n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - The historic contribution of the United Nations to the resolution of conflicts in Southern Africa

Volume 11, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-6997


Around the middle of the 20th century, Southern Africa presented the international community with two major and interrelated conflict-causing situations - two of the most challenging that it had to deal with since the inception of the United Nations (UN) in the 1940s: South Africa's illegal occupation of the then South-West Africa, and South Africa's apartheid policy, which it later extended to this neighbouring country. South-West Africa ultimately became independent as Namibia, and the apartheid regime came to its end, both in the early 1990s. These two crucially important events resulted from a combination of efforts by the UN, regional organisations, local liberation movements and other actors, both international and national. This paper is focused on the contribution of the UN, and almost two decades after the establishment of a democratic constitutional order in these two Southern African countries, it revisits the significant contribution made by the UN to the decolonisation of Namibia and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

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