Make Music Matter’s CEO Darcy Ataman is interviewed by CBC’s Ismaila Alfa on how Make Music Matter is making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

 

Listen to Make Music Matter CEO Darcy Ataman explain how music can make a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable.

Denis Mukwege

STATEMENT FROM DR. DENIS MUKWEGE ON ASSET SEIZURE

What follows is a statement from Dr. Denis Mukwege, Founder of the Panzi Hospital and Foundations, in his capacity as the Medical Director. The statement was read by Dr. Mukwege during a press conference at the hospital. The original French language statement is also available below.

On December 31, 2014, the staff of Reference Panzi General Hospital went on strike and took the initiative to organize a peaceful demonstration outside the building of the Directorate General of Taxes (DGI) to denounce the following:

1. The discrimination against the Hospital.

Panzi Hospital is a medical facility integrated within the health system of the Democratic Republic of Congo and holds status as a General Reference Hospital. Its employees are therefore agents of the State and, like other personnel of general reference hospitals in the DRC, income taxes on their base salaries are withheld at the source by the Finance Ministry.

Among nearly 500 General Reference Hospitals in the DRC, Panzi Hospital is the only one that has been subjected to a special income tax, a levy on the premium income they receive from the hospital. The employees complain that their hospital is the victim of a blatant discrimination by the DGI and call for tax fairness.

2. Violation of Human Rights

The Management of Panzi General Hospital of Reference is extremely concerned about this situation which leads to various violations of human rights: the right to health for the patients, including the right to life for those in need of medicines and other healthcare supplies; but also violation of the right of its employees to receive payment for their work, given that the funds seized were intended to pay the wages of employees and purchase medicine.

3. Dysfunction of the judiciary system.

The Panzi General Reference Hospital has filed a lawsuit at the Bukavu Court of Appeals against the DGI, the DRC, and the BCDC (Commercial Bank of Congo), ongoing since November 4, 2014, in connection with the abovementioned violations. The case, originally scheduled for November 18, 2014, was repeatedly postponed due first to a strike of judges, and then the death of a judge on the eve of the hearing date. The hearing has been postponed indefinitely since then.

Despite the lack of judicial decision on these matters, the DGI took action and seized Panzi General Reference Hospital’s account. With the complicity of the BCDC Bank, the DGI transferred Panzi funds to its account. This was in violation of section 127 of the Congolese Code of Civil Procedure which lists items that are not subject to seizure, including wages.

4. Irregular tax procedures.

Tax procedures have been violated by the DGI:

– In less than ten days, the DGI initiated an official tax order and two demands for payment and collection without the six month deadline provided by law;

– The DGI has not given Panzi General Reference Hospital an opportunity to contest and mount an administrative appeal.

There is an extreme urgency to act in the interest of the patients, towards whom we have the responsibility to provide the best health care services, and the Panzi staff, who are unable to receive their wages.

The Panzi Hospital Management contacted various authorities about this matter but received no satisfactory response up to this day. It remains open for all constructive dialogue with them in order to resolve this crisis.

The Panzi staff aspires towards justice in recognition of the procedural flaws that make this taxation discriminatory, and still hopes to ensure the proper operation and continuity of services provided by our public health facility.

Denis Mukwege

Medical Director.

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En date du 31 décembre 2014, le personnel de l’Hôpital Général de Référence de Panzi est entré en grève et a pris l’initiative d’organiser une manifestation pacifique devant le bâtiment de la Direction Générale des Impôts (DGI) en vue de dénoncer ce qui suit :

1. La discrimination dont leur Hôpital est victime.

En effet, l’Hôpital de Panzi est une structure intégrée dans le système sanitaire de la République Démocratique du Congo (RDC) et possède le statut d’Hôpital Général de Référence (HGR). De ce fait, ses employés sont des agents de l’Etat à part entière, à l’instar du personnel d’autres HGR de la RDC qui sont soumis à un régime fiscal de prélèvement à la source par le Ministère des Finances.

Parmi près de 500 HGR que compte la RDC, l’Hôpital de Panzi est le seul soumis à une mesure fiscale particulière qui est l’impôt sur le revenu professionnel. Les agents dénoncent le fait que leur Hôpital soit victime d’une discrimination flagrante de la part de la DGI et réclament une équité fiscale.

