Statement from Amnesty International on the tragic loss of Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher

The Amnesty International movement is deeply saddened by the tragic death of our colleague Gaëtan Mootoo, Researcher for West Africa, who had been with the organization for more than 30 years. 

Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said:

“So many of us have known or worked closely with Gaëtan over his extraordinary 32 years at Amnesty, and have been enriched by the work and spirit of a true human rights champion. His loss will be felt deeply by many, not least those for whom he secured freedom and justice. No matter who you speak to about Gaëtan, you will hear the same stories about his compassion and kindness, his humanity and humility, his commitment and sensitivity to the people he served, and his deep knowledge of the West Africa region.

“We express our deepest condolences to Gaëtan’s family and loved ones. We will remain inspired by his deep commitment to justice and human rights, and will hold his memory in our hearts.”

Amnesty International is continuing to provide support and counselling for colleagues affected by this tragic loss.

Police have now confirmed that Gaëtan took his own life - he was found in the offices of Amnesty International France in Paris in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 26 May, 2018. Amnesty International is working with the authorities as they investigate this tragic incident.

We now also understand that Gaëtan left a farewell note making it clear that his decision to end his life was because he did not get the help he wanted from Amnesty International. We are devastated by this.

It is absolutely our intention to hold an impartial inquiry and we are currently seeking advice to ensure that this will in no way interfere with the ongoing official investigations.