United Nations


General Assembly

  6th plenary meeting
                                                       14 December 1989


  Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa

      The General Assembly

      Adopts the Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in
 Southern Africa, annexed to the present resolution.

          Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in
                                Southern Africa

      We, the States Members of the United Nations,

      Assembled at the sixteenth special session of the General Assembly, a
 special session on apartheid and its destructive consequences in southern
 Africa, guided by the fundamental and universal principles enshrined in the
 Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
 in the context of our efforts to establish peace throughout the world by
 ending all conflicts through negotiations, and desirous of making serious
 efforts to bring an end to the unacceptable situation prevailing in southern
 Africa, which is a result of the policies and practices of apartheid, through
 negotiations based on the principle of justice and peace for all:

      Reaffirming our conviction, which history confirms, that where colonial
 and racial domination or apartheid exist, there can be neither peace nor

      Reiterating, accordingly, that while the apartheid system in South Africa
 persists, the peoples of Africa as a whole cannot achieve the fundamental
 objectives of justice, human dignity and peace which are both crucial in
 themselves and fundamental to the stability and development of the continent,

      Recognizing that, with regard to southern Africa, the entire world is
 vitally interested that the processes in which that region is involved,
 leading to the genuine national independence of Namibia and peace in Angola
 and Mozambique, should succeed in the shortest possible time, and equally
 recognizing that the world is deeply concerned that destabilization by South
 Africa of the countries of the region, whether through direct aggression,
 sponsorship of surrogates, economic subversion or other means, is unacceptable
 in all its forms and must not occur,

      Also recognizing the reality that permanent peace and stability in
 southern Africa can only be achieved when the system of apartheid in South
 Africa has been eradicated and South Africa has been transformed into a
 united, democratic and non-racial country, and therefore reiterating that all
 the necessary measures should be adopted now to bring a speedy end to the
 apartheid system in the interest of all the people of southern Africa, the
 continent and the world at large,

      Believing that, as a result of the legitimate struggle of the South
 African people for the elimination of apartheid, and of international pressure
 against that system, as well as global efforts to resolve regional conflicts,
 possibilities exist for further movement towards the resolution of the
 problems facing the people of South Africa,

      Reaffirming the right of all peoples, including the people of South
 Africa, to determine their own destiny and to work out for themselves the
 institutions and the system of government under which they will, by general
 consent, live and work together to build a harmonious society, and remaining
 committed to doing everything possible and necessary to assist the people of
 South Africa, in such ways as they may, through their genuine representatives,
 determine to achieve this objective,

      Making these commitments because we believe that all people are equal and
 have equal rights to human dignity and respect, regardless of colour, race,
 sex or creed, that all men and women have the right and duty to participate in
 their own government, as equal members of society, and that no individual or
 group of individuals has any right to govern others without their democratic
 consent, and reiterating that the apartheid system violates all these
 fundamental and universal principles,

      Affirming that apartheid, characterized as a crime against the conscience
 and dignity of mankind, is responsible for the death of countless numbers of
 people in South Africa, has sought to dehumanize entire peoples and has
 imposed a brutal war on the region of southern Africa, which has resulted in
 untold loss of life, destruction of property and massive displacement of
 innocent men, women and children and which is a scourge and affront to
 humanity that must be fought and eradicated in its totality,

      Therefore we support and continue to support all those in South Africa
 who pursue this noble objective.  We believe this to be our duty, carried out
 in the interest of all humanity,

      While extending this support to those who strive for a non-racial and
 democratic society in South Africa, a point on which no compromise is
 possible, we have repeatedly expressed our objective of a solution arrived at
 by peaceful means; we note that the people of South Africa, and their
 liberation movements who felt compelled to take up arms, have also upheld
 their preference for this position for many decades and continue to do so,

      Welcoming the Declaration of the Ad-Hoc Committee of the Organization of
 African Unity on Southern Africa on the question of South Africa, adopted at
 Harare on 21 August 1989, and subsequently endorsed by the Heads of State or
 Government of Non-Aligned Countries at their Ninth Conference, held at
 Belgrade from 4 to 7 September 1989, as a reaffirmation of readiness to
 resolve the problems of South Africa through negotiations.  The Declaration is
 consistent with the positions contained in the Lusaka Manifesto of two decades
 ago, in particular regarding the preference of the African people for peaceful
 change, and takes into account the changes that have taken place in southern
 Africa since then. The Declaration constitutes a new challenge to the Pretoria
 regime to join in the noble efforts to end the apartheid system, an objective
 to which the United Nations has always been committed,

      Noting with appreciation that the Commonwealth Heads of Government, at
 their meeting held at Kuala Lumpur from 18 to 24 October 1989, noted with
 satisfaction the strong preference for the path of negotiated and peaceful
 settlement inherent in the Declaration adopted at Harare on 21 August 1989,
 and considered what further steps they might take to advance the prospects for

      Also noting with appreciation that the Third Francophone Conference of
 Heads of State and Government, held at Dakar from 24 to 26 May 1989, likewise
 called for negotiations between Pretoria and representatives of the majority
 of the people with a view to the establishment of a democratic and egalitarian
 system in South Africa,

      Consequently, we shall continue to do everything in our power to increase
 support for the legitimate struggle of the South African people, including
 maintaining international pressure against the system of apartheid until that
 system is ended and South Africa is transformed into a united, democratic and
 non-racial country, with justice and security for all its citizens,

