Héritiers de la Justice collaboration with 2018 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate Dr. Dénis Mukwege
Photo: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Dénis Mukwege congratulated by local civil society partners October 6, 2018 at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo including Neema Lubala, sixth from right, and Chantal Bilulu from KAIROS partner Héritiers de la Justice.
Photo credit: Panzi Hospital
“People have died and continue to die, women and girls have been raped and they continue to be, crimes and abuses of all kinds have been committed in our country: the victims and their relatives ruminate hatred because of what they have suffered. This is not good. All this must be exhumed, that there be time for reconciliation after which everyone would say what they had been hiding in their inner selves. We must not build peace, development on mass graves.” Dr. Dénis Mukwege, October 6, 2018 [English translation]
KAIROS joins human rights organizations, peace activists and women’s groups all over the world in congratulating Dr. Dénis Mukwege as a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 5th, 2018. The Nobel prize recognizes Dr Mukwege’s immense work in providing holistic assistance to women victims and survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) at Panzi Hospital and the associated Panzi Foundation he directs in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) province of South Kivu. This work is done in conjunction with civil society, including KAIROS partner Héritiers de la Justice.
The above photo shows Dr Mukwege in celebrating with civil society groups including staff of Héritiers de la Justice and they were quick to issue a communication congratulating him. Read the original French and English translation of the communication by Héritiers de la Justice.
Héritiers de la Justice, one of five partners in the KAIROS Women or Courage: Women, Peace and Security program supported by Global Affairs Canada has a partnership with Panzi Hospital. Women victims and survivors of gender-based violence confide in Héritiers de la Justice social workers and facilitators and are referred by Héritiers de la Justice to Panzi Hospital. As part of this work, Héritiers de la Justice operates a legal clinic to assist women victims and survivors of gender-based violence.
The first judgment in a case handled by the legal clinic of Héritiers de la Justice since the inception of the Global Affairs Canada-supported KAIROS Women of Courage: Women, Peace and Security program in April 2018 was just recently obtained regarding the rape of a young woman. In this case in which Héritiers de la Justice was closely involved, the judgement was made by the Uvira High Court where the perpetrator was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of one million francs Congolese (roughly just over Canadian $800). The forensic evidence of the victim’s health was provided by Panzi Hospital where she was admitted after the rape confirmed by the Sange Hospital. Héritiers de la Justice is covering all the legal costs of the case.
Staff from Héritiers de la Justice also frequently receive capacity-building sessions on psychosocial and legal support for gender-based violence survivors from Panzi Hospital and Foundation as a partner organization.
Thanks to the partnership between Héritiers de la Justice and Panzi Hospital of more than ten years, Dr. Mukwege, along with the Panzi Foundation and the American Bar Association, formed a consortium funded by the DRC Social Fund supported by the World Bank that is expanding legal clinics grappling with gender-based violence in the South Kivu province.
We join the world in celebrating Dr Mukwege. At this same time this Nobel Peace Prize recognizes the courageous work of civil society organizations who are addressing the crimes of gender-based and rape as a weapon of war, and who are accompanying the victims themselves as they reclaim their dignity, assert their rights and seek justice.