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Non-mandatory UN arms embargo on South Africa

In August 1963, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 181, which called on all states to cease ‘the sale and shipment of arms, ammunition of all types, and military vehicles to South Africa’. The arms embargo was imposed in response to perceived arms buildups by the South African government, which was seen as possibly helping to further the government’s ‘racial policies’ and followed a number of UN Security Council Resolutions condemning the apartheid regime in South Africa. This was the first voluntary arms embargo agreed by the UN Security Council.

In December 1963, UN Security Council Resolution 182 extended the voluntary arms embargo to include ‘equipment and materials for the manufacture and maintenance of arms and ammunition in South Africa’.

In July 1970, UN Security Council Resolution 282 called for the unconditional implementation of the embargo. It remained a voluntary arms embargo.

In November 1977, UN Security Council Resolution 418 imposed a mandatory arms embargo, replacing voluntary arms embargo.

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Embargo type: Non mandatory UN embargoes
Entry into force:
Lifted: 4 November 1977
Establishing document: UNSCR 181