WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ben Cardin (D-MD) and more than two dozen Senate colleagues in a bipartisan 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 Antonio 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)—the organization dedicated to ending gender-based violence—accountable for its failure to immediately and unequivocally condemn Hamas’s atrocities against women.

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“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.”

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“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.”

Duckworth, Rosen, Ernst, Gillibrand, Collins and Cardin were joined by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Katie Britt (R-AL), James Risch (R-ID), 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).

The full text of the letter can be found by using the link here.

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