United Nations Security Council resolution 591, adopted unanimously on 28 November 1986, after recalling resolutions 418
(1980) and 558
(1984), the Council strengthened the mandatory arms embargo
South Africa imposed by Resolution 418, and made it more comprehensive. Resolution 591 sought to clarify vague terms from previous resolutions on the topic.
The Council recognised the struggle of the South African people, calling for the establishment of a democratic state
with full civil and political rights
as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(1948). It also condemned the "racist
regime" in South Africa for its repression against opponents of apartheid, killing demonstrators, holding of political prisoner
s and defiance of Security Council and General Assembly
The resolution urged Member States to ensure that components of embargoed items did not reach South Africa through third countries, including spare parts for aircraft and other military equipment belonging to South Africa, and any items which other countries may feel are destined for use by the South African police force
or military. Items included aircraft, aircraft engines or parts, electronic and telecommunications equipment, computers and four-wheel drive
vehicles. In terms of "arms and related material" from Resolution 418, this included nuclear
, strategic and conventional weapon
s, all military and paramilitary police vehicles and equipment and other related material. The Council urged particularly against any cooperation in the nuclear field.
The Council then went on to urge Member States to not receive any imports of arms, ammunition or military vehicles from South Africa, asking those that had not yet done so to put an end to all exchanges and visits, including by government personnel. It also requested Member States, and those who are not a member of the United Nations, to not participate in any activities in the country that may contribute to South Africa's military capability, ensuring national legislation should reflect this. However though they did not agree with apartheid policies some states still cooperated with South Africa; Israel
and the military government of Chile
provided arms and Paraguay
acted as a third country which goods were delivered.
Also, as many UN member states
observed the resolution, non-member states and territories, including Taiwan
, saw a rising share of its companies operating in South Africa, though it did not necessarily provide weaponry, due to pressure from other states.
Finally, Resolution 591 called on the Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
to report on the progress of the implementation of the current resolution by no later than 30 June 1987.
Though the resolution was adopted unanimously, its rulings were voluntary. The sanctions were lifted under Resolution 919
* Academic boycott of South Africa
* Disinvestment from South Africa
* Foreign relations of apartheid South Africa
* List of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 501 to 600
* South Africa under apartheid
* Sporting boycott of South Africa
* Text of the Resolution at undocs.org
United Nations Security Council Resolution 591
Category:United Nations Security Council sanctions regimes
Category:Boycotts of apartheid South Africa
Category:November 1986 events