UN urges probe into alleged Israeli abuses against Palestinian women, girls

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

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

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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 been subjected to “inhuman and degrading treatment,” including severe beatings and being denied menstrual pads, food and medicine.

They voiced particular alarm at reports of “multiple forms of sexual assault,” including reports of rapes of at least two female detainees, while others were “stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers.”

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Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed more than 29,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s 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.”

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