UN envoy rejects Israel’s accusation it buried sexual violence report

There were reasonable grounds to believe that rapes and gang rapes had taken place in at least three locations during the attacks.

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UN envoy rejects Israel’s accusation it buried sexual violence reportThe UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in conflict, rejected an accusation by Israel that the UN attempted to suppress a report.

A report that showed members of the Palestinian Hamas movement had committed sexual violence against Israelis during the Oct. 7 massacre.

I must be clear and categorical.

There had been no attempt by the (UN) Secretary General (António Guterres) to silence my report or suppress his findings,’’ Pramila Patten told the UN Security Council in New York.

“On the contrary, I received his full support, politically, logistically and financially and he also gave clear instructions for the public release of my report, and its immediate transmission to the Security Council.’’

Patten was responding to the accusation made by Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who was also present at the meeting of the most powerful UN body.

A week earlier, Katz accused the UN of wanting to sweep Hamas’ crimes under the carpet.

In the report, the UN classified the Israeli allegations of sexualised violence during the massacre by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 as credible.

There were reasonable grounds to believe that rapes and gang rapes had taken place in at least three locations during the attacks.

There was also convincing information that sexualised violence had been committed against kidnapped hostages and that this could continue while they are held in captivity in the Gaza Strip, report said.

Meanwhile Katz had also called on the UN Security Council to put pressure on Hamas to release the remaining hostages held in the Gaza Strip.

“I’m demanding from the security council of the UN to put as much pressure as possible on the Hamas organisation to release immediately and unconditionally,’’ the hostages, Katz told the security council.

“Please try your utmost to stop this living hell on earth,’’ the minister added.

In a series of coordinated attacks on Oct. 7 2023, militants from Hamas and other extremist Palestinian organisations killed 1,200 people, mainly civilians, in southern Israel.

They also took an estimated 240 hostages back to the Gaza Strip.

112 had since been freed or released. A further 100 are thought to be still alive and in captivity.

The Oct.7 attacks triggered Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza’s health ministry reported on Monday that the Palestinian death toll from the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip had surpassed 31,000.