Ban appeals for more information on Dag Hammarskjöld’s death

18 November 2015

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged United Nations Member States to make available all information they may have in their possession related to the circumstances and conditions of the crash that killed Dag Hammarskjöld while he was serving as UN chief more than 50 years ago, saying previous requests “have not been conclusively answered” and that unreleased material “may still be available” that could shed new light into his death.

Mr. Ban’s call, through a statement issued by his spokesperson, comes on the eve of a UN General Assembly meeting on Thursday, 19 November, to consider a resolution on the issue.

“The Secretary-General is grateful to Member States for their cooperation thus far,” the statement said, adding however that “some of the Panel’s requests for information have not been conclusively answered.”

The statement goes on to say that “there is a possibility that unreleased material relating to the crash of flight SE-BDY on the night between 17 and 18 September 1961 may still be available.”

“Therefore, the Secretary-General again urges all Member States to disclose, declassify or otherwise make available all information they may have in their possession related to the circumstances and conditions of the crash,” it said.

On 2 July 2015, Mr. Ban transmitted to the General Assembly the report of the Independent panel of Experts regarding the investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him.

On Thursday, November 19, the General Assembly is scheduled to meet to consider a resolution on the issue.

Mr. Hammarskjöld served from April 1953 until his death at the age of 56 in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, along with 15 others more in September 1961.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the General Assembly’s upcoming consideration of a resolution on the issue on 19 November,” the statement said. “It underlines the importance of addressing the outcome of the Panel’s report.”

Mr. Ban is expected to inform the General Assembly on any further progress made before the end of its current session.

Earlier this year, the three-member Independent Panel of Experts had found new information relating to ‘crew fatigue’ which contributes to one or more of the hypothesis. Most importantly, the Panel found new information, which it assessed as having moderate probative value, sufficient to further pursue aerial attack or other interference as a hypothesis of the possible cause of the crash.


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