Status of persons refusing service in military or police forces used to enforce apartheid (Resolution 33/165)


The General Assembly,

Mindful that the Charter of the United Nations sets forth, as one of the purposes of the Organization, the achievement of international co-operation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

Recalling article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to freedom of though, conscience and religion,

Conscious that the Proclamation of Teheran, the Lagos Declaration of Action against Apartheid and other United Nations declarations, conventions and resolutions have condemned apartheid as a crime against the conscience and dignity of mankind,

Having regard to section II, paragraph 11, of the Lagos Declaration, which proclaims that the United Nations and the international community have a special responsibility towards those imprisoned, restricted or exiled for their struggle against apartheid,

Taking note of the report of the Special Committee against Apartheid,

1. Recognizes the right of all persons to refuse service in military or police forces which are used to enforce apartheid;

2. Calls upon Member States to grant asylum or safe transit to another State, in the spirit of the Declaration on Territorial Asylum, to persons compelled to leave their country of nationalility solely because of a conscientious objection to assisting in the enforcement of apartheid through service in military or police forces;

3. Urges Member States to consider favourably the granting to such persons of all the rights and benefits accorded to refugees under existing legal instruments;

4. Calls upon appropriate United Nations bodies, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations, to provide all necessary assistance to such persons.

90th plenary meeting
20 December 1978


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