The delegation of S&D MEPs led by Gianni Pittella, president of the S&D Group and accompanied by four other MEPs: Linda McAvan, chair of the European Parliament’s international development committee, Marie Arena, spokesperson on conflict minerals, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, vice-president of the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly (Africa – Caribbean – Pacific) and Elena Valenciano, chair of the subcommittee on human rights, are today, continuing their mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a visit to the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu. This is the hospital where Dr Denis Mukwege, winner of the 2014 Sakharov Prize, continues to treat women and girls that have been the victims of rape.
On the occasion of this visit, Gianni Pittella stated:
"The Panzi Hospital is an absolute good – a demonstration of humanity’s redemption in the face of the darkness of violence and evil. And Dr Mukwege is an angel on Earth who bestows honour upon the entire human race.
"We have a moral obligation – even more than just our political obligation – to break the wall of silence and indifference and to fight the voracity of the blind interests that finance and promote war, violence and death.
"Without dignity, there is no justice. Where poverty and injustice exist, violence prevails.
"The European Union and the international community cannot idly stand by as the sexual abuse of women, young girls and children is regularly used as an instrument of war and social destruction.
"Justice, rights, freedom – these aren’t just pretty words, they are actions that we, as a political group, will turn into a reality. We have a moral duty to support in every possible way the courage and determination of the Congolese women, and of Dr Mukwege. And we will do so, firstly, by waging a battle to make the traceability of minerals obligatory in Europe. Minerals should represent a blessing for the Republic of the Congo, but they have become a curse for the country, and the primary fuel of war. For your dignity, as well as ours, I say: we cannot – and will not – be complicit in this crime."
The chair of the sub-committee on human rights and  Spanish S&D MEP  Elena Valenciano added:
"The EU must help the Congolese government to improve the certification procedure for their mining sector, which remains underdeveloped, and in so doing stop the exploitation of the workers in these mines.
"We call on the Congolese authorities, with the support of the international community to make the fight against sexual violence a national priority and to make sure that the perpetrators of these crimes face justice."

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MEPs Involved

Foreign policy, Development and Trade
KYENGE Cécile Kashetu

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