U.N. condemns apartheid in South Africa

Most of Europe was involved in African colonization at one time or another. Native Africans were stripped of their power, disenfranchised, and kept culturally and politically dominated by the Europeans. Such was the case in South Africa, which was united by Britain after a series of wars with the natives and Dutch colonialists. South African laws set up a system called Apartheid, which grouped all residents into racial types, and afforded privileges accordingly. The different groups were strictly forbidden from having any private interactions with one another. The system endured for close to half a century.

On this day, November 6, in 1962, the United Nations adopted a (nonbinding) resolution condemning South Africa’s apartheid policy, which they said was in violation of the U.N. Charter. The resolution called for an economic boycott of South Africa in protest.

The Western nations were not pleased with the call for sanctions on South Africa, an important producer of many valuable miners, and did not join in on the decision. Nevertheless, some movements within the nations themselves, like Britain’s Anti-Apartheid Movement, worked with the U.N. to persuade Europe and the U.S. to accept the need for sanctions.