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Arusha Conference: Declaration

4 December 1987, Arusah


  1. Conference reaffirms that apartheid is a crime against humanity. It has persisted for too long. It must go.
  2. We, representing millions upon millions of people throughout the world, are outraged, by the continuing brutality, inhumanity and aggressiveness of the apartheid regime which results in death, suffering and insecurity for the peoples of Southern Africa. No one - not even young children - can escape the evil shadow of this monstrous denial of everything human and civilised.
  3. The savagery of Botha`s regime has failed to cow the people of South Africa into submission. Millions have demonstrated their fierce commitment to fulfilling the task of freeing themselves. We feel inspired by the unquenchable spirit and courage of the people of South Africa, confirmed by those who came from the belly of the beast to bear testimony.
  4. We, together with the people of the world, condemn the apartheid system as illegitimate. It cannot be reformed: it must be abolished.
  5. This criminal regime launches economic, military and political aggression against the Front Line States and continues its illegal occupation of Namibia. It is a source of tension, conflict and a threat to international peace and security.
  6. The unprecedented vigour and depth of the struggle in South Africa against the apartheid regime has given birth to a powerful mass political and trade union movement and the emergence of an alternative democratic power.
  7. The issue of political power is central to the conflict in South Africa. On the one side stands the Botha regime, its allies and supporters, seeking to perpetuate the monopoly of power in the hands of the White minority. On the other side stand the ANC, the mass democratic movement and their allies and supporters, who are fighting for the transfer of power to the people.
  8. The perspective of a future democratic South Africa is set out in the freedom Charter which is supported by the overwhelming majority of the people of that country.
  9. The Botha regime is not interested in entering into genuine negotiations to end the inhuman system of racism and apartheid. Any negotiations would have to address the central question of political power and not how to give apartheid a more acceptable face. Such negotiations must have as their objective the transformation of South Africa into a united, democratic and nonracial country.
  10. The people of South Africa have the right to pursue their struggle for democracy, self-determination and genuine independence against this brutal and illegitimate regime and to use all methods of struggle - including armed resistance - to achieve this end.
  11. The people of South Africa require the further intensification of international solidarity, and all who come from outside that country have a duty to continue to search for the most effective methods of increasing support and assistance for the ANC, its allies and the mass democratic movement.
  12. It is imperative that the international community imposes comprehensive and mandatory sanctions on racist South Africa.
  13. We have a duty to defeat the severe press censorship imposed by Pretoria. A fuller exposure of the brutality of the apartheid regime and the continuing resistance of the people would move greater numbers of people throughout the world to act against that evil system.
  14. We are obliged to fight for the immediate release of all political prisoners and detainees without conditions. We welcome the release of Govan Mbeki, after 24 years of incarceration, as a victory for the forces of change both inside and outside South Africa. His release should inspire all humanity to step up the national and international campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela and all other political prisoners and detainees.
  15. We urge all governments, international organisations and solidarity movements to act in support of those who are risking their liberty and lives in the struggle for a non-racial, united, democratic South Africa.
  16. With renewed vigour and determination we declare our commitment to continue the fight to put an end to apartheid, the illegal occupation of Namibia and the destabilisation of the neighbouring states. There is no doubt that the people of Namibia and South Africa, led by SWAPO and the ANC, shall be victorious.