United Nations and Apartheid Timeline 1946-1994

1946
22 June, The Government of India requested that the question of the treatment of Indians in the Union of South Africa be included in the agenda of second part of the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act ("Ghetto Act") had been enacted earlier in the month and the Indian community began a passive resistance campaign on 13 June under the leadership of Dr. Y.M. Dadoo and Dr. G.M. Naicker. Nearly 2,000 people courted imprisonment in the campaign in the next two years.
24 October, The General Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations did not support the request of the Union of South Africa that the Indian complaint be removed from the agenda on the grounds that the matter was essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of South Africa.
26 October, The General Assembly of the United Nations decided to include in its agenda an item entitled: "Treatment of Indians in the Union of South Africa". It rejected South Africa's contention that the matter was within the domestic jurisdiction of South Africa and that the United Nations was not competent to consider the matter.
31 October, The General Assembly of the United Nations decided that the Indian complaint against South Africa should be considered jointly by the First and Sixth Committees.
21 November - 30 November, The Indian complaint against South Africa was considered in the Joint First and Sixth Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
A multi-racial delegation from South Africa, led by Dr. A.B. Xuma, President-General of the African National Congress, arrived in New York to follow the discussions at the United Nations, advise the Indian delegation, and lobby other delegations. It included Sorabjee Rustomjee, H.A. Naidoo and Senator H. Basner.
7 December - 8 December, debate in the General Assembly of the United Nations on the Indian complaint against South Africa (plenary meetings 50-52).
8 December, The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 44(I), expressing the opinion that the treatment of Indians in South Africa should be in conformity with the international obligations under the agreements concluded between the two Governments, and the relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter.
1947
November, The General Assembly of the United Nations was unable to adopt any resolution on the Indian complaint for lack of a two-thirds majority. The vote was 31 in favour, 19 against and 6 abstentions.
1948
12 July, India again requested consideration of the complaint against South Africa. It pointed out that the new Government in South Africa was committed to "apartheid" and the domination of all non-White peoples by the Europeans" and warned: "If the belief that there is to be one standard of treatment for the White races and another for the non-White continues to gain strength among the latter, the future for solidarity among the Members of the United Nations and, consequently, for world peace, will indeed be dark."
1949
14 May, The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 265 (III) inviting India, Pakistan and South Africa to enter into discussion at a round-table conference.
August, India proposed a round-table conference with South Africa and Pakistan. South Africa suggested a preliminary discussion by representatives.
1949
28 November, India announced that a preliminary conference would be held on 6 February 1950 in Cape Town to discuss the procedure of the proposed round-table conference on the question of Indians in South Africa.
1950
February, Preliminary conversations began in Cape Town by representatives from India, Pakistan and South Africa. 0n 19 February, they announced agreement to hold a round-table conference "to explore all possible ways and means of settling the Indian question in South Africa."
June, India announced decision not to participate in the proposed round-table conference because of the introduction of the Group Areas Bill.
2 December, The General Assembly of the United Nations declared that "a policy of 'racial segregation' (apartheid) is necessarily based on doctrines of racial discrimination". [Resolution 395(V)]
1952
26 June, A non-violent "Campaign of Defiance against Unjust Laws" was launched by the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress, and began in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. Over 8,000 persons of all racial origins courted imprisonment in the campaign by contravening selected discriminatory laws and regulations.
12 September, Thirteen Asian-African Member States - Afghanistan, Burma, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - requested that the General Assembly of the United Nations consider "the question of race conflict in South Africa resulting from the policies of apartheid of the Government of the Union of South Africa".
17 October, The General Assembly of the United Nations included item on apartheid in the agenda by a vote of 45 to 6, with 8 abstentions.
5 December, The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 616(VII) establishing a three-member Commission to study the racial situation in South Africa (United Nations Commission on the Racial Situation in the Union of South Africa - UNCORS). The vote was 35 to 1, with 23 abstentions.
21 December, The General Assembly of the United Nations decided, at the suggestion of the President, that the commission be composed of Hernan Santa Cruz of Chile, Ralph Bunche of USA, and Jaime Torres Bodet of Mexico.
1953
30 March, The General Assembly of the United Nations appointed Henri Laugier of France and Dantes Bellegarde of Haiti to replace Messrs. Bunche and Torres Bodet who were unable to serve on the commission.
30 December, The General Assembly of the United Nations rejected a South African draft resolution to decide, having regard to Article 2, paragraph 7 of the Charter, that it had no competence to adopt the draft resolution recommended by the Ad Hoc Political Committee. The vote was 42 to 8, with 10 abstentions.
Those voting in favour of the South African motion were Australia, Belgium, Colombia, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Union of South Africa, United Kingdom.
Those abstaining were: Argentina, Canada, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Turkey, USA and Venezuela.
Resolution 721 (VIII) was adopted by 38 votes to 15, with 7 abstentions.
1954
14 December, General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 820 (IX) on apartheid by 35 votes to 16, with 9 abstentions.
1955
The South African Government withdrew from membership in the UNESCO in protest against UNESCO's activities against racial discrimination.
6 December, General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 917 (X) on apartheid by 41 votes to 6, with 8 abstentions. A paragraph requesting UNCORS to continue its work was voted on by roll-call and rejected, having failed to receive a two-thirds majority: the vote was 33 to 17, with 9 abstentions. As a result, the agenda item had to be proposed annually.
1956
27 November, South Africa's Minister for External Affairs, Eric Louw, announced during the general debate in the General Assembly of the United Nations that in the face of the continued interference by the General Assembly of the United Nations in South Africa's domestic affairs in violation of Article 2, paragraph 7 of the Charter, the Union of South Africa, while as yet continuing to be a Member of the United Nations, would in future maintain only token representations at the meetings of the General Assembly of the UN and at the Headquarters of the Organisation.
