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UN Report Reveals Disturbing Findings on Sexual Violence in Hamas-Israeli Conflict

By: ATN News

United Nations: After a 17-day visit to Israel, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict delivered a report on Monday, detailing findings of rape and sexualized torture against hostages taken during the October 7th terror attacks. Pramila Patten, along with a team of experts, emphasized the presence of "clear and convincing information" regarding these atrocities.

In a press release accompanying the report, Patten stated that there are reasonable grounds to believe that such violence, along with other forms of "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment," continues against those still held by Hamas and other extremists in the Gaza Strip.

The report stemmed from an official visit to Israel, initiated by the Government, which included a tour of the occupied West Bank between January 29th and February 14th.

Examining the coordinated attack by Hamas and others on October 7th, the UN mission discovered reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence occurred in various locations, including instances of rape and gang rape in at least three locations in southern Israel.

Furthermore, the team observed a pattern of victims, predominantly women, discovered fully or partially naked, bound, and shot across multiple locations, potentially indicating various forms of sexual violence. However, in some locations, the reported incidents of rape could not be verified.

The UN team expressed concern that the full extent of sexual violence during the October 7th attacks and their aftermath may take an extended period to emerge and might never be fully disclosed.

Consisting of Ms. Patten and nine experts, the mission, although not investigative in nature, held 33 meetings with Israeli representatives, reviewed over 5,000 photographic images, and scrutinized 50 hours of video footage. Additionally, they conducted 34 confidential interviews with survivors, witnesses, released hostages, first responders, and others.

The report acknowledges the challenges faced by Israeli authorities in collecting evidence.

Furthermore, the team visited Ramallah in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to gather views and concerns of officials and civil society representatives since October 7th, implicating Israeli security forces and settlers.

Ms. Patten highlighted concerns over the mistreatment of Palestinians in detention, including allegations of sexual violence such as invasive searches, threats of rape, and prolonged forced nudity.

The information collected will supplement existing data gathered by other UN officials on allegations of conflict-related sexual violence inside Gaza, potentially for inclusion in the Secretary-General’s annual report on the issue.

Ms. Patten's recommendations include urging the Israeli Government to grant full access to the UN human rights office (OHCHR) and the Human Rights Council-mandated independent Commission of Inquiry on the occupied territory for conducting independent investigations into all alleged violations. She also called on Hamas to release all hostages immediately and unconditionally, ensuring their protection from sexual violence.

Furthermore, Ms. Patten urged relevant authorities to bring all perpetrators of sexual violence to justice, offering the full support of her office to strengthen national efforts. She emphasized the importance of maintaining high standards of information integrity in reporting and handling sexual violence cases, given the risks associated with inflammatory rhetoric and sensationalized headlines, which could escalate tensions and compound trauma and stigmatization of survivors.

Echoing the Secretary-General's call for a humanitarian ceasefire, Ms. Patten emphasized the need for any ceasefire agreement to recognize sexual violence as a key issue and allow affected communities to voice their concerns.

She concluded by expressing profound sympathy and solidarity with all civilians impacted by the violence in the region since October 7th.


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