2. Violation des droits de l’Homme.

La Direction de l’HGR/Panzi est extrêmement préoccupée par cette situation qui entraîne par voie de conséquence diverses violations des droits humains : droit à la santé pour les malades, dont le droit à la vie est mis en péril à défaut d’approvisionnement en médicaments et autres fournitures nécessaires pour prodiguer des soins, mais aussi violation du droit de ses agents à percevoir leur rémunération pour leur travail presté, étant donné que le montant saisi par la DGI était destiné à la paie des agents et à l‘approvisionnement de l’hôpital en médicaments.

3. Dysfonctionnement de l’appareil judiciaire.

L’HGR/Panzi a assigné en justice devant la Cour d’Appel de Bukavu la DGI, la Banque commerciale du Congo (BCDC), et l’Etat congolais depuis le 04 Novembre 2014 en rapport avec ces violations sus évoquées. L’affaire fixée initialement le 18 Novembre 2014 a été successivement reportée suite d’une part

à la grève des magistrats, et d’autre part suite au décès d’un magistrat de la Cour à la veille de la date d’audience. Cette dernière a été renvoyée sine die.

Malgré l’absence de décision judiciaire liée à ces dysfonctionnements, la DGI a procédé à la saisie effective du compte de l’HGR de Panzi, en violation de l’article 127 du Code de procédure civile congolais qui énumère une liste de biens qui ne sont pas susceptibles de saisie, qui inclut le salaire.

4. Vices de procédures fiscales.

La procédure fiscale prévue par les dispositions légales a été violée par la DGI :

– En moins de dix jours, elle a activé une taxation d’office, deux avis de mise en recouvrement et les commandements ; sans respect des délais de six mois prévus par la loi.

– Elle n’a pas accordé à l’HGR/Panzi la possibilité de jouir de droit d’opposition et de recours administratif.

Il y a une urgence extrême à agir, dans l’intérêt des malades dont nous avons la responsabilité d’apporter les meilleurs services de santé, et pour le personnel de Panzi, qui n’a pas pu percevoir sa rémunération.

La Direction de l’HGR/Panzi a contacté les différentes autorités impliquées sans obtenir une réponse satisfaisante à ce jour et demeure encline à entamer un dialogue constructif avec ces dernières pour sortir de cette crise.

Le personnel de Panzi aspire à voir la justice reconnaître les vices de procédure qui rendent cette imposition discriminatoire et garde l’espoir d’assurer le bon fonctionnement et la continuité des services fournis par notre structure sanitaire publique.

My Song for Change 2014 winner Matt Blais performs Fire From the Spark, featuring Sam Roberts (Sam Roberts Band), Cone McCaslin (Sum 41), Ian D’Sa (Billy Talent), Hill Kourkoutis (Serena Ryder) and Sekou Lumumba (Serena Ryder), and produced by David Bottrill (Tool, Muse, Stone Sour).

My Song for Change contest winner debuts finished song and video

Calgary songwriter shares studio with who’s who of Canadian music

 

Toronto, ON (December 2, 2014) – Recording sessions are finally complete and 2014 My Song for Change national songwriting contest winner, Matt Blais, is ready to share his winning song and accompanying video with Canada. The Calgary-based musician was selected by a panel of judges in August during the Western Union-sponsored contest for his song “Fire From the Spark”, which was then professionally recorded and produced with Sam Roberts and Grammy Award-winning producer David Bottrill. The September sessions also featured special guest spots from notable artists including Ian D’Sa of Billy Talent, Cone McCaslin of Sum 41, and Sekou Lumumba and Hill Kourkoutis of Serena Ryder. Additional production support was provided by Head Engineer Kevin Dietz.

“Fire From the Spark” is available for purchase on iTunes, with proceeds from sales going to Make Music Matter, a charity that focuses on enhancing, enriching and improving children’s lives in developing countries through the transformative power of music. The music video can be seen on the Make Music Matter Facebook page and Youtube Channel.

“The My Song for Change journey has been a truly memorable one, highlighted by an incredible recording session with a talented group of artists, producers and songwriters,” said Matt Blais. “I am so thrilled to share my song and video with my fellow Canadians and hope that its message inspires others to use music as a tool for change.”

This year’s My Song for Change national songwriting contest was again hosted by Make Music Matter and sponsored by Western Union. Building on the Western Union heritage of connecting individuals around the world through a global network in more than 200 countries and territories, the sponsorship sought to leverage the power of music to educate, connect, transform and enrich people’s lives.

