UN involvement in the question of Southern Rhodesia began in 1961 when African

Un involvement in the question of southern rhodesia

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UN involvement in the question of Southern Rhodesia began in 1961, when African and Asian members tried, without success, to bring pressure to bear upon the United Kingdom not to permit a new territorial constitution to come into effect. While giving Africans their first representation in the Southern Rhodesian par- liament, the 1961 constitution restricted their franchise through a two-tier electoral system heavily weighted in favor of the Euro- pean community. In June 1962, acting on the recommendation of the Special Committee, the General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring Southern Rhodesia to be a non-self-governing territory within the meaning of Chapter XI of the charter, on the grounds that the vast majority of the people of Southern Rhodesia were denied equal political rights and liberties. The General Assembly requested the United Kingdom to convene a conference of all political parties in Rhodesia for the purpose of drawing up a new constitution that would ensure the rights of the majority on the basis of “one-man, one-vote.” However, the United Kingdom continued to maintain that it could not interfere in Rhodesia’s
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172 Independence of Colonial Peoples domestic affairs. The 1961 constitution duly came into effect in November 1962. On 11 November 1965, the government of Ian Smith unilater- ally declared Southern Rhodesia independent. The United King- dom, after branding the declaration an “illegal act,” brought the matter to the Security Council on the following day, and a resolu- tion was adopted condemning the declaration and calling upon all states to refrain from recognizing and giving assistance to the “rebel” regime. On 20 November, the council adopted a resolu- tion condemning the “usurpation of power,” calling upon the United Kingdom to bring the regime to an immediate end, and requesting all states, among other things, to sever economic rela- tions and institute an embargo on oil and petroleum products. In 1968, the Security Council imposed wider mandatory sanctions against Southern Rhodesia and established a committee to over- see the application of the sanctions. The General Assembly urged countries to render moral and material assistance to the national liberation movements of Zimbabwe, the African name for the territory. On 2 March 1970, Southern Rhodesia proclaimed itself a republic, thus severing its ties with the United Kingdom. After Mozambique became independent in 1975, guerrilla activity along the border with Southern Rhodesia intensified; the border was then closed, further threatening the economy of Southern Rhodesia, already hurt by UN-imposed sanctions. In 1977, Anglo-American proposals for the settlement of the Southern Rhodesian problem were communicated to the Security Council by the United Kingdom. The proposals called for the sur- render of power by the illegal regime, free elections on the basis of universal suffrage, the establishment by the United Kingdom of a transitional administration, the presence of a UN force during
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