Magazine article New African

Voting for Apartheid at the UN. (Dossier: South Africa)

Magazine article New African

Voting for Apartheid at the UN. (Dossier: South Africa)

Article excerpt

Historical amnesia is sweeping over the world, but there is a little piece of South African history that must not be allowed to be forgotten. This extract is from William Blum's Rogue State, a book which every New African reader must have a copy of. The "new updated edition" is published by Spearhead (South Africa). It comes with very high recommendations from New African.

"We have all been taught for more than half a century that America is the leader of "the Free World". But at the United Nations, with noteworthy regularity, America has found itself -- often alone, sometimes joined by one or two other countries [including Britain] -- standing in opposition to General Assembly resolutions aimed at furthering human rights, peace, nuclear disarmament, economic justice, the struggle against apartheid and other progressive causes.

The [list] below show a portion of this pattern. It covers an arbitrarily chosen 10year period, 1979 through 1986. In total, almost 150 examples are given.

The number of abstentions is not shown. There were many other resolutions in this period where Israel cast a solitary "No" vote and the US was the sole abstainer. In the Security Council, a US solitary "No" vote is of course enough to defeat a measure.

One of the evils of communist states, we were always told, was that they were oblivious to world opinion. [Interestingly, part of the American Declaration of Independence, calls for] "...a decent respect of the opinions of mankind". [But the contrary happened at the UN, when it came to apartheid. Here is only a selection of William Blum's original list]:

The voting record

General Assembly resolutions:


24 Jan: Resolution 33/183M. To end all military and nuclear collaboration with apartheid South Africa.

Voting: 114 to 3 (US, France, UK voted against).

12 Dec: Resolution 34/93D. Strengthening arms embargo against apartheid South Africa. Voting: 132 to 3 (US, UK, France voted against).

12 Dec: Resolution 34/931. Assistance to the oppressed people of South Africa and their liberation movement.

Voting: 134 to 3 (US, UK, France voted against).

14 Dec: Resolution 34/100. Against support for intervention in the internal or external affairs of states:

Voting: 104 to 2 (US, Israel voted against).

19 Dec: Resolution 34/199. Safeguarding rights of developing countries in multinational trade negotiations.

Voting: 112 to 1 (US voted against).


5 Dec: Resolution 35/57. Establishment of a New International Economic Order to promote the growth of underdeveloped countries and international economic cooperation.

Voting: 134 to 1 (US voted against).

11 Dec: Resolution 35/119. Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

Voting: 134 to 3 (US, UK, France voted against).

12 Dec: Resolution 35/145A. Cessation of all nuclear test explosions.

Voting: 111 to 2 (US, UK voted against).

12 Dec: Resolution 35/154. Declaration of non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.

Voting: 110 to 2 (US, Albania voted against).

15 Dec: Resolution 35/174. Emphasising that the development of nations and individuals is a human right.

Voting: 120 to 1 (US voted against).

16 Dec: Resolution 25/206J. Assistance to oppressed people of apartheid South Africa and their national liberation movement.

Voting: 137 to 3 (US, UK, France voted against).


28 Oct: Resolution 36/12. Anti-racism; condemns apartheid in South Africa and Namibia.

Voting: 145 to 1 (US voted against).

28 Oct: Resolution 36/13. Condemns collaboration of certain states and transnational corporations with the apartheid South African government.

Voting: 124 to 1 (US voted against). …

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