UN team finds ‘convincing’ information that hostages in Gaza were raped

Published: 1 month ago

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A United Nations team has found “clear and convincing” information that hostages in Gaza were sexually abused, Pramila Patten, the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict told reporters on Monday.

A United Nations team led by Pramila Patten, the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, has discovered "clear and convincing" evidence of sexual abuse against hostages in Gaza. Patten informed reporters on Monday that there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that the sexual violence is ongoing. The team's investigation also revealed "reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, occurred" during Hamas' October 7 terror attack in Israel. This finding is the most definitive statement by the UN regarding sexual assault allegations following the attack.

The UN team conducted their mission in Israel between January 29 and February 14 with the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and verifying information on conflict-related sexual violence during and after October 7. The team held 33 meetings with Israeli institutions, interviewed 34 individuals including survivors and witnesses of the attack, released hostages, and reviewed 50 hours of attack footage. However, despite their efforts, the mission was unable to meet with any victims of sexual violence on October 7. Patten explained that some survivors were receiving specialized trauma treatment and were not ready to come forward.

Hamas has previously denied allegations of rape by their militants during the October 7 attack. In a statement on Telegram in December, Hamas' political office strongly rejected and condemned what they referred to as unfounded lies and allegations aimed at demonizing the Palestinian resistance. They accused certain Western media outlets of coordinating with misleading campaigns that promote these allegations.

It's important to note that this is a developing story, and further updates are expected.


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