< Back

Extracts from a communique adopted by the Commonwealth Heads of Government

17 June 1977, London

Heads of Government reviewed the situation in Southern Africa and took note of a number of significant developments which had taken place since they last met together in Kingston. They expressed satisfaction that the attainment of independence by Mozambique and Angola had greatly strengthened the cause of liberation throughout the entire region. They reaffirmed their total support for the struggle in Zimbabwe and Namibia and for the just demands of the oppressed in South Africa. They recognized, however, that events had moved into a phase of acute crisis....

Heads of Government were also concerned over the exodus of thousands of refugees including the flight of many students and school children to neighbouring countries as a result of the escalating harassment and brutal repression by the minority regimes. In addition they took account of the deepening crisis in Namibia caused by South Africa`s persistent defiance of the United Nations and the international community as a whole.

Heads of Government recognized that the capacity of the racist minority regimes to survive is in large measure due to the continuing material, military and economic support which they receive through collaboration with external sources.

Heads of Government agreed that these grave developments warrant the most urgent and effective action to ensure the speedy liberation of the oppressed peoples of Southern Africa and renewed their commitment to this end....

Heads of Government condemned South Africa for the military and economic support which it continues to give to the illegal regime. In particular, they deplored and condemned the provision of military equipment and the supply of petroleum and petroleum products which buttress the illegal regime. They therefore called on South Africa to desist forthwith from complicity in repression and on all countries to take effective steps to ensure that South Africa no longer sustains the illegal regime in defiance of the resolutions of the Security Council....

Heads of Government condemned the brutal racist repression inherent in the system of apartheid demonstrated, for example, in the situations which have given rise to numerous uprisings culminating in the Soweto massacre last year. Heads of Government further deplored and condemned South Africa`s attempts to perpetuate the system of apartheid with its denial of political rights by the creation of the so-called "homelands" and reaffirmed that these "bantustans", which are not sovereign states, should not be afforded any recognition by Commonwealth countries and the rest of the international community. In this context they recognized the serious difficulties which Lesotho encounters in consequence of its courageous refusal to recognize the independence of "bantustans"....

Heads of Government commended the Front-line States for their resolute and determined efforts in advancing the cause of freedom and independence in Southern Africa. They recognized that in doing so those states were making tremendous sacrifices and called upon Commonwealth countries and the international community to accord them full support and assistance. In this connection Heads of Government requested the Secretary-General to undertake a study of the economic costs to the Front-line States of the various practical measures taken by them in support of the liberation movements.

They also recognized that some neighbouring Commonwealth countries faced grave economic difficulties in coping with the influx of refugees fleeing from repressive apartheid and minority regimes in Southern Africa, and called upon Commonwealth countries and the international community to accord them full support and assistance.....

Heads of Government praised the prompt efforts made by the United Nations in relation to the serious economic difficulties created for a number of neighbouring countries by the mounting crisis in Southern Africa. They pledged their bilateral and collective support of these efforts.