1957
30 January, The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 1016 (XI) on apartheid by 56 votes to 5, with 12 abstentions.
26 November, The General Assembly adopted resolution 1178 (XII) on apartheid by 59 votes to 6, with 14 abstentions.Australia, Belgium and UK were against retaining the item on the agenda. Several others - including Canada and USA - questioned the propriety or desirability of adopting new resolutions on the matter.
1958
South Africa resumed full participation in the UN, having noted a more conciliatory attitude taken by the Assembly during its 12th session in 1957.
30 October, TheGeneral Assembly of the United Nations adoptedresolution 1248 (XIII) on apartheid. The operativeparagraphs were general and only one referredspecifically to South Africa, expressing "regret and concern" that the South African Government "has not yet responded to appeals of the General Assembly that it reconsider governmental policies which impair the right of all racial groups to enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms".
1959
17 November, GeneralAssembly of the United Nations adopted resolution1375 (XIV) on apartheid. It was similar to theresolution of the previous year, except thatit expressed "deep regret and concern".
1960
21 March, Police shooting at peaceful demonstrators in Sharpeville against pass laws for Africans: 69 men, women and children were killed and about 200 wounded.
25 March, Representativesof 29 African and Asian members requested anurgent meeting of the Security Council to consider "the situation arising out of the large-scale killings of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators against racial discrimination and segregation in the Union of South Africa".
30 March, TheSecurity Council began consideration of the situationin South Africa, under an agenda item entitled: "The situation arising out of the large-scale killings of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators against racial discrimination and segregation in the Union of South Africa".
1 April, TheSecurity Council, in its first action on SouthAfrica, adopted resolution 134 (1960) deploringthe policies and actions of the South AfricanGovernment which had given rise to a loss oflife of so many Africans and led to internationalfriction, and called upon that Government toabandon its policies of apartheid and racialdiscrimination. It requested the Secretary-General,in consultation with the South African Government, "to make such arrangements as would adequately help in upholding the purposes and principles of the [United Nations] Charter." Thevote on the resolution was 9 in favour and 2abstentions (France and the United Kingdom).
19 April, First interim report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold, pursuant to the Security Council resolution of 1 April.
June - July, Boycotts of South African goods were being implemented in many countries: labour organisations refused to service South African cargoes
15 - 24 June, Second Conference of Independent African States, at Addis Ababa, called for sanctions against South Africa.
11 October, Second interim report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Security Council resolution of 1 April.
1961
23 January, Reportof the Secretary-General of the United Nations,Dag Hammarskjold, on implementation of SecurityCouncil resolution of 1 April 1960. He statedthat in the course of his discussions with thePrime Minister of South Africa, "so far no mutually acceptable arrangement" hadbeen found on racial policies in South Africa.
March - April, Debate on apartheid at the resumed 15th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. African and Asian delegations pressed for sanctions against South Africa.
The representative of UK said on 5 April that while the importance attached by UK to Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter remained undiminished, it regarded apartheid as being now so exceptional as to be sui generis, and his delegation felt able to consider proposals on the question of the merits.
The Special Political Committee recommended two draft resolutions: an African resolution calling for specific measures and another by 5 Asian countries asking all States to consider separate and collective action as was open to them. In the Plenary on 13 April, the key paragraph of the African draft was voted separately and received 42 votes in favour and 34 against, with 21 abstentions, and was not adopted. The sponsors then withdrew the resolution.
The Asian draft - which condemned apartheid a "reprehensible and repugnant to human dignity" -was adopted by 96 to 1, with 0 abstentions as resolution1598 (XV). Only Portugal voted against. The United Kingdomvoted for a resolution against apartheid for the firsttime. (India, sponsor of this resolution, voted in favourof both drafts).
15 March, Followingstrong opposition in the Conference of CommonwealthPrime Ministers, Dr. Verwoerd announced the withdrawalof South Africa from the Commonwealth "in the interests of South Africa's honour and dignity".
31 May, South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth and proclaimed itself a Republic.
29 June, The International Labour Organisation voted 163-O-89 in favour of a resolution calling for South Africa's withdrawal from the Organisation.
11 October, The General Assembly decided - by 67 votes to 1, with 20 abstentions - to censure the Foreign Minister of South Africa for his offensive speech in the General Assembly. Only South Africa voted against.
1962
23 June, African and some other delegates walked out of the International Labour Conference in Geneva when delegates of the Government and employers of South Africa went to the rostrum to participate in the general debate on the Director-General's report.
In 1961, the conference had asked the Governing Body to forward a request to the South African government to withdraw from the ILO in view of its apartheid policy. The Government ignored the request and sent its three delegations to the present conference. The ILO Constitution had no provision for excluding a member.
24 August, African delegations requested Secretary-General U Thant to help obtain the release of Nelson Mandela. In a statement, they condemned the arrest on 5 August and noted that he was held under the Sabotage Act, which carries a possible death penalty.
6 November, The General Assembly requested Member States to take specific measures to bring about the abandonment of apartheid, including breaking of diplomatic, trade and transport relations. It also established a Special Committee to follow developments and report to the General Assembly and the Security Council. [Resolution 1761(XII)]
[From its session in 1962, the General Assemblycombined the items on the treatment of Indiansin South Africa and on apartheid into one item: "Policiesof Apartheid of the Government of the Republicof South Africa.]
1963
2 April, Firstmeeting of the Special Committee on the Policiesof Apartheid of the Government of the Republicof South Africa (later renamed "Special Committee against Apartheid").
7 August, The Security Council adopted resolution 181 calling upon all States to cease the sale and shipment of arms, ammunition and military vehicles to South Africa.
