Gynaecologist who helps rape victims wins top EU human rights award

Strasbourg : Doctor Denis Mukwege won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize for his work in helping thousands of gang rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo.      Parliament president Martin Schulz announced the award for Mukwege, who has previously been tipped several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, for his work in treating the appalling injuries inflicted on the victims.

 Parties in Parliament “decided unanimously to award Dr Denis Mukwege the Sakharov Prize for his fight… for women,” Schulz said. Schulz named the pro-Western Ukraine democracy and rights group EuroMaidan, which led the popular revolt against deposed president Viktor Yanukovych, as runner-up and invited its leading lights to the awards ceremony in November.

Rival forces fighting for control of the vast mineral riches in eastern DR Congo have used mass rape for decades to terrorise the local population into submission. Mukwege, 59, trained as a gynaecologist, going on to found the General Referral Hospital of Panzi near Bukavu in South Kivu province which has seen some of the worst violence.

Mukwege survived an assassination attempt two years ago after speaking out about the continued use of rape in the conflict.

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