Catastrophic situation faced by women in Gaza stain on humanity: Egypt UN Representative in Geneva

Ahram Online , Saturday 16 Mar 2024

Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN in Geneva Ahmed Ihab Gamaleldin said the catastrophic situation faced by women and girls in the Gaza Strip is a stain on the conscience of humanity and requires immediate intervention from international institutions.

Ahmed Ihab-Gamaleldin
Ambassador Ahmed Ihab-Gamaleldin


Ambassador Ihab Gamaleldin was speaking on behalf of 125 countries during the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council on the situation of women and girls in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday.

He expressed solidarity with Palestinian women and girls in their current struggle, spotlighting the unbearable suffering they are enduring under the Israeli war.

Since the start of the Israeli attacks on 7 October, more than one million women and girls have been displaced in Gaza several times, he said.

Ihab-Gamaleldin also pointed out that 70 percent of Palestinians who have been killed in the war are women and children.

Palestinian women and girls, including pregnant and lactating mothers, are suffering malnutrition, while the entire population is at imminent risk of famine, he stressed.

“Palestinian women are not only struggling to survive the bombing launched by Israeli forces. They also have to face special struggles trying to take care of their health; another level of suffering,” added Ambassador Ihab Gamaleldin.

"The Palestinian women are not only struggling to survive bombardment by Israeli forces but also have to contend with private struggles trying to care for their health. Women in Gaza say menstruation has become a monthly humiliation and another layer of suffering. Moreover, there is a steep rise in malnutrition among girls and pregnant and breastfeeding women and the entire population is at imminent risk of famine." 

HRC monitors "were appalled by human rights violations against Palestinian women and girls. They highlighted reports of deliberate targeting and extrajudicial killing of Palestinian women and children in places where they sought refuge, or while fleeing, as well as the chilling reports of sexual assault and rape in places of detention," noted Ihab Gamaleldin.

The Egyptian representative underscored the warning issued by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women that the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women face challenges in Gaza.

“Those responsible for these crimes must be held accountable,” Ambassador Ihab Gamaleldin asserted.

He called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to collect evidence to help conduct an independent, rapid, and comprehensive investigation into these violations and crimes.

A host of countries that pride themselves on being active participants in gender-related issues and promoting women's rights within the Human Rights Council did not endorse the statement.

​These countries include the US, Canada, all European countries, Mexico, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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