12 November 2012
International African Solidarity Festival Declaration on the women of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Panzi Hospital
The people of Africa and the rest of the world stand by the women of the DRC & Panzi Hospital
We, the undersigned participants and representatives of more than 350 organisations committed to peace activism and people to people solidarity from more 35 count
ries across the world.
Meeting at the Bosco Centre in Walkerville, South Africa during the period November 2 to 4, 2012, on the occasion of the International African Solidarity Festival organised by the ACTION Support Centre (ASC); collectively condemn in the strongest terms possible the recent unacceptable violent attack on Dr. Denis Mukwege, the founder and Director-General of the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, South Kivu Province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
We are outraged to learn that armed assailants forcibly entered Dr. Mukwege’s home and held his family at gunpoint.
We are deeply disturbed by the subsequent shooting and killing of Dr Mukwege’s security guard.
We therefore, convey our condolences to the security guard, Mr. Buhendwa, his family and colleagues on this brutal murder and senseless loss of life.
We commend Dr. Mukwege and all the staff at Panzi hospital, who have provided urgent and much needed medical care and treatment to more than 30 000 women and girls who are survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence in the in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We express our unwavering solidarity to the Panzi Hospital’s management and staff for their outstanding work and indeed for being exemplary models of human kindness. We commend their continued selfless service to their country’s most vulnerable women and girls in the face of various dangers and threats to their own lives.
We urgently call upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure the safety and security of Dr. Mukwege, his family and the Panzi community and to make every effort to identify the perpetrators of this attack and hold them accountable.
We further urge the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the international community to utilize all mechanisms available under regional and international humanitarian law and practice to find a lasting solution to the conflicts of the Great Lakes region and their horrific impacts on women and girls.
We will remain vigilant and keep a close watch on developments related to Dr Mukwege, all the staff at Panzi and all the patients who seek treatment at Panzi.
We will endeavor to deploy our collective means and skills to express our solidarity through a high level mission of African and international peace activists to Panzi hospital in the foreseeable future.