United Nations Council for Namibia

What It Is … What It Does … How It Works …
by United Nations Office of Public Information
New York, New York, United Nations
April 1975
Publisher: United Nations
4 pages
Type: Brochure
Coverage in Africa: Namibia, South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States, United Nations
Language: English
Contents: WHAT IT IS • The Territory • HOW IT WORKS • Decree on Natural Resources • UNITED NATIONS COMMISSIONER FOR NAMIBIA • The brochure says the United Nations Council for South West Africa (now Namibia) was established in 1967 by the United Nations General Assembly as the only legal authority to administer the Territory of South West Africa until independence and, in the meantime, to prepare it for independence; this action of the General Assembly came after it had concluded that South Africa, which had administered the Territory since the end of the First World War, had failed to fulfil its sacred duty by not insuring the moral and material well-being of the people of the Territory; the Assembly decided to terminate South Africa's mandate and assume direct responsibility for the Territory; the Assembly had been faced with a series of events which ran counter to the objectives of the Mandate, including South Africa's contention that it was not accountable to the United Nations, a threat to partition the Territory into "homelands" and the emergence of apartheid and racial discrimination. The brochure says in June 1968, the General Assembly proclaimed that, in accordance with the wishes of the people, the Territory would henceforth be known as Namibia, that the Council would be redesignated the United Nations Council for Namibia, and that the United Nations Commissioner for South West Africa would be known as the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia. The brochure says the Council, which was originally composed of 11 members, was enlarged to 18 members in 1972 and to 25 members in 1974. Today the Council is composed of the following countries: Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Burundi, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Turkey, USSR, Yugoslavia and Zaire; in accordance with standing arrangements, the representatives of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) participate in meetings of the Council in an observer capacity. The brochure says conscious of its responsibilities to protect the natural resources of Namibia and of ensuring that these natural resources are not exploited to the detriment of Namibia, its people or environmental assets, the Council for Namibia enacted, on 27 September 1974, a Decree on the Natural Resources of Namibia. The brochure says prior to the First World War, Namibia was a colony of Imperial Germany. As part of the peace settlement, the responsibility for administering Germany's colonies was placed under a League of Nations Mandate; with the entry into force of the United Nations Charter in 1945, it was generally accepted that all mandated territories would be placed under the International Trusteeship system created by the Charter, and that the responsibility of the League of Nations in respect to those territories would pass to the United Nations; with one exception, the administering powers concerned agreed to this transfer; the exception was South Africa which declined to place Namibia under United Nations trusteeship, but said it would continue to administer it in the spirit of the League Mandate. The brochure says an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, requested by the Security Council and handed down on 21 June 1971, stated that the continued presence of South Africa in Namibia was illegal and that South Africa was under an obligation to withdraw its administration from the Territory. The brochure says on 11 June 1971, the regional office of the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia and the Council for Namibia was officially opened in Lusaka; the present United Nations Commissioner for Namibia is Mr. Sean MacBride, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland and Nobel Peace Prize winner for 1974. The brochure discusses the Institute for Namibia, the United Nations Headquarters in New York, education and training programs, and the United Nations Fund for Namibia.
Collection: Peter Weiss (Africa collection), Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections