International News

UN Finds ‘Reasonable Grounds’ Sexual Violence Occurred In Hamas Attack On Israel

A team of United Nations (UN) experts reported on Monday that there were “reasonable grounds to believe” sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, occurred at several locations during the October 7th attack on Israel by Hamas militants.

Also Read: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah And Cabinet Colleagues Receive Bomb Threats Via Email

The UN team, led by special envoy Pramila Patten, visited Israel between January 29th and February 14th to investigate allegations of sexual violence linked to the attacks. Their 24-page report states that “credible circumstantial information” indicates some forms of sexual violence like “genital mutilation, sexualized torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” may have occurred.

While Hamas has repeatedly rejected accusations of sexual violence, the UN report found “clear and convincing information that some hostages taken to Gaza have been subjected to various forms of conflict-related sexual violence.” It states a “fully-fledged investigation” is needed to determine the full extent of the crimes and perpetrators.

The report also cites information about “sexual violence against Palestinian men and women in detention settings, during house raids and at checkpoints” in Israel after October 7th. However, Israel’s military told the UN team it had received no complaints of sexual violence by its forces.

On October 7th, Hamas fighters attacked Israel, killing around 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Israel’s retaliation in Gaza has since killed around 30,000 Palestinians, health authorities there say.

The UN findings have further inflamed tensions. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said sexual violence on October 7th “must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted”, stressing “gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere.”

However, Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan accused the UN of hypocrisy, saying, “As we speak right now, Israeli women are being raped and abused by Hamas terrorists. Where is the UN’s voice?” He demanded, “Hamas must face unrelenting pressure to end their sexual violence and release all hostages immediately.”

The UN team’s report alleging reasonable grounds for sexual violence by Hamas has ratcheted up pressure amid the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in decades. Independent investigations will likely be crucial to determine responsibility and prevent further atrocities.

Dear Readers,
As an independent media platform, we do not take advertisements from governments and corporate houses. It is you, our readers, who have supported us on our journey to do honest and unbiased journalism. Please contribute, so that we can continue to do the same in future.

Related posts