The conference offered an opportunity to participants to receive first-hand evidence of political trials, torture and death in detention camps in the apartheid enclave. The activities of international bodies and other institutions which maintained links with apartheid were exposed and condemned.
We, however, suggest that the Nigerian government should mobilize Nigerian public opinion so that the people may boycott the goods and services of apartheid.
– We should trade more with the USSR, China India and the North. European states that oppose apartheid, e.g. Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
– We should grant scholarships to enable young South Africans study in Nigerian universities.
– We can undertake information dissemination on the evils of apartheid and must increase our support for freedom fighters in Southern Africa.
Commonwealth Responses to Apartheid
The Commonwealth is made up of a group of former colonies and other dependent states which, as a result of the colonial heritage, have strong “indissoluble “links with Britain. Apart from offering Britain and her former colonies the opportunity to meet periodically and exchange courtesies, the commonwealth had not been effective against apartheid.
The Commonwealth Conference (1985)in Nassau frustrated British attempt at diversions. It urged, not selective sanction against Pretoria but “comprehensive and mandatory sanction against apartheid system”.
This was a marked departure from earlier position adopted by the Commonwealth.
However, it is in the implementation of these sanctions that the Commonwealth lacked the capacity to monitor the effectiveness of sanctions that had been imposed.
At Nassau, a ten-nation ad hoc Committee was set up to draft a Declaration on a new world order. From what one could grasp from the exercise, it was one of those diversionary exercises at international conferences which end up throwing up clichés which urge nations (for as long as the conference lasts) :to reinforce the commitment of nations to global peace and security. “Nassau, Cancun and Ottawa all belong together there was some heart-warming news about moves by nations and democratic bodies in Australia, ports unions threatened to boycott South African goods and measures aimed at crippling apartheid .These measures were very effective.
Other Responses to Apartheid.
In Canada, Britain, France, West Germany and Italy, many democratic bodies, for example trade unions, student’s organizations and left wing political groups engaged in open revolt against apartheid. As one would expect, conservative and ultra-conservative forces within the ruling classes in these countries maintained studied silence.
At the World Conference for Action Against Apartheid, extra-African responses were documented as follows:-
The Indian delegate to the Conference said that his country’s commitment to the eradication of apartheid and racial discrimination was total. India, he said maintained, scrupulous sanctions against South Africa, “at considerable cost to itself but no cost was too great when it came to fighting apartheid .
Mr. Ghafoorzai representing Afghanistan called “for the publicity campaign against apartheid, the treatments of black Africans and political prisoners, the struggle of the liberation movements and the activities and decisions of the United Nations and the Organization of African unity. He said that sufficient financial support should be given to South African liberation movements.
Mr. Terzi, of the Palestine Liberation Organization called apartheid “a malignant phenomenon”. The President of International Committee of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU),Mr. Narayanan urged investors in South Africa to withdraw because they were only instruments of human greed. He claimed that his organization had assisted African workers to organize their trade union movement in South Africa ” Declaring that his country supported “a mandatory arms embargo ” on South Africa, Professor Kooymans, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands said “the sustained opposition to the apartheid system demonstrated beyond question that the system had gone bankrupt from a moral as well as a practical point of view”
The People’s Republic of Mongolia promotes the position that the Security Council should adopt a mandatory arms embargo on South Africa. Mr.Pavicevic, member of the Federal Council of Yugoslavia ,said “South Africa was cooperating with some Western countries, in the nuclear field. He said that this was dangerous”.
The Argentine representative said that his country opposed racial discrimination and regarded apartheid as evil and as morally and politically unacceptable. New Zealand said that the world could not credibly call for “peaceful solutions to South African problems without taking action to prevent the transfer of arms to South Africa “Mr. Arieff of Malaysia said that one had only to look at the wave of repressive measures that had been unleashed following the barbaric Soweto massacre of June 1976 to realize that apartheid was a dastardly system. Syria condemned racist settler regimes and said that the appearance of nuclear weapons in South Africa’s arsenal was further evidence of her collaboration with Israel. Iraq said African states should nationalize multinational firms operating in their countries which dealt with South Africa.
