UN experts urge probe of 'credible' reports of Israeli abuses of Palestinian women, girls

AFP , Monday 19 Feb 2024

UN rights experts called Monday for an independent probe into alleged Israeli abuses against Palestinian women and girls, including killings, rapes and sexual assault.

Palestinian women
UN experts appalled by egregious human rights violations to which #Palestinian women girls continue to be subjected in #Gaza #WestBank, incl. credible reports of arbitrary executions, sexual assault other degrading treatments. Photo courtesy of UN Special Procedures official X account (@UN_SPExperts)


The statement by the seven independent UN experts prompted an angry reaction from Israel, which rejected the "despicable and unfounded claims".

The experts voiced alarm at "credible allegations of egregious human rights violations" targeting women and girls in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

They cited reports of women and girls reportedly being "arbitrarily executed in Gaza, often together with family members, including their children".

"We are shocked by reports of the deliberate targeting and extrajudicial killing of Palestinian women and children in places where they sought refuge, or while fleeing," they said.

The independent experts, who are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council but who do not represent the United Nations, also pointed to the "arbitrary detention of hundreds of Palestinian women and girls", including human rights defenders, journalists, and humanitarians.

They said many of those detained had reported being subjected to "inhuman and degrading treatment", including severe beatings and being denied menstrual pads, food, and medicine.

“We are particularly distressed by reports that Palestinian women and girls in detention have also been subjected to multiple forms of sexual assault, such as being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers. At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence,” the experts added. 

Since Oct. 7, Israel's assault on Gaza has killed more than 29,000 people, 70% of them women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The experts called for an "independent, impartial, prompt, thorough and effective investigation" into the allegations, urging Israel to cooperate.

The Israeli mission in Geneva dismissed the statement saying the experts were "motivated by their hatred for Israel, not by the truth".

It said Israeli authorities had received no complaints but stood ready to investigate any "concrete claims of misconduct by its security forces when presented with credible allegations and evidence".

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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