Magazine article UN Chronicle

Text Calling for Sanctions against South Africa Vetoed in Council

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Text Calling for Sanctions against South Africa Vetoed in Council

Article excerpt

Text calling for sanctions against South Africa vetoed in Council

A draft resolution calling for selective mandatory sanctions against South Africa under Chapter VII of the Charter was vetoed in the Security Council on 8 March. The vote was 10 in favour to 2 against (United Kingdom, United States), with 3 abstentions (Federal Republic of Germany, France, Japan).

The proposed sanctions would have required an end to: further investment in and financial loans to South Africa: all forms of military, police, or intelligence co-operation with that country, in particular the sale of computer equipment; the export and sale of soil to Pretoria; all promotion of and support for trade with South Africa; importation of iron and steel; and the sale of krugerrands and all other coins minted in South Africa. As proposed, the measures would, in the first instance, have remained in force for a year, after which the Council could have renewed or increased them.

The text (S/19585)--as proposed by Algeria, Argentina, Nepal, Senegal, Yugoslavia and Zambia--would have condemned the continuing "intensification of repression" by South Africa.

The Council would have declared that Pretoria's "intransigent refusal" to comply with relevent United Nations decision directly challenged the Organization's authority and violated Charter principles. It would have determined that South Africa's policies and practices of apartheid--the "root cause of the grave and deteriorating situation" in South Africa and in southern Africa as whole--constituted a serious threat to international peace and security.

The sanctions would have been imposed under Article 41 of the UN Charter, which states that the Security Council may decide "what measures not involving the use of armed force are ro be employed to give effect to its decisions", and that it may call upon United Nations Members to apply such measures, which may include "complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomaric relations".

The vote came after five Council meetings held from 3 to 8 March at the request of Sierra Leone, on behalf of the African Group, and Zambia to consider South Africa's decision to ban or restrict anti-apartheid activities.

The two nations which voted against the draft rejected the mandatory aspect of the proposed sanctions. The United Kingdom said that while it considered the bannings a "repression of peaceful, legitimate political activity" and "a retrogade step", mandatory sanctions would stiffen those who resisted change and make internal reconciliation and lasting regional stability even more difficult to achieve. …

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