Greece rejects racial discrimination, apartheid and the Bantustan policy. The Republic of the Ukraine said that “the struggle against apartheid and racism had entered its decisive stage he accused the NATO countries of supporting apartheid.”
Olavi Martkainen, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Health of Finland, stated that the cruel and inhuman system of apartheid was poisoning the Southern part of the Africa continent. He said that the tragic events of Soweto and Sharpeville were enough to prove that apartheid was based on a structure of violence and could only create further violence. He said that the Finish government had consistently given humanitarian aid to the victims of apartheid.
The Chairman of the Senate Council of Bulgaria in a message to the world conference on action against apartheid held in Lagos, Nigeria, said that” the act of suppression of the basic rights and freedom of the people in Southern Africa by the racist regimes of South Africa and South Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the violent enforcement of the system of apartheid, the armed provocation of these regimes against sovereign Africa states, are aimed at perpetuating the policy of racial oppression.
A resume of both Nigerian and Africa Reponses reflects the agreement that: apartheid is a crime against humanity and is incurably wicked and evil.
– it is an insult to human dignity and a serious threat to international peace and security (Mwedor,1977);
– The possession by South Africa of Nuclear weapons is dangerous not only to that region but the entire world ;
– Imperialist powers support apartheid.
– Human rights are not respected.
In order to remedy these wrongs, the community of states insist that changes cannot come about in south Africa until the fascists in South Africa.
– free all political prisoners
– end all violence against anti-apartheid demonstrators ;
– lift bans on anti-apartheid movements;
– stop frivolous trials of political activists;
– refrain from terrorizing the frontlines states;
– lift the state of emergency now on in most cities and recently extended to the Cape province.
Apartheid is sustained by international capitalism .apartheid serves capitalism both in South Africa and elsewhere. The system ensures cheap labour and abundant investment opportunities to Euro-American capitalism, a call for the destruction of apartheid is a call for destabilization of capitalism in South Africa which will, in turn, affect capitalism in Western Europe and A
merica. This explains why capitalism aids apartheid.
The knowledge on the need to respect human dignity, protect and promote human rights cannot flourish under the capitalist mode of development. The injustices inherent in the apartheid system are the reasons why the Africa National Congress aims at creating a democratic society where racism and exploitation by capital would hopefully, diminish considerably.
What is going on in South Africa is a revolt against criminal folly, white charlantry, self-interest and callous insensitivity. Apartheid must be destroyed!
My book entitled, “Human Rights in International Law” 1992 was published in the United States, while I was a visiting Senior Scholar Research Scholar at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
AFRIKANER COLONIALISM DEFECTED
The major issues in the imposition of Afrikaner colonialism on the people of Azania are the pass laws, the Sharpeville massacre, the rivonia trial, the Soweto uprisings by school children and other unreported brutalities imposed on them by the racist regime between 1980-88.
In June 1988, South Africa’s largest black trade union movement demonstrated its organizational ability and organized strikes which brought large sectors of business and industry to a halt. Over two million workers had abstained from work. Unlike the 1987 strikes which the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) organized, the 1988 strike was not challenged indicating the state’s increasing powerlessness to what (COSATU) described as “widespread anger and resentment at the government restrictions to labour legislations which severely hampered its activity”.
Unlike in the 1970’s when the exposition of the evils of apartheid were covered up by the western media or given slanted report, the1980’s have witnessed a world-wide awareness of the inhuman system of apartheid and its unchristian and uncivilized excesses. The existence of apartheid contradicts the Euro-American claim to “civilization” and exposes beliefs in Vatican virtues to ridicule and scorn.
In order to redeem its image, the church has taken measures against apartheid and Euro-American government have declared apartheid a violation of the human rights of the people of South Africa though they still resist the imposition of economic boycott on South Africa. This has been a major hindrance in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
South Africa has now existed for over a decade and is making tremendous programe at both integration and statecraft. It is regrettable that the under -privileged South Africans are still under the weight of poverty. The ANC has not redeemed its pledge at independence. The young South Africans must not forget their fathers’ struggle against Apartheid. We salute all those gentle souls who fought against apartheid world-wide at the time.
By the time the world cup is delivered to the winners and the lights go off, let us forgive but not forget. KE NAKO!!!