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18 September 2018

Secretary-General, on Fifty-Seventh Anniversary of Dag Hammarskjöld’s Death, Honours His Idealism, Integrity, Warning against Divisions, Self-Interest

Following are UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ remarks at the wreath‑laying ceremony commemorating the fifty-seventh anniversary of the death of former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, in New York today:

We gather to honour the life and legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld on this fifty‑seventh anniversary of his death.  Despite the passage of decades, his light of idealism, integrity and action continues to illuminate our hearts, and indeed, the very soul of the United Nations.

Earlier this year, I had the immense and inspiring honour of taking part in a Security Council retreat at the home of Dag Hammarskjöld in the south of Sweden.

Dag Hammarskjöld reminded us many decades ago that we are one world.  We have no right to destroy it.  We have no right to allow divides to fester and cause so much suffering.  We have the obligation to forge solutions — and to also find the truth.

In that respect, I want to reinforce my personal commitment to the investigation into the conditions and circumstances relating to the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and other colleagues and crew.  In March, I renewed the mandate of Chief Justice Othman — and I will provide to the General Assembly an update of the Eminent Person’s work later this year.

I take this opportunity to renew my strongest appeal for the cooperation of all Member States that may hold information and records relevant to the investigation.

As we remember the passing of Dag Hammarskjöld — and look forward to the seventy-third session of the General Assembly — let us renew our pledge to advance peace, sustainable development and human rights for everyone, everywhere.

As Dag Hammarskjöld said:  “Future generations may come to say of us that we never achieved what we set out to do.  May they never be entitled to say that we failed because we lacked faith or permitted narrow self-interest to distort our efforts.”

With Dag Hammarskjöld’s foresight and conscience lighting the way, let us strive to do the right thing for our one world.

Please join me in a moment of silence, paying tribute to Dag Hammarskjöld.

For information media. Not an official record.