On 13 September 2020, West the 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 agreement that facilitated its incorporation of the territory.
Organisations are invited to join the memorial (online, or face-to-face) on 13 September 2020, or create their own tree-planting ceremony (between 12—17 Sept) and email a 2-minute video 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 of Mr Hammarskjöld’s burial in Sweden in 1961—by Herman Wainggai, West Papua’s UN Representative in New York.
Is planting a tree-memorial for Dag Hammarskjöld also seeding a UN vote for West Papua?
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 more recent claims of ‘being a democracy’ and ‘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 hundreds of trees planted as memorials for Dag Hammarskjöld will fortify the activism of states, NGOs, and individuals (Papuan, Indonesian, and International) to raise a motion in the General Assembly where West Papuans current, and historical, arguments for their right of sovereignty over their land can be debated under the auspice of the United Nations. In 2019 the Pacific Islands Forum (18 UN member-states, including Australia and New Zealand) and the African Caribbean Pacific Group (79 member-states) passed motions of preparatory support for West Papua’s registration on the UN Decolonisation List, which should have happened in 1961. The passage of a motion to a resolution requires 2/3 majority support, that is, 130 of the 193 UN member-states, so the support of 30 more states is required.
Detailed Information (A4x2, PDF) for download/print Information letter, Dag Hammarskjold tree-memorial
INQUIRIES: Louise Byrne 0424 745 155