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Political prisoner in South Africa



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Λ. AUSTRALIA„iU

F R IS V Ig M J N I S T E R

PRESS STATEMENT NO.

11 October 1973

POLITICAL PRISONERS IN SOUTH AFRICA

The United Nations Special Committee on.Apartheid has appealed to member states of the United Nations to observe 11 October 1973 as the ''Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners in South Africa".

Announcing this today, the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Whit lam, said that on 11 October 1963, 106 member states of the United Nations recorded their votes in favour of Resolution 1881 (XVII) which called for the abandonment of a political trial against eleven prominent leaders of the South African people and for the unconditional release of all persons

imprisoned, interned or subjected to other restrictions for their opposition to apartheid.

The eleven leaders included Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. They were charged under the "Sabotage Act" in what became known as the Rivonia trial. Only South Africa voted against the resolution. .For the first time the entire international community declared its

commitment to seek an end to the repression of apartheid. Ten years had passed since the adoption of that historic resolution, Mr. Whitlam said, but the imprisonment of opponents of apartheid continued. . r

Mr. Whitlam said that Australia viewed with repugnance the abhorrent practice of apartheid and would not hesitate to denounce it at every opportunity. Under apartheid legislation enacted by the South African Government to institutionalise and preserve racial discrimination, many leaders qf the black people and a number of white opponents of apartheid had been jailed, banished and restricted

in their movements. .

He said that Australia upheld the principles enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and had a duty to demonstrate its sympathy with those in South Africa who are persecuted for their commitment to the purposes and principles of that Declaration. Australia therefore supported the aims of the "Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners in South Africa".