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UN Security Council
Resolution 623
South Africa
Date 23 November 1988
Meeting no. 2,830
Code S/RES/623 (Document)
Subject South Africa
Voting summary
13 voted for
None voted against
2 abstained
Result Adopted
Security Council composition
Permanent members
  •  China
  •  France
  •  United Kingdom
  •  United States
  •  Soviet Union
Non-permanent members
  •  Algeria
  •  Argentina
  •  Brazil
  •  Italy
  •  Japan
  •    Nepal
  •  Senegal
  •  West Germany
  •  Yugoslavia
  •  Zambia

United Nations Security Council resolution 623, adopted on 23 November 1988, the Council noted with grave concern the death sentence imposed upon anti-apartheid activist Paul Tefo Setlaba, on the basis of "common purpose" in South Africa. The resolution at the meeting urgently called by Zambia strongly urged the Government of South Africa to commute Setlaba's sentence and stay his execution in order to further avoid aggravating the situation in South Africa.[1]

Resolution 623 was adopted by 13 votes to none, with two abstentions from the United Kingdom and the United States. Explaining their abstentions, both countries said that while they opposed apartheid and the repression in South Africa as a result of it, they could not vote for the current resolution as Setlaba had admitted he was involved in the murder of another South African during the 1985 black consumer boycott.[2]

On 25 November 1988, four and a half hours before the execution was to be carried out, Setlaba was granted a reprieve.[3]

See also


  1. Wellens, Karen; T.M.C. Asser Instituut (1990). Resolutions and statements of the United Nations Security Council (1946–1989): a thematic guide. BRILL. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-7923-0796-9. 
  2. United Nations (2000). Repertoire of the practice of the Security Council: supplement 1985–1988. United Nations Publications. p. 218. ISBN 978-92-1-137029-4. 
  3. Claiborne, William (25 November 1988). "South African Barely Saved, Lawyer Says". The Washington Post. 

External links

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