Politics 12:05 11/12/2023 World

Blinken condemns sexual violence inflicted by Hamas

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday forcefully condemned sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas during the October 7 attack and blasted those who have not forcefully condemned it or were slow to do so, CNN reported.

“I don’t know why countries, leaders, international organizations were so slow to focus on this, to bring it to people’s attention. I’m glad it is finally happening,” Blinken told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “The atrocities that we saw on October 7 are almost beyond human description or beyond our capacity to digest. And we’ve talked about them before, but the sexual violence that we saw on October 7 is beyond anything that I’ve seen either.”

The United Nations heard testimony about allegations of sexual and gender-based violence by Hamas at a panel hosted by Israel at the UN headquarters in New York last week. Several speakers reiterated that some human rights groups such as UN Women were too slow to condemn the alleged rape and sexual violence.

Asked by Tapper why the United Nations and the international community have been so slow to respond to the allegations, Blinken said, “I think it is a question that these organizations, these countries need to ask themselves.”

House Democrats are planning to introduce a resolution condemning Hamas’ use of sexual violence and rape against Israeli women after they were dismayed by the response to the allegations from some lawmakers on the left, including Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Israeli police are interrogating suspects and compiling evidence, including video, forensics and witness testimony, to investigate accusations of rape during the attacks. Witnesses to the aftermath of the attacks say women and girls were sexually assaulted, tortured and killed.

CNN cannot independently verify individual allegations and claims. However, several first responders who attended the scenes of the October 7 attack told CNN the attacks were overwhelmingly gruesome and that some female victims were found undressed.

Hamas denied that its militants committed rape during the attacks in a statement last week on Telegram and decried what it called “the coordination of some Western media outlets with the Zionist misleading campaigns that promote unfounded lies and allegations aimed at demonizing the Palestinian resistance… .”

Organizers of the UN meeting refuted that denial by showing mounting evidence that rape occurred during the attacks on October 7, including graphic video footage of bodies, videos of Hamas fighters admitting under interrogation that rape occurred and testimony from Israeli police officers and witnesses to the attack and its aftermath. Speakers who prepared bodies for burial described evidence that militants gang raped some victims and purposely shot or mutilated victims in genital regions.



Source Panorama.am
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