UN representative on sexual violence in conflict to visit Israel and West Bank


The UN expert working to eliminate rape during wartime has been invited to Israel by the Government to gather information on sexual violence reportedly committed in the context of the 7 October Hamas attacks and their aftermath. 

Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, will also visit the occupied West Bank, where she will meet with the Palestinian Authority, civil society organizations, recently released detainees and other relevant actors.

The visit is set to start on Monday and will conclude in early February. 

Giving voice to survivors

“The mission of the Special Representative aims to give voice to survivors, witnesses, recently released hostages and those affected, to identify avenues for support, including justice and accountability, and to gather, analyze and verify information to inform reporting to the Security Council in the exercise of her mandate,” her office said in a statement on Thursday.

It is “neither intended nor mandated to be investigative in nature, a mandate which is vested in other entities of the United Nations system, which have expressed their willingness and availability to investigate.”

The mission will include a technical component to gather, analyze and verify relevant information regarding allegations of conflict related sexual violence.

In this regard, Ms. Patten will be accompanied by technical experts with expertise in safe and ethical interviewing of victims and witnesses of sexual violence, on the interpretation of medical and forensic information and on the analysis of open source and digital information.

“The scope and parameters of the visit have been discussed with the relevant authorities with an understanding reached that such a visit is contingent on the ability to operate impartially and independently, which includes unimpeded and confidential access to relevant interlocutors and information,” the statement said. 

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