update deskOctober 7

UN official in Israel to document Hamas sexual atrocities

Pramila Patten, special representative of the U.N. secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, will report on her findings after the trip.

Pramila Patten, U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City on Oct. 30, 2019. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Pramila Patten, U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City on Oct. 30, 2019. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.

Pramila Patten, special representative of the U.N. secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, arrived in Israel on Monday for a first-hand account of the sexual violence committed by Hamas on Oct. 7.

According to an Israeli Foreign Ministry announcement, her visit “comes against the backdrop of U.N. bodies such as the U.N. Women organization ignoring the reports of the appalling cases that have been uncovered.”

The Mauritian barrister will “gather information on sexual violence, reportedly committed in the context of the attacks of Oct. 7 and its aftermath,” the international body announced earlier this month.

According to the Foreign Ministry, which invited Patten to the Jewish state, her visit began with a series of meetings at the ministry headquarters in Jerusalem, including a meeting with the ministry’s political director, Aliza Ben Nun.

Patten is also scheduled to meet with survivors, witnesses, treatment professionals, and police and security forces representatives to gain a better understanding of and collect evidence regarding the Hamas atrocities committed on Oct. 7. She is also expected to meet with government and civil society representatives and tour southern Israel, along with a team of experts.

Additionally, Patten plans to visit Palestinian-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria during her stay, which is expected to last into early February.

Following the visit, the official will present her findings to the U.N. secretary-general for inclusion in the U.N.’s annual report on sexual violence.

The U.N. official was involved in a confrontation in December with Linor Abargil, an Israeli lawyer, actress and former “Miss World” who is herself a rape survivor and who advocates against sexual violence.

Abargil approached Patten during a U.N. event and told her, “I have to tell you that as a rape victim, I’m so disappointed from your behavior and from you not condemning all the abuse that happened to our women.”

Patten responded, “Maybe you should have all the facts.”

“I have the facts, and after two months you didn’t have even one response,” said Abargil as one of Patten’s apparent handlers asked her, “Can we not have this in front of the camera?”

Undeterred, Abargil continued, “Why? You saw the testimony. This is now the time for action.”

“If it was your daughter, would it take you two months? If it was your sister?” she pressed. “Tell me. Why you don’t answer?”

Patten promptly departed the event.

Hamas terrorists committed acts of rape, including gang rape, and other acts of sexual violence against both men and women during the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. According to testimonies, rapes and other sexual abuse are ongoing against hostages held by the terror group in Gaza.

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