In first, UN sending envoy to investigate Hamas sexual crimes on October 7

Pramila Patten, UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, is reportedly slated to arrive in Israel this month at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry

Demonstrators hold a banner reading 'Raped by Hamas' during a rally in front of UNESCO headquarters in Paris on December 1, 2023. (Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)
Demonstrators hold a banner reading 'Raped by Hamas' during a rally in front of UNESCO headquarters in Paris on December 1, 2023. (Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)

The UN will reportedly send an envoy to Israel later this month to investigate the growing mountain of evidence that Hamas terrorists engaged in sexual violence during their October 7 onslaught against southern Israel.

According to Hebrew media reports, Pramila Patten, the special representative of the UN secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, is expected to arrive in Israel at the end of January, the first UN representative being sent to Israel for this purpose.

The Haaretz daily reported that Patten was invited to Israel by the Foreign Ministry and will hand over her findings to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for inclusion in his annual report to the UN Security Council.

The news comes shortly after two UN experts on torture and executions, Alice Jill Edwards and Morris Tidball-Binz, demanded accountability for sexual violence against Israeli civilians during the October 7 Hamas massacre.

The two said that mounting evidence of rapes and genital mutilation point to possible crimes against humanity.

On October 7, thousands of Hamas terrorists burst through the border with the Gaza Strip and into Israel in an attack that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. The attackers raped women and massacre victims were tortured or mutilated. At least 240 people were abducted and taken as hostages to Gaza.

In this September 14, 2017 file photo, Pramila Patten attends a special screening of Netflix’s “First They Killed My Father” at the DGA theater in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

Last month, Patten met the mother of one of the Israeli hostages being held in Gaza, and called for the unconditional and immediate release of all those being held captive.

“The toll of this war on innocent civilians, on both sides, is too high and must end. We know that in circumstances of abduction or detention, women especially are at a heightened risk of different forms of violence, including sexual violence,” she said at the time.

She added that all reports of sexual violence committed on October 7 by Hamas terrorists must be investigated immediately, and urged the State of Israel to grant access to UN investigative bodies to look into it.

At the same time, Patten reiterated Guterres’s call for an immediate ceasefire in the Strip and urgent humanitarian assistance to be sent to civilians in Gaza.

Israel has previously criticized the United Nations for not doing enough to address the issue of sexual violence, particularly after UN Women came under intense fire for an October 13 statement that equated Hamas’s terror onslaught with Israel’s military response in the Gaza Strip, while failing to mention the terror group by name or address its sexual crimes.

Israeli authorities have also opened their own investigation into sexual crimes committed by Hamas terrorists during the most deadly attack ever on the country. In addition to witness testimony, Israel Police have video evidence, testimony from terrorists and photographs of victims’ bodies that all point toward sexual assault.

Most details of the investigations are currently under a gag order.

The New York Times recently published a chilling and comprehensive report into the sexual assault against Israeli women at sites across southern Israel on October 7 by Hamas terrorists.

The New York Times report, which came out in late December, included interviews with more than 150 witnesses, medical personnel, first responders, soldiers, rape counselors, and government officials, along with video footage, photographs and GPS data from cellphones.

Hamas has denied all accusations of sexual abuse despite the overwhelming evidence and testimony.

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