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About Make Music Matter

Make Music Matter believes that by utilizing the transformative power of music, we can influence people around the world to make more positive choices. Positive choices today help to create a positive future for all. Since 2007, Make Music Matter has been using music to engage, educate and foster leadership in youth in communities affected by extreme poverty. Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, Make Music Matter’s on-the-ground efforts strive to enhance, enrich, and improve children’s lives in developing countries. For more information, please visit www.makemusicmatter.org.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of September 30, 2014, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks. In 2013, The Western Union Company completed 242 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $82 billion of principal between consumers, and 459 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.


For more information and interviews please contact:

Darcy Ataman

Make Music Matter Inc

darcy@makemusicmatter.org

Make Music Matter is hosting Right Her Future: an evening of dialogue and music on March 27 to raise funds for the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, eastern Congo. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, Make Music Matter is honoured to invite you to an evening featuring Dr. Denis Mukwege, LGen (Ret’d) Roméo Dallaire, Dr. Samantha and Dr. Lloyd Axworthy. Musical performance by Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo.

Make Music Matter would like to thank the following sponsors for making it possible for Manitobans to stand with the women of the Panzi Hospital:

 

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UW left stack COLOUR Global College Logo

UM Logo col vert-Centred-Fac Medicine        Au_Courant_logo

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bounce_logo-mmm             Winnipeg Free Press 4c ju11

GAP_black  Christine Melnick Standing with Dr. Mukwege

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Asper Foundation

 

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Galaxy Printing Decal

 

In the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), repeated cycles of conflict have contributed to its unfortunate notoriety of being branded as the worst place in the world to be a woman. Founded in 1999 by Dr. Denis Mukwege, the Panzi Hospital is a beacon of hope and refuge for survivors of sexual gender-based violence. The international community has awarded Dr. Mukwege numerous accolades for his work as well as multiple nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now it is time for Manitobans to stand with the women of Panzi Hospital in their struggle for dignity and healing.

For the first time ever, March 27, 2014, the founder of the Panzi Hospital Dr. Denis Mukwege will be in Winnipeg for this special evening of dialogue and music, which features an impressive line-up of humanitarians, dignitaries and special guest performer Jim Cuddy. Sum 41‘s Cone McCaslin, Billy Talent‘s Ian D’Sa and local Congolese performers will also be featured.

Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.ca or call 1-855-985-5000

Winnipeg, MB – March 3, 2014 – Make Music Matter Inc. today confirmed two new guest performers for the “Right Her Future – Manitobans Standing with the Women of Panzi Hospital” fundraising event, which will take place at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre on March 27th, 2014.

In addition to featuring Dr. Denis Mukwege from Panzi Hospital, retired lieutenant-general Roméo Dallaire from the Child Soldiers Initiative, Dr. Samantha Nutt founder of War Child North America, Ian D’Sa of Billy Talent and Cone McCaslin of Sum 41 will be joining Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy onstage for a special guest appearance during his musical set.

This special evening of dialogue and music features an impressive line up of humanitarians, dignitaries and special guests, including local Congolese performers and will be raising funds for the victims of extreme sexual violence at Panzi Hospital, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The ‘Right Her Future’ event starts at 8 p.m. on March 27th, 2014. Ticket information available at Ticketmaster or call 1‐855‐985‐5000.

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For more information or interviews, contact:

Joëlle Saltel

Au Courant Consultants

joelle@aucourantconsultants.ca

(204) 282-­‐2747

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Greetings from Rwanda!

I’m in Rwanda at last and what a beautiful and friendly country it is! Darcy, you didn’t exaggerate when you said the Uyisenga N’Manzi Peace Centre was idyllic. The people are fantastic and I didn’t realize just how much Chaste and his team are doing for the kids and the surrounding community. They have 5 acres of training fields to show the youth how to grow various crops, all kinds of livestock, a library, soap-making, electrical and repairs workshops, and lots more. The studio is extremely popular and I’ll be coming back with some great suggestions to make it even better. The community has received electricity because of Uyisenga N’Manzi and they benefit from the sale of produce and livestock.

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On Tuesday there’ll be a large, national exposition of all of the community development organizations in Rwanda. Uyisenga N’Manzi will be using this opportunity to showcase the Music Enrichment Program by having the participants perform their songs. I originally had planned to leave on Monday, but I’m trying to extend my stay to be able to see the show.

That’s all for now. I hear there are some young ladies waiting to share their ideas and experiences with me. I don’t speak Kinyarwanda and they don’t speak English or French, but I’m sure we’ll work it out!

Shannon Johnson

Make Music Matter Board Member