In 1962 the UN formed the special committee against apartheid. Its mandate was to present SA’s human rights violations and promote an international boycott campaign against Pretoria. This was one of the UN’s most active permanent groups, regularly reporting to the general assembly and the security council.

Eschel Rhoodie, apartheid SA’s propagandist-in-chief at the time, called the committee and the global anti-apartheid movement it was spawning “a fanatical obsession with SA affairs to the exclusion of all other injustices and problems in the world”. Rhoodie whinged about the “unbelievable hostility against anything SA and the application of an outrageous double standard in evaluating SA policies”...

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