I am saddened and troubled to learn of the kidnapping and murder of Russian human rights defender, Natalia Estemirova. I share the indignation expressed by the European Union, President Medvedev and human rights advocates at this shocking crime. I extend my deepest sympathies to her family and colleagues.
Natalia Estemirova's work in the field of human rights was internationally renowned. We welcome the announcement that a criminal investigation will be led by the Russian Prosecutor-General. We stress the need for a full and thorough investigation, and hope that it will bring to justice those responsible for her murder.
Our ambassador in Moscow conveyed personal condolences to the head of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Memorial, Natalia Estemirova's employer. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will make representations to the Government of the Russian Federation about Natalia Estemirova's murder. We will press the Russian Government for a full, transparent investigation, which should be conducted at the highest level. We will also continue to press the Russian Government to ensure a safe working environment for NGOs in the region.
We continue to raise concerns about the safety of human rights defenders and journalists in Russia at every opportunity, including at the bilateral human rights consultations which were held in Moscow on
The EU presidency issued a statement on the murder of Natalia Estemirova on