City of Moreland joins Yarra and Ballarat Councils on West Papua’s self-determination

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On 14 August 2021, the City of Moreland joins the Yarra and Ballarat Councils in recognising the principle of self-determination as Mayor Mark Riley plants a Hammarskjöld Memorial Tree for West Papua in Balfe Park in Brunswick East (Victoria, Australia). In September 2021 a video-recording of the ceremony will be presented to UN Sec-General Guterres along with the videos of the sixty other memorial plantings in 2020-21.

The link between the murder of UN Sec-General Hammarskjöld and the UN’s discard of West Papua’s self-determination project is complicated, criminal, and has taken decades to unravel. The following is a highly condensed presentation of the known facts.

In 1950 West Papua became a UN Non-Self-Governing Territory under Dutch administration (UN Res 448 (V)). Indonesia argued for UN recognition of its claim of sovereignty in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, but all four endeavours failed.  It then turned to military aggression, parachuting military into West Papua, radio-broadcasting its integration propaganda, acquiring weapons from both Cold War superpowers (the US and USSR) for an invasion and takeover. Early in 1961, Hammarskjöld drew on UN Res. 1514 (XV) to embed Papuan sovereignty over Papuan land and developed a Decolonisation Program for the territory ready for debate in the 1961 General Assembly.  Three days before the Assembly he was killed in a plane ‘crash’ now believed to have been ordered by CIA director Allen Dulles (Greg Poulgrain 2020 JFK vs Allen Dulles: Battleground Indonesia). Without Hammarskjöld’s influential presence the Assembly didn’t pass the motion with a two-thirds majority, and Hammarskjöld’s replacement (U Thant) sponsored a so-called ‘peace treaty’ whereby West Papua was passed to Indonesia after a seven-month UN Trust Administration to oversee the exit of the Dutch.  Dutch negotiators did manage to get ‘self-determination’ included in the treaty (the New York Agreement) but all the UN signatorees knew that Indonesia didn’t recognise the principle (and still doesn’t) even if its constitution declares every nation’s right to it. Consequently there has never been an act of self-determination in West Papua, and to this day West Papua remains an Indonesian colony. 

Ballarat and Yarra Councils, Hammarskjöld-West Papua Memorials, September 2020

Videos of Hammarskjöld-West Papua Memorials planted in 2020-2021

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