New York, 16 July 2009 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the murder of human rights activist Natalia Estemirova

The Secretary-General is appalled and saddened by the murder of the Russian human rights activist Natalia Estemirova following her abduction from her home in Grozny.

He urges the Russian authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation in order to bring the perpetrators of this heinous killing to justice, and by so doing, to send a strong and unambiguous message that the targeting of human rights activists will not be tolerated.

The Secretary-General expresses his solidarity with human rights defenders around the world who work courageously and selflessly each and every day, in defense of basic rights and freedoms.