Response to assasination of New Zealand Red Cross nurse in Chechnya

  • Don McKinnon
Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Minister Don McKinnon has expressed anger at the execution of six humanitarian aid workers, including one New Zealand nurse, in Chechnya.

"I was shocked to learn of the cold-blooded execution of Ms Thayer and her five colleagues. She had only recently arrived in the region."

"On behalf of the Government I wish to extend our condolences to Ms Thayer's family and indeed to the families of all the victims. I greatly admire the courage of those who volunteer for service in such war-torn regions. This is a serious set-back to the cause of humanitarian aid."

Mr McKinnon noted that the circumstances of the killing had been well publicised. "I understand there is, as yet, no indication of who might have been responsible. The New Zealand Government trusts that the perpetrators will be found and brought to justice. I am asking my Ambassador in Moscow to report to me as soon as possible."

"This tragedy comes at a time when the peace settlement in Chechnya appears to be holding. I do not know what impact this tragedy will have on the settlement, but we call on all parties to respect the settlement and above all continue to afford the protection that is owed to those courageous aid workers," Mr McKinnon concluded.