Agenda item 129: Investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him

Statement by Ambassador Olof Skoog, Sweden. New York,  19 November 2015

Mr. President,


I am very pleased to be able to introduce today, on behalf of all the co-sponsors, the draft resolution contained in document A/70/L.9 concerning the investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and the colleagues accompanying him. We are grateful to all Delegations that have joined us in this endeavour and I would like to thank all co-sponsors for their support.


Mr. President,


The influence of Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, on the role and function of the UN has been profound, and remains to this day. His dedication to the office he held, his moral leadership in a world of turmoil and cold war, his courageous stand both in words and deeds continue to stand out as exceptional. They still resonate in this Assembly. He promoted the integrity of the United Nations; was meticulously loyal to the ideals of the Charter, fought hard for the independence and integrity of his office, and showed creativity and innovation by conceiving the concept of preventive diplomacy and setting up the first UN peacekeeping operation, UNEF, in 1956.


The contrast between what we know about Hammarskjöld’s life and legacy – even his inner thoughts – on the one hand, and what we still don’t know about the circumstances surrounding his death remains troubling.


Last year the General Assembly adopted a resolution requesting the Secretary-General to appoint an independent panel of experts to examine new information and to assess its probative value; and encouraged Member States to release any relevant records in their possession and to provide to the Secretary-General relevant information related to the death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him.


We would like to thank the panel of experts for their important work. The pursuit of bringing clarity to the circumstances of the incident is particularly important to the families of all 16 victims – some of whom are present today - but also to the UN as an organization and it should remain so also for all of us as we try to come together to continue the work left unfinished by his premature death.


Mr. President,


It is clear from eyewitness accounts, observations and additional information contained in the report regarding the possible cause of the crash, that there is need for a follow-up. We agree with the Secretary-General that this may be the last chance to find the truth and that it is our shared responsibility to pursue the full truth concerning the fateful planecrash in Ndola 54 years ago. We therefore join the Secretary-General in his call to Member States to disclose all information that may be of relevance to the case.  


In light of this, and in firm support of the Secretary-General’s recommendations on the way forward, Sweden, together with partners, is introducing the draft resolution before you today.


The resolution has four operational elements:


Firstly, it requests the Secretary-General to pursue the pending requests for information made by the Independent Panel of Experts to Member States as well as to explore the feasibility of the establishment of a central archival holding or other holistic arrangement in line with the recommendations of the Independent Panel of Experts;


Secondly, it urges all Members States, in particular those addressed in the report of the Independent Panel of Experts, to release any records in their possession relevant to the death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him;


Thirdly, it requests the Secretary-General to inform the General Assembly before the end of its seventieth session on any further progress made; and


Fourthly, it decides to include the item in the provisional agenda of its seventy-first session.


Sweden is grateful for the support already received for this initiative, and in particular for the valuable partnership with Zambia.


Mr. President,


It is the sincere hope of my government that the momentum from this year’s efforts can be harvested and the unresolved questions answered, out of respect for the memory of Dag Hammarskjöld and those who perished with him. I am confident that we will have your full support for the resolution and your full cooperation in its implementation.


Thank you, Mr. President.