UN chief urges States to disclose information concerning death of Dag Hammarskjöld

2 May 2017

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has urged Member States to disclose, declassify or allow access to information that they may have regarding the tragic 1961 plane crash that killed former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and the members of the party accompanying him, a UN spokesman said today.

Mr. Guterres also urged Member States to actively assist Mohamed Othman, former Chief Justice of Tanzania, in his work as the Eminent Person looking into the causes of those deaths, according to a statement issued by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

“The Secretary-General affirms his own commitment to this matter in the strongest terms as he strongly feels that he owes it to his illustrious and distinguished predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, and to the other members of the party accompanying him and to their families, to pursue the full truth of this matter,” the statement said.

Mr. Othman was Chair of the 2015 Independent Panel of Experts, which concluded, among other things, that there was significant new information with sufficient probative value to further pursue aerial attack or other interference as a hypothesis of the possible cause of the crash.

The current stage of the work will build on the findings of the 2015 Panel. The Eminent Person’s mandate is to review potential new information, assess its probative value, and determine the scope that any further investigation should take. The mandate also allows him to potentially draw conclusions from the investigations already conducted, including those of the 2015 Panel, and of the 2013 Hammarskjöld Commission.

At the daily briefing in the UN’s New York Headquarters, Mr. Dujarric said Mr. Othman has noted that more active cooperation is necessary from Member States to declassify or otherwise allow access to records that are now over 55 years old.

Mr. Dujarric also noted that Mr. Othman held meetings last week with Member States in New York, and will continue to liaise with relevant parties prior to reporting his findings to the Secretary-General before the end of the current UN General Assembly session.


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