October, Prominentleaders of the ANC and allied organisations chargedin the "Rivonia trial". (Many of them had beenarrested on the Rivonia farm).
4 December, TheSecurity Council, in resolution 182(1963) calledupon all States "to cease forthwith the sale and shipment of equipment and materials for the manufacture and maintenance of arms and ammunition in South Africa". It requested the Secretary-General to establish a small group of experts to examine methods of resolving the situation in South Africa "throughfull, peaceful and orderly application of humanrights and fundamental freedoms to all inhabitantsof the territory as a whole, regardless of race,colour or creed, and to consider what part theUnited Nations might play in the achievementof this goal."
16 December, The General Assembly appealed for assistance to families of persons persecuted by the South African Government for their opposition to apartheid. [Resolution 1978(XVIII)]
1963 - 1964
11 October, TheGeneral Assembly adopted resolution 1881(XVIII)requesting the Government of South Africa toabandon the "Rivonia trial" of Nelson Mandelaand other leaders, and forthwith to grant unconditionalrelease to all political prisoners and to allpersons imprisoned, interned or subjected toother restrictions for having opposed the policyof apartheid. The vote was 106 to 1, with onlySouth Africa voting against.
(This date was subsequently proclaimed the Day of Solidarity with South African Political Prisoners.)
October - June, The Rivonia Trial, which ended in Mandela, Mbeki, Sisulu, Goldberg, Kathrada, Mhlaba, Mlangeni and Motsoaledi being sentenced to life imprisonment.
1964
14 March, The South African Government announced withdrawal from the International Labour Organisation.
1964 20 April, TheGroup of Experts on South Africa presented itsreport to the Secretary-General, recommendingthat "all the people of South Africa should be brought into consultation and should thus be enabled to decide the future of their country at the national level." TheGroup was set up in pursuance of the SecurityCouncil resolution of 4 December 1963, with Mrs.Alva Myrdal (Sweden) as Chairman. Sir Hugh Foot(United Kingdom) was Rapporteur.
9 June, The Security Council - in resolution 190 - urged the South African Government to end the Rivonia Trial and grant an amnesty to all persons imprisoned or restricted for having opposed the policy of apartheid.
2 June, Nelson Mandela and others sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia trial.
16 June, The Rt. Rev. Joost de Blank presented a petition to the Secretary-General, on behalf of the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners (sponsored by the Anti-Apartheid Movement, London). The petition was signed by 91,691 persons in 28 countries. The World Campaign informed the Secretary-General that the demand for the release of South African political prisoners had been supported by organisations with a membership of over 258 million.
6 November, Vuyisile Mini, Zinakile Mkaba and Wilson Khayinga, three prominent trade union leaders from the Eastern Cape, executed.
1965
9 November, Establishment by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Programme for the Education and Training Abroad of South Africans.
15 December, The General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to establish a United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa to provide humanitarian assistance to persons persecuted under discriminatory and repressive legislation in South Africa and to their dependants.
1966
4- 23 August, International Seminar on Apartheid, Brasilia, organised by the UN Division of Human Rights, the Special Committee against Apartheid and the Government of Brazil - the first of scores of conferences and seminars on apartheid organised or co-sponsored by the United Nations.
26 October, The General Assembly decided - in resolution 2142A (XXI) to proclaim 21 March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Many delegations had proposed that date as it was the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960.
1967
6 March, The Commission on Human Rights deplored the actions of the South African Government as "contrary to international law and international morality".
1968
2 December, The General Assembly requested all States and organisations "to suspend cultural, educational, sporting and other exchanges with the racist regime and with organisations or institutions in South Africa which practice apartheid.
1969
16 April, The Fifth Summit Conference of East and Central African States in Lusaka adopted a Manifesto on Southern Africa.
20 November, The General Assembly - in resolution 2505 (XXIV) - welcomed the Lusaka Manifesto on Southern Africa and recommended it to the attention of all States and peoples.
1970
23 July, Security Council adopted resolution 282 (1970) calling on States to take a series of measures to strengthen the arms embargo against South Africa. The vote was 12 in favour and 3 abstentions (France, UK, USA).
24 October, In a Declaration on the 25th anniversary of the United Nations, the General Assembly described apartheid as "a crime against the conscience and dignity of mankind". (Resolution 2627 (XXV))
1970
13 November, After a challenge of the credentials of the South African delegation by many Member States, the General Assembly approved the report of the Credentials Committee "except with regard to the credentials of the representatives of the Government of South Africa". [(Resolution 2636 (XXV)]
1971
29 November, The General Assembly adopted resolution 2775 D (XXVI) calling for a boycott of sports teams selected in violation of the Olympic principle of non-discrimination. It also condemned the establishment of bantustans and forced removals of African people.
1972
4 February, The Security Council, meeting in Addis Ababa, adopted resolution 311 (1972) condemning apartheid; recognising the legitimacy of the struggle of the oppressed people of South Africa; calling upon South Africa to release all those imprisoned as a result of apartheid; calling upon all States to observe strictly the arms embargo against South Africa; urging governments and individuals to contribute to UN funds to assist victims of apartheid; and commending organisations and individuals assisting in the education and training of South Africans. The vote was 14 in favour and one abstention (France).
15 November, In resolution 2923 E (XXVII), the General Assembly declared that "the United Nations has a vital interest in securing the speedy elimination of apartheid".
1973
9-14 April, International Conference of Experts for Support of Victims of Colonialism and Apartheid in Southern Africa, Oslo.
1973
15-16 June, International Trade Union Conference against Apartheid - organised by the Workers' Group of the ILO Governing Body, in cooperation with the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, at Palais des Nations, Geneva.
1973
30 November, International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid approved by the General Assembly [Resolution 3068(XXVIII)].
