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Human Rights First Award Dinner

October 22, 2014 - 2:00pm

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Elisa Massimino's Remarks

2013 Human Rights Award

“It is an honor for me to serve these courageous women who resist despite all they’ve suffered.”

Dr. Denis Mukwege

Dr. Denis Mukwege is a gynecologist and activist in the Democratic Republic of Congo (the DRC), a place the United Nations has called “the rape capital of the world.” A leading expert in a grim specialty, Dr. Mukwege has devoted the last 15 years to healing women who have been traumatized by rape and calling for those who commit this horrific crime to be brought to justice.

Last September, Dr. Mukwege gave a speech at the United Nations condemning impunity for rape in his country, openly criticizing the international community and the Congolese government for their inaction. On October 25, 2012, Dr. Mukwege survived an assassination attempt during which his bodyguard was killed. Dr. Mukwege and his family were forced to flee the country. Despite continued threats, Dr. Mukwege decided to return to the DRC in January. Congolese women lined the 20-mile stretch from the airport to Bukavu to welcome him home.

Dr. Mukwege has resumed his essential work at Panzi Hospital, which he founded and where he and his colleagues provide thousands of survivors of rape with psychological, medical, socio-economic, and legal support. Despite ongoing personal risk, Dr. Mukwege continues to speak out.

Sidney Lumet Award for Integrity in Entertainment

42—The Jackie Robinson Story

American popular culture has the potential to move and educate millions of people. The Sidney Lumet Award for Integrity in Entertainment honors works of culture that raise awareness about human rights and advance popular understanding of the most pressing political and social issues of our time.

The 2013 Lumet Award is being given to the motion picture 42–The Jackie Robinson Story for its portrayal of the personal courage required of individuals to face down violent prejudice. The film evokes the dangers faced by human rights activists all over the world—ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances who stand up to injustice at great personal risk.

Named for the acclaimed director, this award honors those who use the power of popular culture not just to entertain, but to inform, advocate, and inspire. 42 was produced by Legendary Pictures. The award will be accepted by Academy Award–winning writer and director Brian Helgeland.