UN announces “Hamas commits sexual violence against civilian hostages”

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View largerAyalet Razin Bet Or, an international human rights lawyer from Israel related to the Middle East war, is being interviewed by this newspaper at the Lotte Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul on the afternoon of the 5th.

A UN report was released on the 4th that Hamas, a Palestinian armed group that carried out a surprise attack on Israel in October last year, committed various sexual violence against civilian hostages held at the time. Hamas has consistently denied allegations of sexual violence, but with the release of a UN-level report proving the circumstances of sexual violence, there is a significant backlash.

Ayelet Razin Bet Or (45), an Israeli human rights lawyer who has provided various types of support, including providing legal advice to Hamas victims, said in an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo at the Lotte Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul on the 5th, “Irrespective of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, all “Women must be protected from sexual violence,” he said. She said she was not only supporting Israeli female victims, but also urged the international community to cooperate to prevent this, saying, “All women, including Palestinian women, should not have to experience the horror of sexual violence.” A former prosecutor, she served as chairman of the Israel Committee for the Improvement of the Status of Women (Vice Minister level) until last year. Since then, he has been helping Hamas victims at a local civic group.

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● UN “Hamas still commits sexual violence”

On the 4th, the UN special envoy team led by the UN Special Envoy on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Promila Patton, released a 24-page report on the reality of sexual violence by Hamas and stated, “There is ample evidence showing that Hamas has committed rape and sexual torture.” It was revealed that most of the female bodies found at the Nova Music Festival site, Kibbutz Laim, and Route 232 near the Gaza Strip, where Hamas held a large number of hostages, had their clothes removed.

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This report was written by a special envoy team who visited Israel from January 29 to February 14 of this year. The special team analyzed 50 hours of on-site footage and more than 5,000 images, and met with rescue workers and witnesses at the scene.

Special Envoy Patton said, “At the time, we were unable to meet the victims of sexual violence in person because the survivors and released hostages were receiving specialized trauma treatment and were not ready to come out in public.” Accordingly, it was revealed that more investigation is needed to determine the overall scale and scope of sexual violence and the specific causes.

The special envoy team also disclosed the reality of sexual violence committed against Palestinians not only by Hamas but also by Israel. In particular, it was reported that the Israeli military committed widespread sexual violence against Palestinian women imprisoned in the West Bank.

● “Women’s circles in each country are indifferent to Hamas victims”

Attorney Orr criticized the fact that major women’s groups around the world do not take issue with Hamas’ sexual violence. He said, “Ignoring victims of sexual violence because of war is abandoning the various achievements in preventing sexual violence that the women’s community has made so far,” and stated that women’s human rights are a separate issue from diplomatic and military conflicts in each country. Attorney Or also said about the allegations of sexual violence on the Israeli side, “If it is true, the Israeli military should also be punished.”

This appears to be unrelated to the fact that although this war broke out as a preemptive attack by Hamas, the number of civilian deaths in the Palestinian Gaza Strip exceeded 30,000 due to Israel’s continued retaliatory attacks. In particular, anti-Israel public opinion in the international community heightened when Israeli troops opened fire on Gaza residents who had gathered to get relief supplies on the 29th of last month, killing at least 118 people.

Attorney Or emphasized, “More than 100 Israeli civilians are still being held hostage by Hamas,” and added, “As Hamas is still committing sexual violence against them, we ask Korea to help them return home as soon as possible.” However, lawyer Orr also said he was heartbroken by the rapid increase in Palestinian civilian casualties and was “devastated” by the suffering suffered by Gaza residents.

Israel-Palestine War

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Source: Donga

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