Tree-memorials for West Papua & UN Sec-General Hammarskjöld

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West Papua Womens Office in Docklands and Democratic Republic of Congo Community (Victoria) are planting a tree in honour of Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN Secretary-General found dead on 18 September 1961 after a plane-crash near the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo where he was mediating post-independence conflict. His death precluded his presentation to the 1961 UN General Assembly of a Decolonisation Program he had developed for the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Dutch-Nieuw Guinea (West Papua).  The program would have deterred Indonesia from invading the territory in 1962, and thus rendered unnecessary the so-called peace treaty that facilitated its incorporation of the territory.

Self-determination advocates are invited to plant a tree and email a 2-minute video or photo of the ceremony to the West Papua Womens office. Diaspora communities from territories that have been decolonised, and those still struggling for recognition, are welcome. The videos will be presented to UN Sec-General Guterres on 29 September—the date Mr Hammarskjöld was buried in Sweden in 1961—by Herman Wainggai, West Papua’s UN Representative in New York. (Click on ‘tree-plantings’ in Table of Contents to view videos and photos).

Speakers at a Zoomar on Sunday 13 September will focus on ‘why and how’ the 1961 UN General Assembly denied the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Dutch Nieuw-Guinea (West Papua) its right of self-determination. Tree-planting videos deemed to have strategic value in generating votes in the United Nations for the West Papua motion in 2021 will be shown.

Inquiries; Louise 0424 745 155;
To send video Go to, add your video, and email to
Suggested name for tree 'Hammarskjöld-WestPapua Living Memorial'
Two suggestions for wording on plaque (1) This tree honours UN Sec-General Dag Hammarskjöld (1953-61) a champion of self-determination. West Papua waits for its liberation on this the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations (2) In honour of Dag Hammarskjöld, UN Sec-General (1953-1961), killed before his Decolonisation Program for West Papua was raised in the 1961 General Assembly.
Suggested speech for ceremony We plant this tree in commemoration of Dag Hammarskjöld's contribution to peace-making and the development of the United Nations. We lament his untimely death and the OPEX Plan not implemented that would have secured West Papua's self-determination. We remember the second Secretary-General for his ethical, moral, visionary, and humane peace-making at this time of the United Nations 75th birthday when our world is in need of qualities such as these to help self-determination for nations struggling against oppression, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. May the legacy of his life, work and writings continue to inspire present and future leaders to assist and refine the UN's role to bring peace and healing to our world. May this tree be a reminder that truth, justice, liberation and love cannot die. And that Dag Hammarskjöld's life and legacy lives on to inspire us now and for future generations. Happy Birthday to the United Nations.

How is planting a tree for Dag Hammarskjöld seeding a vote for West Papua at the UN?

Many UN member-states now recognise that their failure to uphold West Papuans right to self-determination in November 1961 enabled the brutal subjugation of an indigenous people by a foreign state that has never recognised the principle of self-determination (despite being a UN member since 1950).  They also recognise that despite Indonesia’s claims of ‘being a democracy’ and of ‘developing West Papua’, its policies and practices have, in fact, little changed since 1962.  West Papuans in 1962, at the beginning of the Indonesian occupation, constituted 99% of the population. In 2010 they were 30%, and in 2030 they are projected to be just 15%. We anticipate that trees planted in honour of Dag Hammarskjöld will fortify the activism of states, NGOs, and individuals to support a motion in the UN General Assembly where West Papuans current, and historical, arguments for their right of sovereignty (over their land) can be debated. The Pacific Islands Forum (18 UN member-states, including Australia and New Zealand) and the African Caribbean Pacific Group (79 member-states) have passed motions of preparatory support for West Papua’s registration on the UN Decolonisation List, which should have happened in 1961.  However the successful passage of a motion requires 2/3 majority support (130 of the 193 UN member-states).  Will the tree-plantings inspire the support of the 30 more states required?

Tree-planting Project Information

Information letter, Dag Hammarskjold tree-memorial (click for large view/download/print)

“Hammarskjöld, the UN, and West Papua”

23 short fully-referenced photo-essays by Louise Byrne. Click for large view; download/print at OPEX, West Papua_compressed

Videos & Photos of tree-planting ceremonies

55. Hepzibah Farm, Stratham, Western Australia

54. Liz, January 2022, Gisborne, AUSTRALIA

53. Lorna Archer, 18 September 2021, AUSTRALIA

52. Dr Rev. Robert Stringer and Mary Stringer, 18 September 2021, AUSTRALIA

51. Moreland City Council, 14 August 2021, AUSTRALIA

50. Federal Republic of West Papua Office in Docklands, 6 December 2020, AUSTRALIA

49. Byrne Family, 12 July 2021, AUSTRALIA

48. Cyrus Jenson, 16 September 2020, LIBERIA (video)

47. Peter Vince from Facilities Management Victoria Pty Ltd, 11 July 2020, AUSTRALIA

Peter planted a Giant White Bird-of-Paradise for West Papua at 838 Collins St (Melbourne) with the gold shovel he made to remind of how much the Freeport Gold Mine has extracted from West Papua. For example, in the past twenty years under Special Autonomy 2001 Freeport has paid IDR 200 trillion to the Indonesian Republic.

46. Sonabata, 5 December 2020, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Numerous tree-plantings in the Democratic Republic of Congo have generated a memory-and-reconciliation process after the chaos following Congo’s independence in 1960, which included the assassination of the nation’s first Prime Minister (Patrice Lumumba) and the UN Secretary-General (Dag Hammarkskjöld).

