CAMPAIGN TO 'UNLOCK APARTHEID'S JAILS' AND FREE POLITICAL PRISONERS LAUNCHED AT HEADQUARTERS BY ANTI-APARTHEID COMMITTEE AND UNITED STATES MAYORS

by United Nations
New York, New York, United Nations
September 29, 1987
2 pages
Type: Press Release
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States, United Nations
Language: English
The press release says at a meeting yesterday at Headquarters, the Special Committee against Apartheid and the United States Conference of Mayors, in association with the American Committee on Africa and the Africa Fund, two non-governmental organizations, launched a campaign entitled, "Unlock Apartheid's Jails", aimed at freeing political prisoners in South Africa. The press release says in addition to a greeting by Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar to the six mayors present, statements were made by the Chairman of the Special Committee, Joseph N. Garba (Nigeria), the Chairman of the United States Conference of Mayors, Richard Berkley, mayor of Kansas City, and Marion Barry, mayor of Washington, D.C. The press release says the other mayors present were Raymond Flynn, of Boston; Arthur Holland, of Trenton; Thurman Milner, of Hartford; and Joseph Paolino Jr., of Providence. The press release says the Chairman of the Special Committee, Mr. Garba (Nigeria), said that as resistance by the overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa had intensified, oppression had grown to unconscionable levels; mistreatment, torture and use of vigilantes -- a new and insidious semi-official method of assassination and intimidation -- had become rampant. The press release says twenty-six persons had died in detention in the last three years, and one woman and 29 young men were on death row; the only crime of those people was their opposition to apartheid. The press release says the Chairman of the United States Conference of Mayors, Kansas City mayor Mr. Berkley, said the mayors of many United States cities considered the apartheid policy practiced by South Africa to be morally reprehensible and inconsistent with the humanitarian and democratic principles to which their country was so firmly committed; they had therefore adopted anti-apartheid and disinvestment resolutions -- actions which would impact the apartheid system. The press release says the mayor of Washington, D.C., Mr. Barry, said his city had prohibited investment in South Africa to show its displeasure with apartheid; it was also in his city that thousands had been jailed for demonstrating in front of the South African Embassy. The press release says in a concluding statement, the Chairman of the Special Committee said the Committee's main problem was a lack of information coming out of South Africa; because there was no longer news on television, America was once again "going to sleep"; for that reason, symbolic acts such as the present campaign were very important. The press release says as part of the launching ceremony, the mayors later presented the keys of their cities to symbolize the hundreds of keys collected in places of worship throughout the United States, as well as petitions, to be forwarded to the South African Government to release political prisoners; the keys will be delivered outside the South African Consulate in New York on 13 October, and at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Human Rights Day, 10 December. The press release discusses a peaceful settlement, the black majority, State violence, and children.