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Israeli forces' sexual assault on Palestinian women, girls: UN seeks probe

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Israeli forces sexual assault on Palestinian women, girls: UN seeks probe
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The UN experts have deemed the allegations of rape, along with other forms of sexual humiliation and threats of rape against Palestinian women and girls in Israeli detention, credible, leading them to call for a thorough investigation.

According to the UN panel, there have been credible reports of at least two cases of rape, as well as other forms of sexual humiliation and threats, against Palestinian women and girls while in Israeli custody.

Reem Alsalem, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, expressed concerns that the actual number of victims could be significantly higher due to underreporting driven by fear of reprisals.

The allegations come amidst a wave of detentions of Palestinian women and girls following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict in October. Alsalem highlighted a disturbing trend of permissiveness towards sexual assault in Israeli detention centres during this period.

In response to these allegations, the Israeli government has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the claims as "despicable and unfounded." However, the United States State Department has urged Israeli authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the matter.

The UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on sexual violence, Pramila Patten, is expected to investigate the allegations of sexual violence by Hamas. However, it remains unclear whether Patten's report will cover the allegations concerning Palestinian women and girls in Israeli detention.

The UN experts expressed distress over reports of Palestinian women and girls being subjected to multiple forms of sexual assault, including being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers. Additionally, degrading photos of female Palestinian detainees, reportedly taken by Israeli soldiers, were allegedly uploaded to the internet.

Furthermore, the experts highlighted the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians, including women and girls, with the death toll in Gaza estimated to be close to 30,000. They cited reports of women and girls being arbitrarily killed, often while seeking refuge or fleeing, with some reportedly holding white pieces of cloth when targeted by the Israeli army or affiliated forces.

The UN experts emphasized the need for accountability for abuses and violations, urging both Israeli and Hamas authorities to investigate the alleged sexual assaults and ensure justice for the victims. They called for respect for international humanitarian law and reiterated the importance of treating civilians and detained individuals humanely.

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TAGS:HamasFree PalestineIsrael Palestine Conflict
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