to the fight against sexual violence in conflict and his work with survivors in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Together, let’s be part of the solution,” declared Dr. Mukwege on this occasion. “Let’s put an end to the Congolese tragedy and build, through justice, a path to lasting peace in the heart of Africa.”
In his speech, he recalled the tragic history of the Congo and the struggle of the survivors for a fairer future :
Ladies and gentlemen and honored guests,
I accept the Clooney Foundation for Justice Lifetime Achievement Award not just for myself, but on behalf of the countless survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In awarding us this prize, you stand in solidarity with victims and survivors, and you add your voices to those who believe that when society has failed to protect the most vulnerable, it is our collective duty to provide care and accompany them on the path to justice.
Many may not know the link between the violence suffered by Congolese people and the looting of strategic “blood minerals” to advance the so-called “green transition.”
Neighboring regimes profit off the illegal exploitation of these resources and commit some of the most serious crimes to do so, including rape used as a weapon of war, resulting in the worst humanitarian crisis and the deadliest conflict since the Second World War.
For the past 24 years, the doctors and staff at Panzi Hospital and Foundation have treated more than 80,000 survivors — the youngest rape survivor was only six months old.
When we talk about sexual violence in this context, it intends to destroy the fabric of society. It instills fear, shatters communities, and perpetuates a cycle of poverty and despair. It is a weapon of war, one that is silent but immensely destructive.
However, the cry for peace and justice is loud and persistent. It is the greatest aspiration of survivors. What they need is not our pity but our solidarity — and our action to break this vicious circle of violence and impunity.
This evening, we are also grateful for the platform the Clooney Foundation for Justice has given us. This will help us to galvanize political will to defeat impunity.
The time has come for the establishment of a Nuremberg-like Tribunal for Congo. We must put an end to double standards that lead to a lack of credibility in international institutions and multilateralism. All victims, including the Congolese people, are entitled to justice, truth, reparations, and peace!
Together, let us be part of the solution. Let us put an end to the Congolese tragedy and build a path to lasting peace through justice in the heart of Africa.
Dr. Denis Mukwege, Remarks at the occasion of the Clooney Foundation For Justice Albie Awards – September 28, 2023 – NYC