45. Tongoa Shepherd Women’s Association, VANUATU

Vanuatu’s first Prime Minister Walter Lin̄i (1980-1991) pledged to never leave West Papua behind (‘Melanesia is not free until all of Melanesia is free’). West Papua is regarded by many as the home of Vanuatu’s ancestors, and its independence from Indonesia has always been a domestic as well as a foreign affairs issue. As West Papua’s UN sponsor, the tiny Pacific nation is raising the Decolonisation motion at the 2021 General Assembly.

44. Iona, 10 December 2020, SCOTTISH BORDER (photo)

43. Ballarat City Council, 18 September 2020, AUSTRALIA

[click for video]
[click for PDF of speeches, including Dr Lance Collins, Deakin University]
Hammarskjold-Papua Tree-planting, Ballarat City Council, 18 Sep 2020, Transcript of Speeches

42. Kim Wilson, Glen Iris, 18 July 2020, AUSTRALIA

41. Faye Gregson, Ashwood, AUSTRALIA

40. Barbara Tipper, Mornington Peninsula, AUSTRALIA

39. Divine You Contemplative and Spirituality Centre, Narrogin, AUSTRALIA

38. Aretha Brown, Prime Minister, Indigenous National Youth Parliament, AUSTRALIA

37. Association of Women Teachers in Catholic Schools, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

[click to open video]

36. Barbara Toiya, Kair, Womkama, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

35. Michael O’Farrell, St Martin de Porres (IRELAND)

34. The Solomon Islands

33. University of Wollongong University, New South Wales (AUS)

32. Yarra City Council, Victoria (AUS)

31. Karina Davies, Fitzroy, AUSTRALIA

30. Ucak Felle, Adolf Mora, Feki Pirimapun, Peter Elaby, WEST PAPUA

29. Peter & Janette Woods, Mornington Peninsula, AUSTRALIA

28. Ian Wallbridge, Anglicare, AUSTRALIA

27. John MacInnes, 3WayFM Warrnambool (AUS)

26. Mr and Mrs Marilyn Woodward, Victoria (AUS)

25. Mesake Saqanamua (Koroi), Nausori, FIJI

24. Babuan Mirino, Chair, FRWP Womens Office, Docklands, AUSTRALIA

23. John and Trish Gratton Wilson, Warrnambool, AUSTRALIA

22. Jacob Rumbiak, United Liberation Movement for WWEST PAPUA

21. Ronny and Sixta Mambor, Canberra, AUSTRALIA

20. Kangi Community in Western Bahr El Ghazal State, SOUTH SUDAN

19. Pass New Nation Secondary School, Kangi, Western Bahr El Ghazal, SOUTH SUDAN

18. Melbourne West Papua Association, Boroondara, AUSTRALIA

17. Dom Boaventura Youth Centre (Centro Foinsae Dom Boaventura) and Cablaqui Community Development Centre, Manufahi, Same, TIMOR LORO SA’E

16. The Goulding Family, FIJI-AUSTRALIA

15. Gil Santos, for Mystic Trio and Dili Allstars, EAST TIMOR-AUSTRALIA

14. Bishop Philip Huggins, President, National Council of Churches in AUSTRALIA

13. Calvary Church of All Nations, Heidelberg, AUSTRALIA
[click to view]

12. St Joseph’s Spirituality and Education Centre, Kincumber, AUSTRALIA

11. Wenslaus Edowai planting for Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, Western Australia

10. Goulding Family, FIJI-AUSTRALIA

9. Aldyth Williams, Victoria, AUSTRALIA

8. Jacqui Young, Jabiru, Kakadu, Northern Territory, AUSTRALIA

7. Holy Trinity Church, Williams, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

6. Mikaela Goulding & Pauline Simpson, Northwest Victoria, AUSTRALIA

5. Stand With Kashmir, Ashan Mantoo, KASHMIR-AUSTRALIA

4. Robert Young from Fiji, Bass Coast, Victoria, AUSTRALIA

3. Montmorency Bush Reserve, Victoria, AUSTRALIA

2. Darfur International Organisation, Hafir Bassy, SUDAN

1. Uniting Church, Kingswood College, Surrey Hills, AUSTRALIA

Radio Interview, Professor Henning Melber, 2 April 2016

The Truth Perspective: Interview with Henning Melber: Dag Hammarskjold, why he died and why it matters Truth Perspective, SOTT Radio Network

Radio Interview, Louise Byrne, 28 July 2020

Louise Byrne Hammarskjold, West Papua, and the UN 3CR Tuesday Hometime, 28 July 2020 (from 1:29:00 to 2:00:00)

UN photos: Opening, Dag Hammarskjöld Bridge, Leopoldville (Congo), 17 September 1962

i) Dag Hamarskjöld Bridge in Leopoldville was opened on 17 September 1962 at a ceremony attended by members of the Central Government, members of the Leopoldville Provincial Government, the Diplomatic Corps, ONUC officials, and a large crowd of Congolese. The bridge, on Avenue Engles, is a continuation of Leopoldville’s main roadway, the Blvd. Albert, and is considered of major importance to Leopoldville Province as it connects the area where the provincial administration and services are located with the rest of the city. This bridge is the first major construction work completed in the Congo with UN aid. It has a span of 40 meters. 17 September 1962, Leopoldville, Republic of the Congo, UN Photo Library, Photo # 209485.

ii) The memorial plaque built into the Dag Hammarskjöld Bridge, 17 September 1962, Leopoldville, Republic of the Congo, UN Photo Library, Photo # 209482. The plaque was removed at some stage, but has since been replaced.

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