14 December, The General Assembly declared that the South African regime has "no right to represent the people of South Africa" and that the liberation movements recognised by the OAU are "the authentic representatives of the overwhelming majority of the South African people". [Resolution 3151 G (XXVIII)]
1974
30 September, The General Assembly decided - by 98 votes to 23, with 14 abstentions - not to accept the credentials of the representatives of South Africa.
At the same meeting, the Assembly adopted - by 125 votes to 1, with 9 abstentions - a resolution calling upon the Security Council "to review the relationship between the United Nations and South Africa in the light of the constant violation by South Africa of the principles of the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." [Resolution 3207 (XXIX)]
18-30 October, The Security Council considered the relationship between the United Nations and South Africa, and received a proposal to recommend to the General Assembly the immediate expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations in compliance with Article 6 of the Charter. The proposal received 10 votes in favour, but was not adopted because of the negative votes of three permanent members - France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
1974
12 November, Asked for an interpretation of the decision not to accept the credentials of the South African delegation, the President of the General Assembly, Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Algeria) said that the consistency with which the Assembly had refused to accept the credentials of the South African delegation was tantamount to saying in explicit terms that the General Assembly refused to allow the South African delegation to participate in its work. The President' ruling was challenged and upheld by a vote of 91 to 22, with 19 abstentions.
16 December, The General Assembly, in resolution 3324 E (XXIX) recommended that "the South African regime should be totally excluded from participation in all international organisations and conferences under the auspices of the United Nations so long as it continues to practice apartheid and fails to abide by United Nations resolutions concerning Namibia and Southern Rhodesia."
1975
18 November, General Assembly adopted resolution 3411 C (XXX) proclaiming "that the United Nations and the international community have a special responsibility towards the oppressed people of South Africa and their liberation movements, and towards those imprisoned, restricted or exiled for their struggle against apartheid."
1976
1 January, The Centre against Apartheid was established in the United Nations Secretariat, with E. S. Reddy, Chief of Section for African Affairs, as director.
16 June, Police fired at a demonstration in Soweto, Johannesburg, of students protesting against "Bantu education" and the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. During that firing and in the ensuing period of nation-wide resistance by students, over a thousand pupils were killed and many more injured.
18 July, The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid came into force.
26 October, SouthAfrica proclaimed the "independence" of one ofthe bantustans, the Transkei. On the same daythe General Assembly rejected the declarationof independence as invalid, and called upon allgovernments to deny any form of recognition toTranskei or other bantustans.
9 November, TheGeneral Assembly adopted a comprehensive "programme of action against apartheid" byGovernments, specialised agencies and other intergovernmentalorganisations, as well as trade unions, churches,anti-apartheid and solidarity movements and othernon-governmental organisations.
It established an Ad Hoc Committee to prepare a declaration on apartheid in sports and an international convention against apartheid in sports.
1977
10 - 11 June, Second International Trade Union Conference for Action against Apartheid, Palais des Nations, Geneva, organised by the Workers' Group of the ILO Governing Body in cooperation with the UN Special Committee against Apartheid.
1977 22 - 26 August, World Conference for Action against Apartheid, Lagos, organised by the United Nations in cooperation with the Organisation of African Unity and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
4 November, Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 418 (1977) imposing mandatory arms embargo against South Africa.
14 December, International Declaration against Apartheid in Sports proclaimed by the General Assembly [resolution 32/105M)].
1978
14 - 25 August, World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, Geneva.
11 October, At a special meeting of the General Assembly, the United Nations gave awards to the following seven persons in recognition of their contribution, in cooperation with the United Nations, to the international campaign against apartheid:
The Reverend Canon L. John Collins (United Kingdom)
Michael Manley (Jamaica)
The late General Murtala Mohamed (Nigeria)
The late Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egypt)
The late Jawaharlal Nehru (India)
Olof Palme (Sweden)
The late Paul Robeson (United States of America)
1978 - 1979
21 - 20 March, International Anti-Apartheid Year [proclaimed by the General Assembly in resolution 32/105B of 14 December 1977].
1979
28 March, The World Campaign against Military and Nuclear Collaboration with South Africa was launched in London, with the support of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid. Several Heads of State and Government were its patrons and Abdul S. Minty its Director.
26 October, The General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to conduct an investigation into reports concerning a nuclear explosion by South Africa in the area of the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic on 22 September.
5 December, South Africa was expelled from the annual General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, meeting in New Delhi.
1980
March, Following the Rhodesian elections, the Sunday Post, Johannesburg, launched a campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela; it received wide support in the country.
1 April, A summit meeting of nine southern African countries in Lusaka decided to form the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) to promote regional development and lessen dependence on South Africa.
13 June, Security Council adopted resolution 473 (1980), following police violence against a series of demonstrations by students and other groups in South Africa, strongly condemning the South African regime for further aggravating the situation. It called on that regime to end violence against the African people, and take a series of measures to eliminate apartheid and grant equal rights to all South Africans. It urgently called for "the release of all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela and all other black leaders with whom the regime must deal in any meaningful discussion of the future of the country."
1981
15 May, First register of sports contacts with South Africa published by the Special Committee against Apartheid.
20 - 27 May, International Conference on Sanctions against South Africa organised by the United Nations, in cooperation with the OAU, at UNESCO House, Paris.
18 June, ILO General Conference in Geneva condemned apartheid as degrading, criminal and inhuman, and decided to give ILO assistance to South African liberation movements. It set up a permanent conference committee to monitor South Africa's racial policies and approved ILO technical assistance to liberation movements through a voluntary fund.
9 August, International Day of Solidarity with the Struggle of Women of South Africa and Namibia was observed for the first time, on the 25th anniversary of the demonstration of South African women against pass laws.
