Attention! Tustin Hangar ResourceClick Here

California's 40th District

Nov 30, 2023 | In The News

The Hill

More than 80 House lawmakers are accusing United Nations (UN) Women of disregarding the militant group Hamas’s attack on Israel, which left more than 1,200 people dead.

In a bipartisan letter spearheaded by Reps. Young Kim (R-Calif.) and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla.), the House members demand that UN Women — an arm of the United Nations advocating for gender equality — condemn Hamas for the Oct. 7 attack, and particularly for targeting women.

“The failure by UN Women to publicly stand up for Israeli women and condemn Hamas’ systematic atrocities undermines UN Women and highlights its one-sided approach,” the lawmakers wrote Wednesday to UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous. 

“The documented cases of sexual violence against Israeli women committed by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists were omitted from the UN Women’s October 13th statement ‘condemning’ the attack on Israeli civilians, a long week after the gruesome incident and falling short of UN Women’s important mission,” the lawmakers continued.

The lawmakers pointed to a UN Women report issued last month that detailed how the situation in Gaza after the attacks was affecting Palestinian women, but did not include mention of “any gender-based violence, sexual abuse or mutilation directed at Israeli women or women of other nationalities targeted by terrorists on October 7.”

They said the UN Women’s meeting with the Israeli Civil Commission of Oct. 7 Crimes by Hamas Against Women and Children was encouraging, but was not enough.

“Your disregard and tone deaf response to Hamas’ attack is woefully unsatisfactory and consistent with the UN’s longstanding bias against Israel,” the lawmakers wrote.

Multiple outlets reported that UN Women received backlash for not condemning Hamas after it launched its deadly attack on Israel. Sarah Hendriks, deputy executive director for UN Women, responded to the claims during an interview with CNN’s Bianna Golodryga on Tuesday.

“UN Women is deeply, deeply alarmed at the disturbing reports of gender-based and sexual violence on Oct. 7,” she said. “And as we’ve said in the Security Council and through various platforms, we absolutely unequivocally condemn all forms of violence against women and girls, especially in the context of conflict.”

Golodryga then pressed her on why she “can’t specifically call out Hamas.” Hendriks sidestepped the question, saying that UN Women “always supports impartial independent investigations into any serious allegations of gender based or sexual violence.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the issue in a post on X on Wednesday.

“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,” he wrote.

The Hill has reached out to UN Women for comment.

Signup to receive our Email Newsletters

The Latest News