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United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) (1989-1990) Serie
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Military Component

S-1050 contains the records of the military component of United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG), which consisted of: the Military Monitor/Observer Group; three infantry battalions from Finland, Kenya and Malaysia; and specialist branches, including the Military Police Company, the Air Unit and the Logistics Branch. The military component was commanded by the Force Commander, who advised the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on military matters and reported through him to the Secretary-General.

Deployed throughout Namibia and numbering 4,500 personnel, the military component oversaw the fulfillment of the military aspects of Security Council Resolution 435 (1978). These included: monitoring the ceasefire and the confinement of the parties’ armed forces to base; monitoring the dismantling of the South African military presence in Namibia; maintaining surveillance over Namibia’s borders; and monitoring the cessation of hostile acts by all parties.

Deployment of the military component began on 1 April 1989, the date of the implementation of Security Council Resolution 435 (1978). On 31 March fighting broke out between the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) forces and South African troops at the northern border of Namibia. PLAN troops moved into Namibia from Angola in violation of the ceasefire agreement, and the conflict resulted in the deaths of more than 300 combatants.

Force Commander
Records of the Force Commander and Deputy Force Commander consist of: correspondence with United Nations headquarters; documents concerning the arrival and deployment of all the major military components of UNTAG; the Force Commander’s directives; timetables and monthly summaries of military component operations; summaries of Operations Conferences; intelligence reports and analyses; and daily morning briefings. Also contained are documents concerning Operation “Safe Passage”, which facilitated the withdrawal of the PLAN combatants and their return to Angola; and Operation “Fade Away”, which was enacted toward the end of the UNTAG mission to scale down the military component.

Military Police Company
The Military Police Company was commanded by the Force Provost Marshall and consisted of 7 detachments throughout Namibia. The Military Police Company was responsible for ensuring that members of the Force comply with local laws and regulations of Namibia. Records consist of: investigation reports on theft, assault, willful damage and other crimes; crime ledgers; and daily occurrence books of Military Police detachments stationed in Swakopmund, Grootfontein, and other locations.

Air Unit
The UNTAG air element was comprised of the Spanish and Italian Air Contingents, which provided aircraft for UNTAG and carried out over 1300 missions. The Air Unit managed the infrastructure, aircraft and equipment essential to the safe and efficient operation of the air transportation system during the UNTAG mission. Records include: correspondence of the Chief Air Staff Officer; air operations procedures; air intelligence and security briefs; and aeronautical information.

Logistics Branch
Records of the Supplies Section of the Logistics Branch include: correspondence of the Chief Logistics Officer; logistics directives; and Letters of Assist. Records of the Movement Control Section pertain to the movement of personnel and material within the UNTAG area of operations on ground, in air and at sea ports.

Military Monitors/Observer Group
The Military Monitor/Observer Group was commanded by the Chief Monitor/Observer (CMONO) and was comprised of 300 officers from 14 countries. Records consist of: correspondence; operations instructions; arms and ammunition storage reports; documents concerning the activities of the South African Defence Force (SADF); and reports concerning demobilization.

Military Monitor/Observers were deployed in five sectors: North West Sector (Oshakati), North East Sector (Rundu), Central Sector (Okahandja), Western Sector (Swakopmund), and the Southern Sector (Keetmanshoop). Sector records consist of: situation reports (SITREP); summaries of meetings and visits to the sector; intelligence reports; reports to the CMONO; road patrol reports; and reports about the local population.

Also contained are records of the UNTAG presence in Angola from its Liaison Office in Luanda and the UNTAG base at Lubango. UNTAG representatives liaised with the Angolan authorities, who agreed to confine SWAPO/PLAN fighters to camps north of the 16th parallel by D-Day (1 April 1989). These records consist of: correspondence and weekly reports exchanged between the Chief Logistics Officer in Angola and the Force Commander; situation reports (SITREP); and documents pertaining to general UNTAG operations in Angola.

Chief of Staff
The Chief of Staff was responsible for the efficient functioning and supervision of the UNTAG Military Headquarters, which was located at Suiderhof base in Windhoek. Records of the Chief of Staff contain: plans of operations; monthly reports from various elements of the military component; and briefing notes. Also included are records of the Operations Branch and the Administration and Personnel Branch.

Records of the Operations Branch consist of: correspondence of the Finnish Battalion, Kenyan Battalion and the Malaysian Battalion; and documents relating to the plans, policies and directives for operationally carrying out the command responsibilities of UNTAG. The Administration and Personnel Branch records pertain to: military personnel strength, humanitarian activities, and welfare activities.

Civilian Component

S-1040 contains the records of the civilian branch of United Nations Transitions Assistance Group (UNTAG), which consisted of all mission components not directly overseen by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) or the Force Commander. These components included: the Electoral Division, the Civilian Police, the Division of Administration, the regional offices, and district centres. These units, like the rest of UNTAG, were in Namibia to facilitate the registration of voters during the registration period (3 July–23 September) and the election of the Constituent Assembly from 7-11 November 1989. Upon Namibia’s adoption of the constitution drafted by the Constituent Assembly on 21 March 1990, Namibia became a member of the United Nations with treaty responsibilities as a sovereign member of the international community.