10 December, The Committee of Artists of the World against Apartheid was established in Paris with the support of the Special Committee against Apartheid.
1982
International Year of Mobilisation for Sanctions against South Africa [proclaimed by the General Assembly in resolution 36/172B of 17 December 1981].
21 March, Declaration by about 1,500 Mayors calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and all other South African political prisoners published by the Special Committee against Apartheid. (The Declaration was initiated by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, the Right Honourable Mr. David Kelly, with the support of the Special Committee.
24 - 26 May, Asian Regional Conference for Action against Apartheid, Manila, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid in cooperation with the Government of the Philippines.
5 November, On the 20th anniversary of the General Assembly resolution on sanctions against South Africa, the United Nations presented awards, for outstanding contribution to the international movement for sanctions against South Africa, to:
the late President Houari Boumediene (Algeria)
Romesh Chandra (India)
Madame Jean Martin-Cisse (Guinea)
The Most Reverend Trevor Huddleston, C.R. (United Kingdom)
The late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (United States of America)
Jan Nico Scholten (Netherlands)
1983
21 March, Publication of declaration for the release of Nelson Mandela and all other South African Political Prisoners signed by over 4,000 public leaders. The declaration was initiated by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston in cooperation with the Special Committee against Apartheid
10 - 11 June, International Conference of Trade Unions on Sanctions and other Actions against the Apartheid Regime in South Africa, Palais des Nations, Geneva, organised by the Workers' Group of the ILO Governing Body and the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, in cooperation with the United Nations Council for Namibia, the OAU and the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity.
16 - 18 September, Latin American Regional Conference for Action against Apartheid, Caracas, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid in cooperation with the Government of Venezuela.
26 October, The Special Committee against Apartheid published the first Register of Entertainers, Actors and Others who have Performed in South Africa.
22 November, Opening of the Art Contre/Against Apartheid exhibit at the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastique, Paris, sponsored by the Committee of Artists of the World against Apartheid, in cooperation with the Special Committee against Apartheid.
5 December, The General Assembly adopted a new programme of action against apartheid.
1984
18 - 21 June, North American Regional Conference for Action against Apartheid, United Nations Headquarters, New York, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid.
7 - 9 August, Conference of Arab Solidarity with the Struggle for Liberation in Southern Africa, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid, in cooperation with the League of Arab States.
17 August, The Security Council rejected and declared null and void the new racist constitution of South Africa. It urged governments and organisations not to accord recognition to the "elections" under that constitution. (Resolution 554)
1985
7 - 10 May, International Conference on Women and Children under Apartheid, Arusha, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid in cooperation with OAU and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania.
16 - 18 May, International Conference on Sports Boycott against South Africa, UNESCO House, Paris, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid in cooperation with the Supreme Council on Sports in Africa and the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee.
26 July, The Security Council urged Member States to adopt a wide range of economic measures against South Africa. The resolution was, however, not binding on Member States. [resolution 569]
10 December, The General Assembly adopted and opened for signature the International Convention against Apartheid in Sports.
1986
16 June - 20 June, World Conference on Sanctions against Racist South Africa, UNESCO House, Paris, organised by the United Nations in cooperation with OAU and the Movement of Non-aligned Countries.
1987
16 April, The Security Council called upon South African authorities to revoke the decree of 10 April prohibiting protests against detention without trial.
31 - 3 August, International Student Conference in Solidarity with the Struggle of the Students of Southern Africa, London.
5 - 7 November, International Conference against Apartheid Sport, Harare, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid in cooperation with the Government of Zimbabwe, the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa, the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, the Union of African Sports Confederations, SAN-ROC and the Zimbabwe National Olympic Committee.
1988
8 March, Britain and the United States vetoed a draft resolution in the United Nations Security Council, following the banning of organisations in South Africa, for selective mandatory sanctions (based largely on measures adopted by the EEC).
3 April, The International Convention against Apartheid in Sports entered into force.
6 May, An ILO tripartite conference on action against apartheid, held in Harare, Zimbabwe from 3-6 May, updated a declaration and a plan of action to help end apartheid and bring independence to Namibia that included sanctions and assistance to the front-line and neighbouring States. The conference was attended by representatives of governments, employers and workers appointed by the ILO's governing body, by similar tripartite delegations from the frontline and other southern African states, and by other governments, international organisations such as the UN and the OAU, and national liberation movements.
26 October, The regime held nation-wide multiracial segregated municipal elections, the first time that it held elections on the same day for all racial population groups, even separately. The black majority followed the call of anti-apartheid forces and largely boycotted the elections, with only an estimated 14 per cent of "eligible" black voters participating, some 435,000 of 3.1 million out of a black population of 28 million.
The UN General Assembly the same day overwhelmingly rejected the elections as a manoeuvre to further entrench white minority rule and apartheid.
1989
16 January, The Security Council, in response to the 22 December signing by Angola, Cuba and South Africa of a treaty for a settlement in south western Africa, adopted two resolutions on the question. In the first, the Council expressed support for the treaty, called upon all parties concerned, as well as all Member States, to cooperate in its implementation, and requested the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed on the implementation of the resolution. In the second, the Council decided that implementation of the plan contained in its resolution 435 (1978) for the independence of Namibia would begin on 1 April 1989, and requested the Secretary-General to prepare a report that would include possible cost-saving measures for putting it into effect.
21 August, The Assembly of Heads of State of OAU, meeting in Harare, adopted a declaration, suggested by ANC, on South Africa recognising that possibilities existed for a resolution of South Africa's problems by negotiation. (The declaration was subsequently endorsed by a summit meeting of non-aligned countries).
