Press Release: Wide international support for reparations initiative of Nobel Peace Laureate Mukwege
Together with survivors, Mukwege Foundation presents global reparations scheme to address the consequences of rape as a weapon of war.
The Hague (28 November 2018) – Governments, the UN and survivor groups support a new initiative to recognise and compensate victims of wartime sexual violence. At a high-level symposium on 28 November in The Hague, survivors, together with Nobel Peace Laureate Dr Denis Mukwege, presented an international reparations scheme aimed at addressing the consequences of rape as a weapon of war.
The International Reparations Initiative will recognise individuals and groups as victims, and provide assistance. The scheme will consist of a fund which can award financial compensation to individuals and groups in order to address the long-term and complex consequences of large-scale sexual violence. A high-level international committee will oversee the fund and allocate resources to conflict-affected regions. Local committees will decide on the most suitable form of reparations and provide recognition by organising awarding ceremonies.
The goal of the Initiative is to complement existing justice mechanisms and address the specific needs of sexual violence survivors. At the symposium organised by the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation, several countries, including Norway and the United Kingdom, welcomed the creation of the International Reparations Initiative.
‘“Repairing” the wounds of sexual violence means more than treating medical injuries or offering psychological care. It includes an acknowledgement of the past. A confirmation that they have been victimised and are entitled to compensation’, said Dr Denis Mukwege, who will receive the Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December for his efforts to end the use of rape as a weapon of war. Together with his team, he has treated more than 50,000 victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
‘Recognition and compensation have the potential to change the way we think about sexual violence and its consequences – to reverse the shame, from the victims to the perpetrators, enable survivors to rebuild their lives, and help us draw a red line against the unacceptable,’ explained Esther Dingemans, director of the Mukwege Foundation.
The event, which was supported by the National Postcode Lottery, was enhanced by the presence of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, His Royal Highness Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme, and Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
The Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation is an international human rights organisation, dedicated to end wartime sexual violence worldwide. Together with its Special Adviser, the Congolese gynaecologist and activist Dr Denis Mukwege, the organisation works to ensure that the voices of survivors are heard, that they receive the care they need and are able to obtain reparations. The Mukwege Foundation has its main offices in The Hague and builds on the vision and experience of Dr Denis Mukwege, who received the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for his international activism against the use of rape as a weapon of war.
Media advisory (not for publication)
More information: https://www.mukwegefoundation.org/project/global-reparations-system/
Benjamin Duerr, Legal and Advocacy Officer