Press Release

Gillibrand, Rosen, Ernst, Collins, Cardin Lead Bipartisan Push Condemning United Nations’ Inaction On Hamas’s Sexual Violence Against Women

Dec 12, 2023

Senators Call For An Independent International Investigation Into Hamas’s Use Of Rape And Sexual Assault As “Weapons Of War”

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ben Cardin (D-MD) led a bipartisan group of 28 colleagues in a letter condemning the inaction of the United Nations (UN) regarding Hamas’s widespread sexual violence, including mass rape and mutilation, against women in Israel on October 7, 2023. The senators urged UN Secretary-General António Guterres to open an independent investigation into Hamas’s acts of sexual violence and to hold the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) — a leading UN organization dedicated to ending gender-based violence — accountable for its failure to immediately and unequivocally condemn Hamas’s atrocities against women.

Senators Gillibrand, Rosen, Ernst, Collins, and Cardin were joined by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Katie Britt (R-AL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), James Risch (R-ID), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Fetterman (D-PA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), James Lankford (R-OK), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rick Scott (R-FL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

“We write to express our profound disappointment with the United Nations’ (UN) response to Hamas’s widespread sexual violence, including rape and mutilation, as a weapon of war against women in Israel on October 7, 2023,” wrote the senators. “A growing body of evidence including the testimonies of survivors, witnesses, and first responders makes clear that as part of Hamas’s terrorist attack that killed 1,200 men, women, and children on October 7, the terrorist organization intentionally used rape and sexual assault as weapons of war.”

“Sexual violence, particularly on this scale and of this level of brutality, must be condemned unequivocally and without qualification, which is why we were shocked that it took UN Women nearly two months to speak out against these atrocities,” the senators also wrote. “… we urge you to move swiftly to seek the establishment of an independent fact-finding effort through a separate mechanism, tasked with collecting testimonies from survivors and witnesses of Hamas’s sexual violence. An independent investigation is a necessary step to hold perpetrators accountable, support survivors, and provide justice for victims.”

The full text of the letter can be found HERE.