The Security Council discussed sexual violence in the context of the Middle East conflict

В Совбезе обсудили сексуальное насилие в контексте ближневосточного конфликта

Meeting of the UN Security Council. The Security Council discussed sexual violence in the context of the Middle East conflict Peace and Security

More than 150 days have passed since the Hamas attack on Israel, which resulted in the death of 1,200 people, 253 people were kidnapped, while 134 of them remain in captivity. The Israeli military operation in Gaza that followed the attack claimed the lives of more than 30 thousand people, including women and children.

The UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, recalled this at the UN Security Council.

She provided an overview of her trip to Israel and the West Bank from January 29 to February 14, 2024. The purpose of the visit was to collect, analyze and verify reports of conflict-related sexual violence.

Given the ongoing hostilities, Patten did not visit Gaza, where other UN agencies, some of who are engaged in monitoring sexual violence.

“The Secretary-General made no attempt to silence my report or hide its findings,” she said at the beginning of her speech, stressing that her team of nine experts conducted the mission in accordance with the principles of independence and transparency.

Visit to Israel

Patten’s team interviewed 34 people, including survivors of the October 7 attacks and freed hostages, and visited four sites of alleged attacks and reviewed more than 5,000 images and 50 hours of video footage provided by authorities and independent sources.

What I learned about in Israel were the scenes of unspeakable violence committed with shocking cruelty

“What I learned about in Israel were scenes of unspeakable violence committed with shocking cruelty “,” she said, recalling meetings with those who witnessed the events of October 7. “I saw the pain in their eyes,” Patten added.

She heard stories of people being shot or burned in their homes, of mutilation of corpses and widespread looting. “This was a catalog of the most extreme and inhumane forms of murder, torture and other horrors,” the Special Representative said.

Hostages in Gaza

“We have found clear and convincing information that sexual violence, including rape, sexualized torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, was committed against hostages, and we have reasonable grounds to believe that such violence is still may continue against those who are in captivity,” she said.

Patten stressed that this does not justify further military action, but creates a “moral imperative” for a humanitarian ceasefire to end the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and bring Israeli hostages home.

West Bank

Referring to her visit to Ramallah, Patten said she had received information from UN officials that would be included in her report to the Security Council in April.

“In the occupied West Bank, I witnessed a climate of great fear and insecurity, with women and men scared and deeply disturbed by the ongoing tragedy in the Gaza Strip,” she said.

Patten said her interlocutors in the West Bank expressed concern about alleged violations against Palestinians: body searches, unwanted touching, including in intimate areas, beatings, threats of rape against women and cases , when detainees were forced to expose themselves.

The Special Envoy discussed the issue with Israeli authorities, who she said expressed a willingness to investigate the alleged violations.

“We must translate political resolve into swift responses that are critical in the current context of ongoing violence,” she said.

Patten’s report on her mission also made a number of recommendations, including a call for all parties to agree to a ceasefire and Hamas – release all hostages.

RF condemns sexual violence “in all forms”

The Russian Federation categorically condemns sexual violence in all forms, as well as any other crimes in armed conflict and post-conflict situations. Representative of the Russian Federation Maria Zabolotskaya stated this during her speech.

“Acts like this must be investigated and those responsible must be brought to justice,” she said. “In the context of the Gaza crisis, we unequivocally condemned from the very beginning the acts of violence committed against Israelis on October 7th. However, we remain firmly convinced that these crimes, no matter how heinous, cannot be considered as justification for the collective punishment of the Palestinians.”

USA: Security Council must eradicate sexual violence in conflict

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the Security Council remains silent about the atrocities of October 7, and some of its members are skeptical about the evidence.

“The question is how we will react? Will the Security Council condemn sexual violence by Hamas or will it continue to remain silent?” she asked.

Regarding the accusations in the violence in the West Bank, Thomas-Greenfield said all parties must respect international law and that Israel, as a democratic country, must hold those responsible to account.

Acts of sexual violence by Hamas continue, the ambassador said, citing examples from the Special Representative’s report, and called for the release of all hostages.

Palestine: Palestinian collective punishment “lasts 75 years”

“We are meeting at a time when Muslims around the world are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan,” Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, reminded the Security Council. “In Gaza there is death and suffering everywhere, there is no food or hope anywhere. As we speak, the massacre of Palestinian civilians continues.”

The Palestinian representative said that Israel had violated the recent International Court of Justice ruling on provisional measures by depriving the civilian population of the basic necessities of life and creating the conditions for famine.

“The collective punishment of the people, before and after October 7, has been going on for 75 years,” said Riyad Mansour. – Not a single Israeli leader, not a single representative of the Israeli occupation forces has ever been brought to justice for crimes committed against the Palestinian people. It was this impunity that made this genocide possible.”

Israel: Security Council has been silent about Hamas crimes for too long

Israeli Foreign Minister said he came to the Security Council , to “as loudly as possible” express their protest against the crimes against humanity that Hamas is committing in order to intimidate and intimidate Israeli society.

“The UN has been silent about the crimes of Hamas for too long, – emphasized Israel Katz. “The only one responsible for crimes against humanity is Hamas.”
An Israeli diplomat called for Hamas to be declared a terrorist organization and for the toughest sanctions to be applied to it.

“I demand that the Security Council put maximum pressure on Hamas to immediately and unconditionally release all the kidnapped hostages,” said Israel Katz.


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