Black African delegates attending this year's United Nations General Assembly, took time out from the debates on Friday (23 September) to pay tribute to Steve Biko, the black activist who died in detention earlier this month in South Africa.
SV African group delegates inside UN Economic and Social Council chamber rise in tribute
SV Chairman Mustafa Medani of Sudan and other delegates being seated
SV Nigerian permanent representative Leslie Harriman speaking in English
SV Delegates listening to Harriman
SV Harriman continuing speech
SV African National Congress representative Mr. Makatane speaking
SV Representative of Pan African Congress David Sebenko speaking
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: HARRIMAN: "Steve Biko is dead. But he has left behind him a spirit of black unity, black pride, and black heroism in the cause of liberation. That cause is the cause of Africa and of all progressive humanity. It must prevail and soon of we are to avert the murders of more and more patriots. We must not mourn the death of Steve Biko. We must plan to act, to punish the culprits, to destroy the apartheid regime and liberate the patriots from its clutches. I was happy to learn of the strong reaction of the United States government and Congress to the murder of Steve Biko. We must tell the United States that condemnation is not enough. We've hardly from any other western country who continue to deal with Vorster. We must confront all of them in the Security Council and the General Assembly and in all their capitals with a dossier of the murders of political prisoners and all of the crimes of the apartheid regime and demand they outlaw that regime."
SEQ. 6: MAKATANE: "Steve is one of 25 political detainees to have died between March 1976 and September this year. The stories behind deaths in detention is gruesome and a horrible nightmare. A nightmare that is to be with us for as long as the National Party regime is allowed to continue to usurp power in South Africa."
SEQ. 7: SEBENKO: "By killing him, in a singularly cowardly manner, the Vorster regime wishfully calculated that they were removing a burning thorn from their racist flesh. The regime is now confounded by the reality that in death Biko is looking larger than life. According to a correspondent of the New York Times in South Africa Biko's killing has caused the apartheid regime to have its worst crisis since (indistinct) in 1960".
In a speech read out by a senior United Nations official, UN General Secretary Kurt Waldheim expressed deep distress at the frequent deaths of political detainees in South Africa. He said the deaths and the evidence of ill-treatment and torture in police custody cannot but greatly aggravate the serious situation in South Africa and undermine the chances for peaceful solutions to the problems of that country.
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Background: Black African delegates attending this year's United Nations General Assembly, took time out from the debates on Friday (23 September) to pay tribute to Steve Biko, the black activist who died in detention earlier this month in South Africa.
SYNOPSIS: The tribute began with a minute's silence. Nigeria's representative Leslie Harriman was the first to pay tribute to Biko. He was followed by Mr. Makatane of the African National Congress and David Sebeko of the Pan African Congress.