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  • Nobel Laureate Denis Mukwege visited Colombia to meet with sexual violence survivors.

    Nobel Laureate Denis Mukwege visited Colombia to meet with sexual violence survivors. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 August 2019

Mukwege left the country Saturday after meeting with survivors, members of Congress, ambassadors and former President Juan Manuel Santos. 

Colombian President Ivan Duque was slammed for refusing to meet with Nobel Laureate Denis Mukwege who visited the country to support the victims of sexual violence. 

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The physician from Congo won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”

He arrived in Colombia Wednesday and stayed for five days. However, Duque and  Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez declined to meet him and delegated the meeting to the presidential adviser for women’s equality, Gheydi Gallo.

“I was invited by the Colombian people and I am very happy and proud to be here and to be able to be with the women who are part of the network of women survivors,” Mukwege said while the Colombian opposition slammed the president. 

Mukwege left the country Saturday after meeting with survivors, members of Congress, ambassadors and former President Juan Manuel Santos. 

Duque’s refusal to meet Mukwege came at a time when tension between the government, Congress, and the international community over Colombia’s peace process is in an all-time high. 

Duque’s far-right Democratic Center party are opposed to the peace process.

Initiated during the administration of Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018), the Colombian peace process was called into question when the current right-wing president proposed modifications to the terms of the agreement reached with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which left the armed struggle and became a political party, the People's Alternative Revolutionary Force of Colombia (FARC).

According to the National Center for Historical Memory (CNMH), more than 15,000 people were victims of rape during the conflict period and more than 90 percent of surviving victims are women. Only 8 percent of the cases of sexual violence by the army saw justice. 

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