1964 Declaration concerning the Policy of “Apartheid” of the Republic of South Africa

and International Nelson Mandela Day

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
Nelson Mandela
A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.
Nelson Mandela

Declaration concerning the Policy of “Apartheid” of the Republic of South Africa

Racism was the form of discrimination that first galvanized the international community and from 1948, the Republic of South Africa (RSA) attracted particular concern with its violent and repressive practice of institutionalized racial segregation.

The ILO was one of the first organizations to impose sanctions on South Africa. It condemned the policy of apartheid implemented by the government of South Africa as contrary to the Declaration of Philadelphia (1944), which solemnly affirms the right of "all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, … to pursue both their material wellbeing and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity", and drew on the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) to put forward two historic initiatives.

In June 1963, the ILO’s Governing Body excluded South Africa from some of its trade committees. The following year, the International Labour Conference (June 1964) unanimously adopted the Declaration concerning the Policy of Apartheid of the Republic of South Africa (RSA). The Declaration condemned South Africa as detrimental to international peace and security, saying it “persistently and fragrantly violates this principle with the means of legislative, administrative and other measures incompatible with the fundamental rights of man, including freedom from forced labour.” On the same day, the ILO Programme for the Elimination of Apartheid in Labour Matters was also unanimously adopted, prompting South Africa to withdraw from the ILO for the next 30 years.

The 1964 Declaration against Apartheid was unique in introducing an intense critical analysis of the situation in a single country. Every year, a special report on the application of the Declaration was submitted to the Conference, which included recommendations on measures which could end the policy of apartheid. ILO action evolved from initial recommendations to an unwilling government to mobilization of opinion against policies of apartheid and the promotion of a policy of isolation of the government of South Africa, until it abolished apartheid in 1994.

In 1990, the future South African President Nelson Mandela – who had just been released after 27 years of detention as a political prisoner – addressed the International Labour Conference, thanking the ILO for its support and path-breaking contribution to the defeat of apartheid in South Africa.

In 2007 the International Labour Organization awarded the first Decent Work Research Prize to Nelson Mandela and Carmelo Mesa-Lago.

International Nelson Mandela Day: July 18th 2013

We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.
Nelson Mandela

In 2009 the UN declared International Mandela day as a day to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela. July 18th recognizes the former South African President’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups.

Mandela day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to change the world and make an impact.

As the revered leader remains in a critical condition, the UN marks this year’s commemoration of Mandela with the message -- ‘take action, inspire change’ -- encouraging people around the world to devote at least 67 minutes of their time on 18th July to community service.

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