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Denis Mukwege won prestigious Sakharov human rights prize

Oct 22, 2014 13:52 IST

Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege Mukengere on 21 October 2014 won the prestigious Sakharov human rights prize 2014. He was awarded for his efforts in helping thousands of gang rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The pro-Western Ukraine democracy and rights group EuroMaidan which led the popular revolt against deposed president Viktor Yanukovych was declared as the runner-up.

The third candidate was prominent Azerbaijani rights activist Leyla Yunus who is currently detained on treason charges of spying for arch-enemy Armenia.

Background
Rival forces fighting for control of the vast mineral riches in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have used mass rape for decades to terrorise the local population into submission.

The 59-year-old gynaecologist had set up the Panzi hospital in eastern Congo in 1999 to treat women who have been subject to such horrific sexual violence.

In 2012, Mukwege survived an assassination attempt after speaking out about the continued use of rape in the conflict and accused the world of failing to act. However, he returned home to a warm welcome from thousands of people to say no to sexual violence.



Denis Mukwege Mukengere
•    Denis Mukwege Mukengere is the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
•    Mukwege is a tireless advocate for the rights of women in DRC. He has addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the matter and regularly travels abroad raising awareness of the situation in Eastern DRC.
•    He travelled to France to study gynecology at the University of Angers after seeing the complications of childbirth experienced by women in the Congo.
•    In 2011, Denis Mukwege won the Clinton Global Citizen Award and King Baudouin International Development Prize.

Sakharov human rights prize of European Parliament
•    The Sakharov Prize was named after the famous Russian scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. The award recognises his significant contributions to the promotion of human rights and democracy around the world.
•    He raised awareness of the dangers of the nuclear arms race for the welfare of the mankind. In 1975, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts.
•    The Sakharov Prize is intended to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression. The prize includes the monetary award of 50000 Euros.
•    Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai was the winner of the Sakharov Prize 2013 who also won Nobel Peace prize 2014.
•    Other past recipients of the prize include South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

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