The United Nation’s Chief Michelle Bachelet called on the Democratic Republic of Congo to swiftly investigate death threats against Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege and bring those responsible to justice.
Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his work against sexual violence in war, said in late July that he and his relatives had been the targets of death threats.
The threats were made after he tweeted out a message condemning the massacre of 18 people in South Kivu, the strife-torn province in eastern DR Congo where he has a clinic.
Bachelet said in a statement that, “Mukwenge’s life seems to be at serious risk”, calling for an impartial probe into the threats against him.
Last week President Felix Tshisekedi pledged that the interior, security and justice ministers among others would “take all measures necessary to ensure Dr. Mukwege’s security” and “open investigations,” his cabinet said.
The president’s comments were welcomed by Bachelet as she hopes that authorities would provide Mukwege and his team enough protection to allow them to continue their “indispensable work.”
Bachelet’s office noted that he had received death threats in the past and survived an assassination attempt in October 2012.
“It is essential those responsible are brought to justice and that the truth is known,” Bachelet said.
This was important, she said, “both as a means to protect Dr. Mukwege’s life, but also as a deterrent to others who attack, threaten or intimidate medical workers and human rights defenders who, like him, work for the benefit of the Congolese people, often in exceptionally difficult circumstances.”