      In keeping with this solemn resolve, and responding directly to the
 wishes of the majority of the people of South Africa, we publicly pledge
 ourselves to the positions contained hereunder, convinced that their
 implementation will lead to a speedy end of the apartheid system and heralding
 the dawn of a new era of peace for all the peoples of Africa, in a continent
 finally free from racism, white minority rule and colonial domination,

      Declare as follows:

 1.   A conjuncture of circumstances exists, which, if there is a demonstrable
 readiness on the part of the South African regime to engage in negotiations
 genuinely and seriously, given the repeated expression of the majority of the
 people of South Africa of their long-standing preference to arrive at a
 political settlement, could create the possibility to end apartheid through

 2.   We would therefore encourage the people of South Africa, as part of their
 legitimate struggle, to join together to negotiate an end to the apartheid
 system and agree on all the measures that are necessary to transform their
 country into a non-racial democracy.  We support the position held by the
 majority of the people of South Africa that these objectives, and not the
 amendment or reform of the apartheid system, should be the goals of the

 3.   We are at one with the people of South Africa that the outcome of such a
 process should be a new constitutional order determined by them and based on
 the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human
 Rights.  We therefore hold the following fundamental principles to be of

      (a)  South Africa shall become a united, non-racial and democratic State;

      (b)  All its people shall enjoy common and equal citizenship and
 nationality, regardless of race, colour, sex or creed;

      (c)  All its people shall have the right to participate in the government
 and administration of the country on the basis of universal, equal suffrage,
 under a non-racial voters' roll, and by secret ballot, in a united and
 non-fragmented South Africa;

      (d)  All shall have the right to form and join any political party of
 their choice, provided that this is not in furtherance of racism;

      (e)  All shall enjoy universally recognized human rights, freedoms and
 civil liberties, protected under an entrenched bill of rights;

      (f)  South Africa shall have a legal system that will guarantee equality
 of all before the law;

      (g)  South Africa shall have an independent and non-racial judiciary;

      (h)  There shall be created an economic order that will promote and
 advance the well-being of all South Africans;

      (i)  A democratic South Africa shall respect the rights, sovereignty and
 territorial integrity of all countries and pursue a policy of peace,
 friendship and mutually beneficial co-operation with all peoples.

 4.   We believe that acceptance of these fundamental principles could
 constitute the basis for an internationally acceptable solution that will
 enable South Africa to take its rightful place as an equal partner among the
 world community of nations.

                          A.  Climate for negotiations

 5.   We believe that it is essential that the necessary climate be created for
 negotiations.  There is an urgent need to respond positively to this
 universally acclaimed demand and thus create this climate.

 6.   Accordingly, the present South African regime should, at the least:

      (a)  Release all political prisoners and detainees unconditionally and
 refrain from imposing any restrictions on them;

      (b)  Lift all bans and restrictions on all proscribed and restricted
 organizations and persons;

      (c)  Remove all troops from the townships;

      (d)  End the state of emergency and repeal all legislation, such as the
 Internal Security Act, designed to circumscribe political activity;

      (e)  Cease all political trials and political executions.

 7.   These measures would help create the necessary climate in which free
 political discussion can take place - an essential condition to ensure that
 the people themselves participate in the process of remaking their country.

                 B.  Guidelines to the process of negotiations

 8.   We are of the view that the parties concerned should, in the context of
 the necessary climate, negotiate the future of their country and its people in
 good faith and in an atmosphere which, by mutual agreement between the
 liberation movements and the South African regime, would be free of violence.
 The process could commence along the following guidelines:

      (a)  Agreement on the mechanism for the drawing up of a new constitution,
 based on, among others, the principles enunciated above, and the basis for its

      (b)  Agreement on the role to be played by the international community in
 ensuring a successful transition to a democratic order;

      (c)  Agreed transitional arrangements and modalities for the process of
 the drawing up and adoption of a new constitution, and for the transition to a
 democratic order, including the holding of elections.

                            C.  Programme of action

 9.   In pursuance of the objectives stated in this Declaration, we hereby

      (a)  To remain seized of the issue of a political resolution of the South
 African question;

      (b)  To step up all-round support for the opponents of apartheid and to
 campaign internationally in pursuance of this objective;

      (c)  To use concerted and effective measures, including the full
 observance by all countries of the mandatory arms embargo, aimed at applying
 pressure to ensure a speedy end to apartheid;

      (d)  To ensure that the international community does not relax existing
 measures aimed at encouraging the South African regime to eradicate apartheid
 until there is clear evidence of profound and irreversible changes, bearing in
 mind the objectives of this Declaration;

      (e)  To render all possible assistance to the front-line and neighbouring
 States to enable them:  to rebuild their economies, which have been adversely
 affected by South Africa's acts of aggression and destabilization; to
 withstand any further such acts; and to continue to support the peoples of
 Namibia and South Africa;

      (f)  To extend such assistance to the Governments of Angola and
 Mozambique as they may request in order to secure peace for their peoples, and
 to encourage and support peace initiatives undertaken by the Governments of
 Angola and Mozambique aimed at bringing about peace and normalization of life
 in their countries;

      (g)  The new South Africa shall, upon adoption of the new constitution,
 participate fully in relevant organs and specialized agencies of the United

 10.  We request the Secretary-General to transmit copies of the present
 Declaration to the South African Government and the representatives of the
 oppressed people of South Africa and also request the Secretary-General to
 prepare a report and submit it to the General Assembly by 1 July 1990 on the
 progress made in the implementation of the present Declaration.

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Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
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