Join tree-planting ceremonies in honour of UN Sec-General Dag Hammarskjöld (1953-1961)

Published in:

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 (DRC) where he was mediating post-independence conflict. His death, which is still being investigated, precluded him from presenting a decolonisation program to the 1961 UN General Assembly 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.

Organisations and Individuals are invited to join the memorial (online, or face-to-face) on 13 September 2020, or create their own tree-planting ceremony and email a 2-minute video of it to the West Papua Womens office. We particularly invite diaspora communities from places that have been decolonised and those that are still struggling to achieve self-determination. 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. The tree-planting ceremony can take place at any time, but please ensure your video is sent to the office by 15 September 2020.

Inquiries; Louise 0424 745 155;
To send video Go to, add your video, and email Scroll down for 2 sample videos, and the current participants in the project.
Suggested naming 'Hammarskjöld Papuan Tree'.
Suggested wording on plaque i) "This tree Honours UN Sec-General Dag Hammarskjöld (1953-61) Champion of self-determination. West Papua waits for its liberation on this 75th Anniversary of the United Nations 2020". ii) "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 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. We lament Dag Hammarskjöld's untimely death and the OPEX Plan not implemented that would have secured West Papua's self-determination. 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".

Is planting a tree for Dag Hammarskjöld seeding a vote for West Papua at the United Nations?

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 (PDF, A4x2) Click for large view/download/print
Information letter, Dag Hammarskjold tree-memorial
“Hammarskjöld, the UN, West Papua” (below, click for large view); or for PDF at
OPEX, West Papua_compressed

(i) Bishop Philip Huggins, President, National Council of Churches in Australia

(ii) Kim Wilson, Jazz musician

List of Participants

SPONSOR Peter Vince, from Facilities Management Victoria Pty Ltd, planting Bird-of-Paradise for West Papua at 838 Collins St (Melbourne) with the gold shovel he made and gifted to the FRWP Womens Office to remind people of how much the Freeport Gold Mine has extracted from West Papua. In the past twenty years under Special Autonomy 2001, Freeport has paid IDR 200 trillion to the Indonesian Republic.