(CNN)The UN has redeployed troops to guard Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege after he received death threats for demanding justice for serious crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the agency said.
The gynecologist’s career has spanned more than 20 years, during which time he has treated tens of thousands of rape victims. He was a joint winner of the Nobel peace prize in 2018 alongside Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. Death threats The UN said the recent threats against Dr. Mukwege via social media and in direct phone calls to him and his family “followed his condemnation of the continued killing of civilians in eastern DRC and his renewed calls for accountability for human rights violations and abuses.” Read MoreHis family and colleagues at Panzi hospital, where he works, have also been targeted. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also recently warned Mukwege is “at serious risk.””We welcome the redeployment of elements from #MONUSCO to #Panzi this morning to ensure the safety of our patients and staff,” Mukwege said in a tweet. “Thank you to the #UN for ensuring our protection.”
— Denis Mukwege (@DenisMukwege) September 9, 2020 Mukwege has received deaths threats in the past and survived a major assassination attempt in October 2012 when armed men entered his home, firing shots and killing his bodyguard.The attempt came several weeks after a speech at the United Nations where he denounced the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 16-year-long conflict and called for justice.Mukwege has often asked for the implementation of recommendations of a 2010 UN investigation which described more than 600 alleged violent incidents occurring in the country between 1993 and 2003. Nobel Peace Prize winners prove survivor stories matterThis 550-page report titled, ‘DRC: Mapping human rights violations 1993-2003,’ points specifically to the role of Rwandan troops and proxies in crimes committed between the two Congo wars, which killed millions. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, denied these accusations in a televised national interview on Sunday and described the report as “nonsense.””People are starting their narrative at the time of their choosing. They choose to pick a point in time and start from there… the very long history of either Rwanda or DRC. People talk about mapping report, I don’t know what that nonsense is about.”The New Times, a Rwandan newspaper described by Human Rights Watch (HRW) as state-owned, published a story in August claiming the UN report was “a botched work.”A new wave of attacksSince July, Mukwege has denounced a new wave of attacks in South Kivu and Ituri provinces by foreign troops and rebels. Criminal gangs have brutally raped scores of women and girls in parts of the DRC over the past three years, according to HRW, which Mukwege also retweeted. “The hospital where Dr. Mukwege works must also be protected,” said Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for East Africa in a statement on September 4. “As well as hundreds of doctors, nurses and support staff who are worried for their safety, the hospital contains thousands of medical files belonging to survivors of rape, for whom Dr. Mukwege has been a longtime advocate.”