UN Excludes Hamas from Blacklist Despite Evidence of Sexual Violence in Israel Attack

UN blacklist excludes Hamas, despite evidence of sexual violence in 2023 attack on Israel, raising concerns about the UN's commitment to accountability for such crimes.

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UN Excludes Hamas from Blacklist Despite Evidence of Sexual Violence in Israel Attack

UN Excludes Hamas from Blacklist Despite Evidence of Sexual Violence in Israel Attack

The United Nations has come under fire for excluding Hamas from a blacklist of state and non-state actors who committed sexual violence in 2023, despite credible evidence of numerous acts of sexual assault perpetrated by Hamas terrorists during their October 7, 2023 attack on Israel that left over 1,200 dead.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres released his annual report on sexual violence in conflict settings, which addressed the Hamas-led attack on Israel and Russia's war in Ukraine, among other situations. However, the report found that credible evidence meeting UN criteria was only strong enough to blacklist perpetrators in 11 out of the 18 cases described. Neither Hamas nor Russia were included on this list.

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz slammed the report, calling it a failure and accusing Guterres of turning the UN into an "extremely antisemitic and anti-Israel institution." The report did reference a previous finding by Pramila Patten, the UN's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, which stated there were reasonable grounds to believe sexual violence occurred during the October 7 attack, including rape and gang rape. It called for a full investigation into the attack and treatment of hostages.

The decision to exclude Hamas, despite well-documented evidence of depraved sexual violence committed by its terrorists during the massacre that also involved a barrage of thousands of rockets and a breach of the Gaza-Israel barrier by an estimated 3,000 militants, is being seen as an example of the UN's profound corruption and failure to address sexual violence. The organization also omitted evidence of widespread Russian sexual assaults against Ukrainians.

Why this matters: The UN's glaring omission of Hamas and Russia from its blacklist of sexual violence perpetrators, despite strong evidence, raises serious questions about the organization's commitment to holding actors accountable for such crimes. This decision risks further eroding the UN's credibility on human rights issues and denies justice to the victims of these heinous acts.

While Guterres claims the exclusion was due to a lack of credible evidence, his own report acknowledges there is evidence of sex crimes committed during Hamas's attack. The report also addressed allegations of sexual violence by Israeli forces against Palestinian detainees, with UN experts reporting credible allegations that Palestinian women and girls have been subjected to sexual assaults, including at least two cases of rape, while in Israeli detention. The Israeli government has rejected these allegations as "despicable and unfounded claims" and the US State Department has urged Israel to thoroughly investigate any credible allegations and ensure accountability.

Key Takeaways

  • UN excluded Hamas from blacklist of sexual violence perpetrators despite evidence.
  • Israel's FM accused UN of being antisemitic and anti-Israel for this decision.
  • UN report acknowledged credible evidence of sexual violence by Hamas and Israel.
  • Exclusion of Hamas and Russia raises questions about UN's commitment to accountability.
  • Decision denies justice to victims and further erodes UN's credibility on human rights.