1989
14 December, The General Assembly, at its sixteenth Special Session, adopted by consensus the "Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa," calling for negotiations to end apartheid and establish a non-racial democracy. It laid down steps needed to create a climate conducive to negotiations, modalities of negotiations and principles for a new constitution. [Resolution A/RES/S-16/1].
1990
2 February, President F. W. de Klerk made a speech at the opening of Parliament, announcing among other measures, the lifting of a 30-year ban on the ANC, the PAC and other anti-apartheid organisations, the suspension of the death sentence until further review, the release of some political prisoners and the partial lifting of restrictions on the media and on some detainees.
20 March, Independence of Namibia.
9 - 19 June, A United Nations team, led by Mr. Abdulrahim A. Farah, Under-Secretary-General, visited South Africa to meet representatives of the Government, political parties and organisations to gather factual information on recent measures taken and proposals made for bringing about an end to the apartheid system. [The text of its report was annexed to the first report of the Secretary-General on progress made in the implementation of the Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa, A/44/960.]
19 June, Mr. Farah stressed, at a press conference in Pretoria, the need for a series of confidence-building measures that could reduce the political violence and increase the level of trust and understanding among all parties and between the people and the Government.
22 June, Nelson Mandela addressed the Special Committee against Apartheid in New York, saying that nothing which had happened in South Africa called for a revision of the position that the Organisation had taken in its struggle against apartheid. He urged the United Nations to do everything in its power to maintain the consensus it had achieved when it adopted the Declaration on Apartheid in December 1989.
24 July, The Special Committee against Apartheid issued a statement concerning the Report of the Secretary-General on the Progress made in the Implementation of the Declaration on Apartheid and Its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa. It agreed with the Secretary-General's observation that although the process of change in South Africa had started, it was still at a preliminary stage. The Secretary-General introduced the report at a resumed session of the General Assembly held on 20 July. The General Assembly decided to hold a full discussion of the report from 12-14 September 1990.
31 August, The Special Committee against Apartheid issued a statement expressing deep concern at the deterioration of the situation in South Africa, the continued detention of Mac Maharaj and the arrest of leaders of COSATU. It indicated that "it considered it imperative that the South African authorities adopted effective measures to ensure the impartiality of the police in this situation". It also made "an urgent appeal to the parties concerned to seek a mechanism that will stop this senseless violence and will enhance the possibility of a future national reconciliation.
13 December, The General Assembly concluded three days of debate on Apartheid. Most Member States welcomed the positive developments that had taken place in that country but contended that the South African authorities had failed to meet the conditions conducive to negotiations set forth in the Declaration on Apartheid.
1991
21 March, Foreign Minister Roelf Botha announced that South Africa had agreed that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) would assist with the process of the return to South Africa of political exiles.
8 May, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) asked Pretoria to clarify its position on amnesty, as well as on any other obstacles that could prevent the repatriation process of refugees and political exiles.
12 May, The Second International Symposium on Cultural and Academic Links with South Africa, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid took place in Los Angeles. The Symposium reaffirmed the need for the cultural boycott together with "appropriate assistance to the anti-apartheid structures and to the disadvantaged sectors of the society". Academic and cultural activities having the intent and effect of opposing apartheid should be encouraged.
7 June, The Special Committee against Apartheid issued an interim report on developments in South Africa covering the first half of 1991. Noting the "limited progress achieved in removing the obstacles to negotiations" and the pervasive violence affecting the country, the report said that "the prospects for a speedy end to apartheid and the establishment of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa appeared to be less promising now than a year ago.
15 June, The Association of West European Parliamentarians for Action against Apartheid, with the support of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, organised an international conference in Prague (Czechoslovakia). The conference focused on "Eastern Europe and Southern Africa: Supporting Democracy and Development".
25 -27 June, International Conference on the Educational Needs of the Victims of Apartheid in South Africa, UNESCO House, Paris, organised by the Special Committee against Apartheid and UNESCO, in cooperation with the Advisory Committee of the United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa. Participants included South African experts on education, representatives of donor countries, non- governmental organisations, specialised agencies and the national liberation movements.
The Paris Statement adopted by the Conference called on Pretoria to address urgently the education crisis in South Africa by taking appropriate political, legal, financial and other measures. It also called on the international community to assist towards that end.
10 July, South Africa signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, thus permitting the inspection of all its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
United States President George Bush signed an executive order terminating the sanctions against South Africa based on the determination that the South African authorities had met all five conditions set forth in the US Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. However, local and state sanctions remained, as well as the ban on arms and on support for International Monetary Fund loans to South Africa. President Bush also announced that assistance to black South Africans would be doubled from its current level of $40 million. The Special Committee against Apartheid, ANC, PAC and the Organisation of African Unity, as well as various United States organisations criticised the lifting of sanctions as premature.
16 August, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the South African Government initialled a Memorandum of Understanding on the voluntary repatriation and reintegration of an estimated 40,000 South African returnees. The agreement provided for a comprehensive amnesty for all political offences, a mechanism allowing the UNHCR to make representations on behalf of persons not granted amnesty, the establishment of an UNHCR presence in South Africa and complete freedom of movement for returnees within South Africa.
4 September, In his second progress report on the implementation of the United Nations 1989 Declaration on Apartheid, the Secretary-General found that "over the last 12 months the process towards the end of apartheid in South Africa, although halting, has remained on course".
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and South Africa signed Memorandum of Understanding concerning amnesty for South African refugees and political exiles.
16 September, Safeguards Agreement between IAEA and South Africa: South Africa signed an agreement allowing the inspection of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
5 November, At the end of a two-day meeting of consultations, held in Geneva, by the Special Committee against Apartheid with representatives of non-governmental organisations and anti-apartheid movements, participants adopted a statement of action in which they agreed to pursue a two-track policy of pressure on the South African authorities and assistance to democratic organisations in South Africa.
