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Collins, Bipartisan Group Lead Push Condemning United Nations’ Inaction on Hamas’s Sexual Violence Against Women

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jacky Rosen (D-NC), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Ben Cardin D-MD) led a bipartisan group of 28 colleagues in a letter condemning the United Nations (UN) for its inaction 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.

“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.

Since October 7th, Senator Collins has called for holding Hamas accountable and for immediate U.S. action to support Israel. Shortly after the attack, Senator Collins joined a bipartisan delegation of 10 Senators who visited Israel to meet with victims as well as the families of hostages, and to express strong support for U.S. aid to Israel in the wake of Hamas’ terrorist attack. Senator Collins also cosponsored a bipartisan resolution in support of Israel, which passed the Senate by a vote of 97-0.

Senators Collins, Rosen, Ernst, Gillibrand, and Cardin were joined in sending this letter 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).