oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Has South Africa been illegally excluded from the United Nations General Assembly?

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Since 1974 representatives of the government of the Republic of South Africa have not been allowed to take the seat reserved for South Africa in the General Assembly of the United Nations. In that year rejection of the credentials of the South African delegation by the Credentials Committee and the General Assembly led the President of the General Assembly to rule that the consistency with which the General Assembly had regularly refused to approve the South African delegation's credentials gave rise to the legitimate inference that such credentials would be rejected in the future and that the General Assembly would not allow any delegation authorised by the Republic of South Africa to take part in its work. This ruling, subsequently upheld by the General Assembly, has been widely criticised and characterised as illegal by politicians and scholars both in South Africa and abroad. This paper seeks to descriptionbe the background and to analyse the legal arguments advanced for and against South Africa's membership and participation.

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