Mon 19 Feb 2024 11:34 am - Jerusalem Time

UN experts: Concerned about Palestinian women being exposed to serious violations

On Monday, United Nations experts expressed their concern about documented allegations of grave human rights violations that Palestinian women and girls continue to be subjected to in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The experts explained that the information and reports they received indicate that there are Palestinian women and girls who have been subjected to arbitrary execution in Gaza, often alongside family members, including their children.

They said, "We were shocked by reports of the deliberate targeting and 'extrajudicial' killing of Palestinian women and children in places where they had taken refuge or while trying to flee. According to what was reported, some of them were carrying pieces of white cloth when they were killed by the Israeli army and its forces."

The experts also expressed their deep concern about the arbitrary detention of hundreds of Palestinian women and girls, including human rights defenders, journalists and humanitarian workers, in Gaza and the West Bank since October 7.

“Many of them were reportedly subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, as they were deprived of food, medicine, and menstrual pads, and were subjected to severe beatings.

The report stated that on at least one occasion, Palestinian women detained in Gaza were held in a cage in the rain, cold, and without food.

The experts added, “We are particularly distressed by reports that detained Palestinian women and girls were also 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 reported to have been raped, while it was reported that others were threatened with rape and sexual assault.

It was also reported that the Israeli army took photos of female detainees in humiliating conditions and published them on the Internet.

The experts expressed concern about reports that an unknown number of Palestinian women and children, including girls, had disappeared after meeting the Israeli army in Gaza, saying: “There are alarming reports of at least one infant who was forcibly transferred to Israel by the Israeli army.” In addition to children who have been separated from their parents, and their whereabouts remain unknown.”

They added, “We remind the Israeli government of its obligations to uphold the rights to life, safety, health and dignity of Palestinian women and girls, and to ensure that no one is subjected to violence, torture, ill-treatment or degrading treatment, including sexual violence.”

The experts also called for an independent, impartial, prompt, comprehensive and effective investigation into these allegations, and for Israel’s cooperation in these investigations.

“Taken together, these allegations may constitute flagrant/serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, amounting to serious crimes under international criminal law, and can be prosecuted under the Rome Statute,” the experts said.

They added, “Those responsible for these apparent crimes must be held accountable, and the victims and their families are entitled to full redress and justice.”

The experts are: Special Rapporteur on the issue of violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, Reem Al-Salem, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Francesca Albani, Dorothy Estrada Tank (Chair), Claudia Flores, Ivana Krstić, Haina Lo, and Laura Nirenkende. Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls.


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UN experts: Concerned about Palestinian women being exposed to serious violations