SRRT Resolutions 1986: South Africa Resolution

South Africa Resolution

Adopted at 1986 Annual Conference

WHEREAS the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states as a basic premise that "disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people."

WHEREAS the American Library Association has adopted as policy the principles of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, declaring "threats to the freedom of expression of any person become threats to the freedom of all,"

WHEREAS South Africa's state of emergency and total crackdown on news reporting make imperative our concern for all in that imprisoned country, especially the thousands held in incommunicado detention, while remembering that the record of banning of people and books, of unequal library funding and education, and of aggression and slaughter in South Africa is infamous and of long duration,

WHEREAS the record of human rights violations in South Africa has led ALA to adopt a resolution calling for divestment, which is to the credit of its membership, the time has come for American librarians to put further pressure on Pretoria and to support the efforts of South African librarians to resist these oppressive policies,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Library Association call on all American librarians to support the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality within a multiracial democratic society in South Africa, and be it further

RESOLVED, that ALA write the appropriate government agency in South Africa expressing opposition to the present system of unequal library service and education and to the widespread censorship of the press and banning of authors and their works, and be it further

RESOLVED, that ALA go on record as opposing any future reentry into the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) of the South African Library Association in its new guise as the South African Institute for Librarianship and Information Science, until this Institute takes a strong stand in favor of open membership and equality of library service and education, and be it further

RESOLVED, that ALA urge bibliographic utilities, such as OCLC, and other cooperative ventures, not to expand their services or make investments in South Africa under the present regime, and be it further

RESOLVED, that ALA urge the Dewey Decimal area tables and history schedule for South Africa planned for the 20th edition by Forest Press, that were prepared by SAILIS, be revised to reflect the history of all South Africans, and be it further

RESOLVED, that ALA urge American libraries to develop collections on South Africa that reflect the full diversity of viewpoints and experience in that country, particularly to consider securing materials from such alternative and authoritative sources as the African National Congress, the Africa Fund and the American Committee on Africa, the International Defense and Aid Fund, the South African Institute for Race Relations, and Ravan Press, and these publications be made accessible through library catalogs by the assignment of sufficient and appropriate subject headings, and be it therefore further

RESOLVED, that ALA invite library colleagues in South Africa to tell American librarians how we may help them achieve a free flow of information, open and responsive library service, and am more just and humane society.

SRRT Newsletter Issue 81, pp. 6-7