Declaration of the Conference of West European Parliamentarians on an Oil Embargo Against South Africa, Brussels
30-31 January 1981
[The Conference of West European Parliamentarians on an Oil Embargo against South Africa was held at the ACP House, Brussels, on 30 and 31 January for consultations on means to promote broader support for the implementation of an oil embargo against South Africa. It was organised by the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid in co-operation with a committee of nine parliamentarians: Jan Nico Scholten (Chairman), Relus ter Beek and Laurens Jan Brinkhorst of the Netnerlands, T. Declercq, Claude Dejardin, Mrs. Wivina Demeester and Louis Vanvelthoven of Belgium, Lasse Budtz of Denmark, and Jacob Aano of Norway.
[The Conference was attended by 35 Members of Parliament from eight West European countries and the European Parliament, as well as representatives of United Nations bodies, Organisation of African Unity, and the liberation movements of South Africa and Namibia. It adopted the following Declaration.]
- A conference on an oil embargo against South Africa was held in ACP House in Brussels on 30 and 31 January 1981 by Parliamentarians from West European countries Its purpose was to discuss the means to promote a broader support for the implementation of an oil embargo against South Africa. The Conference was organised by the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, in co-operation with a committee of nine Parliamentarians.
- The conference was attended by members of eight West European Parliaments and of the European Parliament. Also represented were the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, the United Nations Council for Namibia, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and the liberation movements of South Africa and Namibia. In addition, the opening meeting was attended by the press and by observers representing many governments (including front-line States, OAU and ACP States), intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, and the Commission of European Communities.
- The Parliamentarians expressed their alarm at the continued failure by Western nations to exert pressures sufficient to bring an end to apartheidand the establishment of a democratic and non-racial society in South Africa. It was agreed that firm action is even more urgent because of South Africa’s refusal to implement the United Nations plan on Namibia and because of escalating aggression by South Africa against African States.
- It was agreed that in view of South Africa’s complete lack of indigenous crude oil resources, an oil embargo represents one of the most effective forms of external action available to complement the existing arms embargo against South Africa.
- The Parliamentarians welcomed and endorsed the proposals contained in United Nations General Assembly resolution 35/206D on an oil embargo against South Africa, which was adopted on 16 December 1980 by an overwhelming majority of Member States.
- The Parliamentarians also welcomed the policies of embargoing South Africa which have been introduced in recent years by nearly all oil-exporting countries.
- However, alarming evidence has emerged in recent months suggesting that Western oil and shipping companies have played a key role in assisting South Africa to evade the existing oil embargo. In particular, these companies appear to be purchasing oil from various countries, including those that embargo South Africa, and then secretly taking it directly or indirectly to South Africa.
- Clearly, therefore, what is needed is a decision by the United Nations Security Council to impose a mandatory oil embargo against South Africa.
- Regrettably, attempts thus far to pass such a resolution have been blocked by Western nations possessing veto power in the Security Council.
- The Parliamentarians noted that an arms embargo against South Africa was imposed by increasing numbers of countries before the Security Council finally made that arms embargo mandatory. Similar action should be carried out with regard to oil.
- Western countries are the homes of most of the oil and shipping companies which appear to be currently involved in supplying embargoed oil to South Africa. The best way to terminate such leakages is for the Western countries in question individually or collectively to implement legislation prohibiting their nationals from selling or transporting oil, wherever it originates and under whatever flag it is transported, if it is destined for South Africa.
- A number of concrete proposals for legislative action with regard to the oil embargo are contained in the United Nations General Assembly resolution mentioned in paragraphs above. But several of the countries voting for that resolution, including some European ones represented at this Conference, have done little to actually implement that resolution.
- A country wishing to join the existing oil embargo against South Africa should introduce legislation which would
- prohibit the supply to South Africa of its own crude oil;
- prohibit the supply to South Africa of crude oil which ithas imported from other countries;
- prohibit the supply to South Africa of refined oil products it has produced or imported;
- prohibit involvement by its own citizens and companies in the sale or transportation to South Africa of crude or refined oil from any part of the world (not just from the country in question);
- prohibit such involvement by overseas subsidiaries of its own companies.
- The Parliamentarians noted that certain European countries have used, as an excuse for inaction, the fact that other European countries have not yet acted. What is needed is a breaking of this impasse.
- Based on all the above, the Parliamentarians agreed
- to urge their governments to support a mandatory United Nations Security Council oil embargo against South Africa;
- to urge those European governments that voted for the United Nations General Assembly resolution mentioned in paragraph 5 above to implement its terms;
- to urge their governments to introduce legislation as in paragraph 11 and 13 above;
- to urge oil-exporting countries which already embargo South Africa to take more effective action to prevent the circumvention of this embargo by companies based invarious parts of the world;
- to seek co-operation with the oil-exporting countries on these matters
These actions, it was agreed, should be seen as part of the overall campaign on South Africa.
- The Parliamentarians agreed also to urge their governments to supply increased amounts of appropriate aid to those black African countries that are economically somewhat dependent upon South Africa and which might be affected by the oil embargo against South Africa. This should be done on a bilateral basis, and also on a multilateral basis through such mechanisms as the European Development Fund and the Lome Convention.
- The Parliamentarians committed themselves to raise the above issues in their national Parliaments, the European Parliament, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
- Finally, the Parliamentarians agreed to remain in contact with the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid and the Organisation of African Unity on this matter, to exchange information, and to develop means for co-ordinating future action.
Other decisions of the Conference
On 30 January, the Conference heard a statement by the representative of the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) on an attack by
South Africa against Mozambique and sent the following message to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mozambique, H. E. Mr. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, and the President of the ANC, Mr. Oliver Tambo:
“Conference of West European Parliamentarians on an Oil Embargo against South Africa, organised by Special Committee against Apartheidin Brussels on 30 and 31 January 1981, is angry and saddened at the news of South African commando raids into Mozambique resulting in the death of nine people. This barbaric attack and violation of Mozambique sovereignty demonstrates clearly the aggressive nature of the South African government and contradicts its statements of wishing to live in peace with its neighbours. The Member States of the United Nations cannot remain silent and inactive in the face of such acts of terrorism. In expressing our sympathy to the government of Mozambique, to the ANC and to the relatives of the deceased, we pledge ourselves to continue our commitment to freedom and justice in Namibia and South Africa.”
On the proposal of Mr. Ruairi Quinn of Ireland and Mr. Robert Hughes of the United Kingdom, the Conference adopted the following resolution on the proposed Irish rugby tour of South Africa:
“The Conference, representing Members of the West European Parliaments, the front-line States, liberation organisations within South Africa and Namibia, and the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, formally calls upon the Irish Rugby Football Union not to proceed with its proposed tour this year to South Africa because such a tour would only serve to give moral and political support to the apartheidregime and delay further the ultimate collapse of this socially evil and morally wrong social system.”