Nelson Mandela thanks UN for efforts to secure his release; urges continued sanctions against South Africa

Nelson Mandela thanks UN for efforts to secure his release; urges continued sanctions against South Africa

Nelson Mandela thanks UN for efforts to secure his release; urges continued sanctions against South Africa

On 22 June 1990, Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC), spoke from the rostrum of the General Assembly, thanking the United Nations for its efforts to secure his release and that of other South African political prisoners. He then urged the United Nations and individual Governments to continue the sanctions which they had imposed on South Africa.

“Nothing which has happened in South Africa calls for a revision of the positions that this Organization has taken in its struggle against apartheid”, Mr. Mandela told the Special Committee against Apartheid meeting convened in his honour. “We, therefore, strongly urge that there be no relaxation of existing measures. The sanctions that have been imposed by the United Nations and by individual Governments should remain in place.”

Mr. Mandela said his appearance at the United Nations was a moving moment for him since he stood among friends and people of conscience. “We know this because we know what you did over the decades to secure my release and the release of other South African political prisoners from Pretoria’s dungeons.”

At the initiative of the ANG, he said, a process had begun which could lead to a just political settlement in South Africa. However, a lot still remained to be done before it could be said that a climate conducive to negotiations had been created. The fact that a good beginning had been made should not lead anyone to conclude that further progress was assured or that there would not be major obstacles to confront in the future.

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar welcomed Mr. Mandela as “a champion of freedom and justice for all”. His presence at the UN was a landmark in the Organization’s long involvement in the struggle by the people of South Africa against the apartheid system, he said.

General Assembly President, Joseph N. Garba of Nigeria, said that Mr. Mandela had emerged as a “unifying force bringing hope to a tormented country”. The Chairman of the Special Committee, Ibrahim A. Gambari of Nigeria, stated that Mr. Mandela had become the moral conscience of the world.

Change begins in

South Africa, but

violence persists

Changes have already begun to take place for the creation of an appropriate climate in which negotiations between the political parties and movements in South Africa could take place, Under-Secretary-General Abdulrahim Farah said on 19 June in Johannesburg, at the end of his 10-day fact-finding mission to that country.

Mr. Farah headed a team of senior UN officials sent to South Africa on 9 June by Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar to gather information on measures taken to end the apartheid system. The “important” policy initiatives announced by President F. W. de Klerk last February had been warmly welcomed by all organizations the UN mission had met, Mr. Farah said.

However, the mission had noted with concern the alarming degree of violence occurring in many parts of South Africa. The Secretary-General’s envoy called for confidence-building measures to reduce political violence. The UN supported the view that the apartheid system must be “ended through negotiations”, he stated.

Oil embargo violations

tracked down

Ships with petroleum-bearing capabilities, which made port calls in South Africa, could be a major element in clandestine violations of the General Assembly’s oil embargo against that country, the UN body monitoring the embargo reported.

The Intergovernmental Working Group to Monitor the Supply and Shipping of Oil and Petroleum Products to South Africa stated on 12 June that it was still investigating 415 unclarified port calls made in South Africa in 1988 and 1989 by ships with some 22 million tons of petroleum cargo capacity.

The Working Group recommended that countries which have banned crude oil exports to South Africa also include petroleum products in their legislation.

Other news

* More than $12 million for various UN trust funds and programmes for southern Africa were pledged and contributed on 19 April by 34 Governments.

* The latest register of sports contacts with South Africa (January-December 1989) was released on 30 May. The register is an important tool to help ensure the total boycott of apartheid in sports.

* A draft Bill of Rights for South Africa–prepared by the South African Law Commission–which explicitly bans racial discrimination was presented on 29 June at a press conference at Headquarters. Commission Chairman Judge Hendrik van Heerden said the document had been accepted in principle by the South African Government in February.

* The International Day of Solidarity withthe Struggling People of South Africa was observed at Headquarters on 15 June, on the fourteenth anniversary of the killings in Soweto of black school children protesting apartheid in South Africa.

COPYRIGHT 1990 United Nations Publications

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