The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament expressed their great satisfaction at the award of the 2014 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought to the Congolese gynaecologist Dr Denis Mukwege today in Strasbourg.
Gianni Pittella, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group, said:
“The award of the Sakharov Prize to Congolese gynaecologist Dr Denis Mukwege is a tribute that honours the whole of humanity. Dr Mukwege’s work defending the rights of women and girls, its consistency and its duration truly represent pure goodness; something which really shows the capacity for good of human beings.
“We firmly support this award as a step forward for our Group towards giving greater support and attention to the continent of Africa. This continent deserves our full attention, especially in this time of crisis – economic, political and even medical.
“Since 1999 Dr Denis Mukwege has treated more than 40,000 women who have been the victims of rape. Despite threats and attacks on his life he has become an eloquent advocate for the rights of women and for solutions to end the use of rape as a weapon of war – both in his native Democratic Republic of Congo and internationally. Dr Mukwege is a truly remarkable and inspiring man.”
S&D MEP Elena Valenciano Martínez-Orozco, the president of the Parliament’s subcommittee on human rights, added:
“Dr Mukwege’s speech made a huge impression on all of us. The EU must, as he has requested, support him and the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo on their path to peace, justice and democracy.
“He deserves this prize not only for his outstanding efforts on healing women physically but also – and most importantly – because of his work towards their psychological and social recovery, and for his continuous advocacy against the current total impunity in the use of rape as a weapon of war in so many places in the world.
“The EU must lead the efforts of the international community to eradicate this inhuman practice once and for all. We cannot remain idle when, in Dr Mukwege’s own words, the bodies of women are the battlefield of modern wars.”