13 December, The General Assembly adopted seven resolutions, three of them by consensus, on the "Policies of Apartheid of the Government of South Africa". It called upon the international community to resume academic, scientific and cultural links with democratic anti-apartheid organisations and sport links with unified non-racial sporting organisations, as well as to review existing restrictive measures as warranted by positive developments.
17 December, The Secretary-General announced that Mrs. Sadako Ogata, High Commissioner for Refugees, and Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Chairman of the Special Committee against Apartheid, would lead the United Nations observer delegation to CODESA. Mr. Sotirios Mousouris, Assistant Secretary-General for the Centre against Apartheid, would be the third member of the delegation.
In addition to the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity, the Movement of Non-Aligned countries, the Commonwealth and the European Community were also observers at CODESA. In a joint statement on 21 December, they said that "the broad objectives expressed in the Declaration of Intent (signed the previous day by participants in CODESA committing themselves "to bring about an undivided South Africa free from apartheid") are a most constructive and auspicious beginning for CODESA and give promise of attainment of true democracy for South Africa".
1992
15 May, The second plenary session of CODESA (CODESA II) was convened in Johannesburg.
The delegation sent by the Secretary-General to attend the session as an observer was led by Chinmaya Rajaninath Gharekhan, Permanent Representative of India, and included Hisham Omayad, Director, Department of Political Affairs, and Mr. Bwakira, Director, Regional Bureau for Africa, Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
24 May, A three-day Seminar on the Future Role of the United Nations in Helping Address South Africa's Socio-economic Problems was held in Windhoek (Namibia) by the Special Committee against Apartheid and the Centre against Apartheid. Participants concurred that the apartheid system had left a deeply damaging socio-economic legacy, and that the critical situation faced by large segments of the population, particularly in the areas of education, health, employment and housing, needed to be urgently redressed.
21 June, ANC President Nelson Mandela announced that he was suspending all talks with the Government in the wake of the killings in Boipatong on 17 June when more than 40 were killed and scores injured. He requested the UN Secretary-General to call a special meeting of the Security Council to discuss the killings.
23 June, The ANC and PAC asked the ministerial council of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), meeting in Dakar, to call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to examine the violence.
27 June, While in Nigeria, Secretary-General Boutros-Boutros Ghali met with South African Foreign Minister Roelof Botha to discuss the deteriorating situation in South Africa and the constructive role the UN could play in reviving CODESA. The Secretary-General also met the Chairman of the IFP, who handed him a message from Chief Gatsha Buthelezi.
28 June, The Council of Ministers of the OAU issued a resolution calling for an urgent meeting of the Security Council to examine the issue of violence and to take action to put an end to it.
30 June, President Nelson Mandela met in Dakar with Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. They discussed the possible involvement of the international community in investigating violence in South Africa and, in particular, the convening of the Security Council on this issue. PAC President Clarence Makwetu also met with the Secretary-General.
14 July, An International Hearing on Political Violence in South Africa, which was co-sponsored by the Special Committee against Apartheid and organised by the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, was held in London from 14 to 15 July 1992. Discussions focused on the causes and impact of violence, as well as measures to curb it.
The Hearing found that the primary responsibility for the ongoing violence lay with the South African Government "since it failed to take effective measures to end it".
15 July, At the request of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the Security Council convened on 15 to 16 July to examine the issue of violence in South Africa and take appropriate action to end it. Statements were made by forty-eight Member States as well as ANC President Nelson Mandela, PAC President Clarence Makwetu and South Africa Foreign Minister Roelof "Pik" Botha. The Council also heard nine representatives from other political parties who spoke in their personal capacity.
16 July, The Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 765(1992). Pursuant to that resolution, the Secretary-General appointed a Special Representative, Mr. Cyrus Vance, to recommend measures to assist in bringing an effective end to the violence and in creating conditions for negotiations to resume.
21 - 31 July, Cyrus Vance, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, visited South Africa for talks with a broad array of political, religious, business and labour leaders.
30 July, Nelson Mandela requested the United Nations to send observers during the ANC demonstrations scheduled for the following week.
31 July, The Secretary-General announced, after consultation with the South African Government and others, that he would send a small group of UN officials from the Department of Political Affairs.
Seven UN observers joined three UN staff members who were already in South Africa with Special Representative Cyrus Vance. They were immediately deployed in various provinces of the country to monitor events during the week of mass action.
7 August, The Secretary-General submitted a report to the Security Council (S/24389) based on the findings of Cyrus Vance. He recommended that the United Nations make available some observers to further the purposes of the National Peace Accord.
8 August, Justice Richard Goldstone said that his Commission was ready to carry out a full-scale inquiry into the security forces and political armies, in response to a recommendation made in the UN Secretary-General's report.
13 August, Foreign Minister Roelof (Pik) Botha said that the South African Government (SAG) had accepted "in principle" the report of the Secretary-General. It had agreed, with qualifications, to investigations into the police and army.
17 August, The Security Council approved the Secretary-General's report (S/24389), and authorised the stationing of UN observers in South Africa to work closely with the National Peace Secretariat to address the areas of concern noted in the report. The Secretary-General was to decide how many observers should be sent. The Council also invited the deployment of observers from the OAU, the Commonwealth and the European Union. [Resolution 772(1992)]
8 September, A two-day follow-up conference on Educational Assistance to disadvantaged South Africans was organised in New York by the United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa. The Conference focused attention on the requirements for educational assistance to Black South Africans during the transition period.
16 September - 26 September, Virendra Dayal, special envoy of the Secretary-General, visited South Africa.
23 September, Ms. Angela King, head of the United Nations Observer Mission in South Africa (UNOMSA), arrived in Johannesburg with six observers, bringing the total number of United Nations observers in the country to 20. The full contingent of 50 observers was expected to be deployed in October.
