A top United Nations women’s rights official declined on Tuesday to condemn Hamas for its use of sexual violence in its barbaric Oct. 7 attack.
In an interview on CNN, network host Bianna Golodryga confronted U.N. Women deputy executive director Sarah Hendriks over U.N. Women — the U.N. agency responsible for advocating for women and girls — choosing not to condemn Hamas for how terrorists targeted women for rape and murder in its attack on Israel last month.
Hendriks claimed her agency is “deeply alarmed at the disturbing reports of gender-based and sexual violence on Oct. 7,” adding that “gender-based violence as a weapon of war is totally reprehensible” and any such allegations should be “fully investigated with the utmost priority.”
Yet nowhere in her statement did she condemn Hamas, and Golodryga called her out for it.
“Is there a reason, though, that you can’t specifically call out Hamas and the mounting evidence now over seven weeks that Israeli investigators have collected, that we’ve shown our viewers about the atrocities they committed, specifically on Oct. 7?” Golodryga asked. “Because I think that’s the crux of the issue here. It’s not just condemning sexual violence against women and in any war in general, it’s specifically what occurred on Oct. 7 perpetrated by Hamas.”
But Hendriks refused.
The U.N. Women official claimed her agency “supports impartial, independent investigations into any serious allegations of gender-based or sexual violence” before spending the next minute explaining how the U.N. investigates such allegations.
At no point did Hendriks condemn Hamas for its atrocities against Jewish women in Israel, nor did she explain why U.N. Women has been silent. Instead, she talked about the atrocities as mere allegations not worthy of being discussed as fact.
Meanwhile, U.N. Women has been outspoken about how the war — which Hamas started — has impacted women and girls in Gaza, relying on the casualty figures provided by Hamas. The U.N.’s failure to condemn Hamas outright for its attacks on women has led to bipartisan outrage among U.S. lawmakers.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tried to quiet the criticism on Wednesday but did not condemn Hamas and spoke about Hamas’ atrocities as allegations, not facts.
“There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7 October that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. Gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere,” Guterres said.
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