Sullivan & Colleagues Condemn UN Inaction on Hamas’s Sexual Violence Against Women

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), and 30 of his Senate colleagues this week sent a bipartisan letter to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemning the inaction of the UN regarding Hamas’s widespread sexual violence, including mass rape and mutilation, against women in Israel on October 7, 2023. The senators urged Guterres to open an independent investigation into Hamas’s acts of sexual violence and to hold the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women—the organization dedicated to ending gender-based violence—accountable for its failure to immediately and unequivocally condemn Hamas’s atrocities against women.

Joining Senator Sullivan were Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jacky Rosen (D-N.M.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ben Cardin (D-M.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

“We write to express our profound disappointment with the United Nations’ (UN) response to Hamas’s widespread sexual violence, including rape and mutilation, as a weapon of war against women in Israel on October 7, 2023,” wrote the senators. “A growing body of evidence including the testimonies of survivors, witnesses, and first responders makes clear that as part of Hamas’s terrorist attack that killed 1,200 men, women, and children on October 7, the terrorist organization intentionally used rape and sexual assault as weapons of war.”

“Sexual violence, particularly on this scale and of this level of brutality, must be condemned unequivocally and without qualification, which is why we were shocked that it took UN Women nearly two months to speak out against these atrocities,” the senators also wrote. “... we urge you to move swiftly to seek the establishment of an independent fact-finding effort through a separate mechanism, tasked with collecting testimonies from survivors and witnesses of Hamas’s sexual violence. An independent investigation is a necessary step to hold perpetrators accountable, support survivors, and provide justice for victims.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

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