Guest Speaker, Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins
On Sunday 26 March, during the first West Papua Open Day for 2023 Guest Speaker Bishop Philip Huggins was presented with the Hammarskjöld-West Papua Living Memorial documents, including the sixty two-minute videos of tree-planting ceremonies around the world. Bishop Huggins, the first Australian to plant a memorial, promised that the Anglican Communion Permanent Representative to the United Nations will present the files to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN Assistant Secretary-General Gillian Triggs, and the UN 75 Committee. The documentation is designed to remind UN executives, bureaucrats and member-states of the mistake they made in 1961-1962 in transferring the administration of West Papua (then Nederlands Nieuw Guinea) to Indonesia.
Bishop Huggins speech (18-min video)
[click to view] https://youtu.be/VCJGHGbmups
Anglican Church support for West Papua (PDF, photo-essay)
Can UN rectify mistake of transferring West Papua to Indonesia? (Photo-essay)
Gifting Hammarskjöld-West Papua files to Bishop Huggins
Jacob Rumbiak (West Papua Provisional Government) assists Sarah Munyemba (Democratic Republic of Congo), Diana Omabak (West Papua community in Melbourne) and Nely Baransano (West Papua Womens Office) to present the Hammarskjöld-West Papua Living Memorial files to Bishop Philip Huggins (Camera-Erwin Bleskadit, Photos—Tommy Latupeirissa).
View the 60 Hammarskjöld-West Papua Living Memorials
Henning Melber, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Letter
Professor Henning, Director Emeritus of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala, Sweden, sent a message of support for the Hammarskjöld-West Papua Living Memorial project. He explained the importance of reminding the peoples of the world that the right to self-determination and national sovereignty are fundamental values of the United Nations; and how Sec-General Hammarskjöld’s death, in still suspicious circumstances, enabled the denial of this right for West Papuans, and their rule by a foreign power ever since, in open violation of the normative principles the UN Charter. Professor Melber’s inspiring letter, West Papua, a trust betrayed, was read by Imoluk Marcus from Malaysia who is a member of the West Papua Womens Office.
West Papua – A Trust Betrayed
We live in times when the right to self-determination and national sovereignty is under increased siege. These are fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter in support of all people striving for or defending their Independence denied by occupation or invasion. The population of West Papua has for generations been fighting for this right denied.
Dag Hammarskjöld, as second Secretary General of the United Nations, was an advocate of decolonization. He supported the Independence of West Papua. His untimely death left it as a mission unaccomplished and kept the West Papua people under foreign rule – in open violation of the normative principles the UN Charter and Hammarskjöld stood for.
More than sixty years ago, Hammarskjöld died in a plane crash. Its cause remains a matter of renewed investigations by the UN. Mounting evidence suggests that external causes brought the plane down while approaching the airport of the Northern Rhodesian mining town of Ndola. All 16 persons on board were killed. Hammarskjöld’s mission remained unaccomplished. The people of West Papua have since then continued their struggle for self-determination, which Hammarskjöld supported and wanted to achieve. The continued occupation violates their right to freedom and betrays the ethics and conviction of Hammarskjöld as well as the UN Charter.
This ceremony of the Hammarskjöld-West Papua Living Memorial Project pays tribute to the legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld and the values he supported as Secretary General of the UN. It is a reminder that his untimely death prevented the rightful transfer of power and governance to the people of West Papua in a sovereign state. It remains an obligation for all, who believe in the right of people to govern themselves, to support their continued struggle.
May this solemn symbolic act of today be a reminder that as long as the people of West Papua are under foreign rule, we owe them our solidarity in their demand for Independence.
Henning Melber, Director emeritus, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation
PDF of Professor Melber’s Letter of Support
[click to download] West Papua, Henning Melber
Jacob Rumbiak, Update on West Papua
Jacob Rumbiak’s Presentation (10-min video)
[click to view] https://youtu.be/nKMidPgeM-U
Jacob Rumbiak’s Presentation (PDF, text)
[click to download] Jacob Rumbiak’s presentation, 26 March 2023
Heaven is within, Tony Millman’s new song for West Papua
Heaven is within draws on the biblical Luke’s 17:20 and was sparked by Paul van Kalken’s mum’s favourite Dutch maxim ‘Heaven hasn’t yet opened a sub-branch down here’ (Paul is the popular Concierge at the Melbourne Town Hall). The lyrics are particularly relevant as the leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group this month as Benny Wenda and Morris Kaloran (West Papua Provisional Government) lobby the Vanuatu and Fiji governments to vote, in June, for West Papua to take its rightful place as a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Lyrics: V1: Heaven won’t be coming to a neighbourhood near you/Heaven won’t open a sub-branch anytime soon/And while our prayers float slowly down to earth/The miracle within us all continues to give birth. V2: The earthly affairs of this mortal domain keep us running around this spiral of mischief and pain/And as we petition the concierge with our hopes and all of our fears/The answers keep flowing within our blood & our tears.
Dr Joe’s amazing auction for WP Rent Collective
Joe Toscano is the founder of the West Papua Rent Collective and his auctions every three months help pay the rent on our glorious five-star-energy office in Docklands.
1. Rare historic (1979) tea chest from Papua New Guinea
2. Maxi McNaughton’s spectacular painting of a Melanesian Hornbill
The Papuan Hornbill is a true Melanesian bird, ranging from the Maluku ‘spice’ Islands that shadow the west coast of West Papua, New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago and out to the Solomon Islands. The spectacular bird is a geophagine (eats soil), which Jared Diamond (1999) argued ‘bound poisonous and/or bitter-tasting secondary compounds in ingested fruits and seeds’. West Papuans call them the ‘whoosh whoosh bird’, after the sound of their wings in motion. Jacob Rumbiak, from Yabon village in the Birdshead, claims he and his brother trained their hornbill to protect the family’s chickens from eagles. Lovers of The Lion King might recall that it was a (red-billed) hornbill called Zazu who saves King Musafa’s girlfriend from a committee of vultures.
3. David McKenzie’s wooden stool hand-hewn from a stump near the Buchan Caves
The Buchan Caves in East Gippsland are highly significant to the Gunaikurnai custodians, and are also home to the Bell Miner, Powerful Owl, Superb Lyrebird and Pied Currawong. The vast caverns are a honeycomb of spectacular limestone formations carved by an underground river 400 million years ago, with magnificent stalactite and stalagmite forms, pillars and rim pools, and an ancient flowing stream. Nurtured by an ancient flowing stream, this sculpted tree carries stories of Aboriginal lore and ceremony, as well as colonial massacre and desecration.