United Nations, Dec 8 (EFE) – The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, is “gravely concerned about emerging reports of sexual violence” against hostages held by Hamas, and on Friday accepted the Israeli government’s invitation to make an official visit to the country to speak with survivors, both men and women.
The UN representative intends to use her visit to Israel to hear first-hand testimony from victims of sexual violence, including recently released hostages, the organization said in a statement.
Patten said she “unequivocally condemned the attacks by Hamas” and “expressed her serious concern over horrific reports of sexual violence and atrocities allegedly committed by them and expressed sympathy for the severe collective trauma wrought by this brutality.”
Patten urged the government of Benjamin Netanyahu “to grant access to United Nations entities with an investigative mandate” that have already “signaled their availability and willingness” to investigate “the scope and extent of these crimes, including allegations of sexual violence against Palestinians”.
In the statement, Patten also said she had not received any “UN-verified” information on incidents of conflict-related sexual violence since the Oct. 7 attacks, but acknowledged that this was “largely due to prevailing insecurity and lack of access,” noting that 130 UN staff have been killed “in the line of duty” since the attacks. EFE