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Statement in relation to the anniversary of the murder of Zaida Catalán

Statement by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström.

One year ago, Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp disappeared. They were later found brutally murdered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The loss has been deeply felt. In Sweden, Zaida was important to many people. Before becoming an international civil servant, she had been a youth leader of one of the political parties now in government. Indeed, she was always on a mission to change the world for the better; to make it more just, equal and dignified. She was energetic, with contagious enthusiasm and an unwavering commitment to her ideals and service.

Since day one, the Swedish government has worked to ensure that the murders are fully investigated, and the perpetrators brought to justice. We support the work of the follow-on mechanism appointed by the Secretary-General to assist Congolese investigative authorities. Further international investigation may be necessary. And if so, we will call for it and work to ensure it is carried out. No stone should be left unturned in this work.

This is important not only for the sake of achieving justice for Zaida and Michael. It also matters because they worked for the UN, as members of a group mandated by the Security Council. The safety of sanctions experts must be ensured, because this must never happen again. For this reason, Sweden took the initiative to include a specific criterion related to sanctions expert in the sanction regime for the DRC. Work is also underway within the UN system to review security routines for experts in the field. Sweden will continue to promote human rights and democratic development in the DRC, to carry forward the legacy of Zaida and Michael.