The United Nations Observer Mission in South Africa was established to assist the parties in South Africa in their efforts to put an end to violence.
12 October, The Special Committee against Apartheid held a solemn meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with South African Political Prisoners. The meeting was followed by a round table discussion on "The Role of Law Enforcement and Law Enforcement Officials During the Transition Period and After".
28 October, The Commission against Apartheid in Sports met from 28 to 30 October in New York with representatives of the liberation movements, South African non-racial sports organisations, World Boxing Council and the International Olympic Committee, to review developments on apartheid in sports.
22 November - 9 December, Tom Vraalsen, special envoy of the Secretary-General, visited South Africa.
30 November, The Special Committee against Apartheid held two-day consultations with 56 participants from non-governmental organisations and anti-apartheid movements in Geneva, to review developments in South Africa and assess the present and future role of these organisations.
1 December, The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) joined the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in South Africa to assist in the reintegration of returnees, particularly women and children.
22 December, The Secretary-General submitted a report to the Security Council on the efforts to establish peace and to promote multi-party negotiations in South Africa.
1993
1 - 10 March, A delegation of the Special Committee against Apartheid visited South Africa. The mission, which established contact and held broad-based consultations with high-ranking representatives of all the major parties in the political process, was led by the Committee Chairman, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari (Nigeria).
24 March, In a speech to Parliament, President F. W. de Klerk disclosed that the South African Government had been engaged in a 15-year clandestine nuclear weapons programme leading to the production of six crude atomic bombs and had been at work on a seventh when it decided to dismantle its nuclear arsenal in 1989. The programme had begun in 1974 because of the Government's sense of isolation and fear of communism in the region. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) welcomed the disclosure and declared that it intended to inspect the sites involved and review records.
1 April, Representatives from 26 South African political parties and organisations resumed multiparty negotiations marking the start of serious deliberations on the transition since the collapse of CODESA.

The National Coordinating Committee for the Repatriation of South African Exiles (NCCR) was dissolved due to fraud and corruption amounting to substantial amounts of money. South African Council of Churches Secretary-General Dr. Frank Chikane said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) would take over the reception of exiles in South Africa. He added that a criminal investigation and a commission of inquiry had been instituted to examine the disappearance of the money.
13 May, The South African Government granted diplomatic immunity and privileges to about 100 UN, Commonwealth, European Community and OAU observers through a proclamation in the Government Gazette.
24 May, World Bank Vice President, Edward Jaycox, announced that the Bank had $1 billion worth of development projects in the pipeline for South Africa. The projects, which are aimed to improve health, housing and education for South Africa's poor Blacks, would be implemented once a non-racial transitional government was in place.
24 September, Mr. Mandela, in an address to the Special Committee against Apartheid, called on the international community to lift all economic sanctions against South Africa.
8 October, The General Assembly requested States to terminate prohibition or restriction on economic relations with South Africa immediately, and to terminate the oil embargo against South Africa when the Transitional Executive Council in South Africa became operational. [Resolution 48/1].
6 December, Transitional Executive Council (TEC) began its work.
At its first session, the TEC adopted a resolution of the Multi-party Negotiating Council requesting that the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the European Community, the Organisation of African Unity and individual governments provide a sufficient number of international observers to monitor the electoral process. The TEC also appealed to the United Nations to coordinate all international observers and to ensure that their deployment was effectively coordinated through close cooperation with the Independent Electoral Commission.
9 December, The UN Electoral Assistance Unit sent a "Needs Assessment Team" to South Africa.
The President of the General Assembly announced the repeal of the oil embargo against South Africa in view of the installation of the TEC.
16 December, The Secretary-General appointed Lakhdar Brahimi (Algeria) as his Special Representative for South Africa.
20 December, The General Assembly terminated the mandate of the Intergovernmental Group to Monitor the Supply and Shipping of Oil and Petroleum Products.
1994
10 January, The Secretary-General submitted a report to the Security Council with recommendations for the observation of elections in South Africa.
14 February, The Security Council unanimously approved the recommendations of the Secretary-General.
27 April, South Africa's interim constitution entered into force and the new flag was raised.
United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali congratulated South Africa on the occasion of the country's first democratic elections. He expressed his pleasure at the conduct of the voting, in particular the performance of the voters, the IEC and the UNOMSA.
South Africa's new six colour flag was unfurled for the first time at the United Nations Headquarters.
3 May, South Africa resumed its full membership of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
4 May, In a statement congratulating ANC President Nelson Mandela on his election victory, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) invited South Africa to rejoin the organisation.
6 May, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali applauded the election process in South Africa as a peaceful expression of the people's aspiration to a better future. Noting the more than 40 years of United Nations involvement in the world campaign against apartheid, he congratulated all those who worked for the peaceful transition from apartheid to a new, democratic, non-racial and united South Africa. He pledged continued United Nations commitment to South Africa.
24 May, President Nelson Mandela, in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament, announced that South Africa would subscribe to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and acceded to human rights conventions of the United Nations.
25 May, The Security Council adopted a resolution lifting its 1977 Arms Embargo and other restrictive measures against South Africa, thus removing the remaining United Nations sanctions against South Africa. [Resolution 919(1994)]
6-10 June, Mission of the Special Committee against Apartheid to South Africa.
14 June, Special Committee against Apartheid adopted its final report to the General Assembly and the Security Council.
6 June, The Secretary-General issued his final report on the question of South Africa.
23 June, The General Assembly approved the credentials of the South African delegation, and removed the item on apartheid from its agenda.
27 June, The Security Council noted with great satisfaction the establishment of a united, non-racial and democratic Government of South Africa and removed the question of South Africa from its agenda.