Electoral Division
The Electoral Division was responsible for advising the SRSG regarding the election and for the supervision and facilitation of the registration and electoral processes in conjunction with the South African Administrator-General. The Electoral Division also assisted the SRSG in negotiations with the Administrator-General on electoral legislation and its implementation. Records of the Director of the Electoral Division and his staff include: reports to the SRSG regarding the election process; reports from the heads of District Centres; voter registration statistics; and reports on the elections. Also present are: drafts of the Namibian constitution; drafts of legal proclamations; and comments on these drafts.

Civilian Police
The UNTAG Civilian Police (CIVPOL) were commanded by the Police Commissioner, who, as Police Adviser, also provided advice to the SRSG and his staff on all police-related matters. Commissioner Steven Fanning was appointed Police Commissioner on 23 March 1989, after having previously advised the SRSG during the period of preparation for the mission. The Police Commissioner was responsible for the organization, deployment and operations of CIVPOL and shared responsibility with UNTAG’s Director of Administration for its administration and logistic support. UNTAG Civilian Police ensured that the South West Africa Police (SWAPOL) fulfilled its duty of maintaining law and order in an efficient, professional and non-partisan way. For administrative purposes, the territory was divided into six (later seven) districts (which differed from the districts established by the Electoral Division) that were responsible for oversight of 49 police stations throughout the country. S-1040 contains records of the Police Commissioner as well as those from the district and station levels.

Records of the Civilian Police consist of: reports from the Civilian Police Commissioner to the SRSG; situation reports from Regional Directors to the SRSG; summaries of Station Commanders’ meetings, including those with SWAPOL; situation reports from Station Commanders to District Commanders; reports on political rallies and meetings; reports on CIVPOL monitoring of voter registration and polling stations and the guarding of ballot boxes; patrol reports; and civilian complaints of intimidation, assault and harassment by CIVPOL, the SWAPOL and other parties. The records of UNTAG’s CIVPOL document subjects including: the training, deployment and conduct of its personnel; the administration of CIVPOL; the activities, membership and platforms of the political parties running candidates in the election; incidents of political intimidation and harassment; and investigations of complaints and incidents.

Division of Administration
The Division of Administration was responsible for the administration and logistical coordination of all elements of UNTAG (except for some aspects of the military component, CIVPOL and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), all of which also had administrative resources independent of the Division of Administration). Records of the Division of Administration include: correspondence; documentation of the activities of the office of the Legal Adviser; logistics directives; summaries of meetings; security survey reports; and administrative reports. Subjects documented in correspondence of the Division of Administration include: personnel matters; the daily operations of the civilian components of UNTAG; financial matters; and the movement of personnel and goods.

UNTAG Regional Offices and District Centres
In order to provide the SRSG accurate and current information about local situations throughout the territory, UNTAG established 10 regions and then divided the regions into 32 districts. The two districts located in Angola—one at the country’s capitol in Luanda and one in Lubango—assisted with the return of Namibian refugees and political exiles and UNTAG’s coordination with the Angolan government. The head of each region was located at the Regional Office, while each district head had his or her offices at the District Centre. Records of these offices include: correspondence; daily and weekly situation reports; weekly reports on the political situation in the areas; daily and consolidated registration reports; election returns; and summaries of meetings. Subjects documented by these records include: the UNHCR; UNTAG’s relationship with non-governmental organizations, churches, and schools; the activities of political parties; the status of political prisoners and detainees; and the impact of drought on the territory.

Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG)

Pre-UNTAG Files (1946-1990)
Martti Ahtisaari served as the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from 1978-1982. With deployment of the United Nations Assistance Transition Group (UNTAG) on 1 April 1989 under the mandates of Security Council resolutions 435 (1978) and 632 (1989), Ahtisaari was appointed the mission’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG). Security Council Resolution 435 (1978) outlined the Settlement Proposal, which put forward proposals for a ceasefire, for the withdrawal of South African forces, and for UN-supervised elections in South Africa-controlled South-West Africa. These records document Ahtisaari’s activities as UN Commissioner for Namibia and as UNTAG’s SRSG. Records consist of: correspondence; summaries and briefs of meetings and consultations; press releases; and notes for the file. They document a variety of subjects including: the establishment of an electoral system in South West Africa/Namibia; disputes concerning the border of South West Africa; the establishment and monitoring of a demilitarized zone; political parties in Namibia; and UNTAG’s Status Agreement.

Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General
The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) had both coordinating and line functions. It was responsible for overall coordination and liaison with: UNTAG elements; the South African Administrator-General's Office and administration; the political parties and local interest and community groups; and with the governmental and non-governmental organizations and observer missions that came to Namibia for the implementation process. Its line functions were mainly in the political and information areas. The Office of the SRSG was responsible for negotiations with the local administration on each step necessary for the political transitions outlined in the Settlement Plan and for an extensive information programme, which was under the direct supervision of the Special Representative. The SRSG’s office consisted of the SRSG and his support staff, which included: the SRSG’s personal assistant; the Deputy SRSG; the office’s director and deputy director; the Senior Legal Advisor; the Civilian Police Liaison; the UNTAG Information Service; and other liaison officers. S-0529 includes: weekly summaries of UNTAG activities sent from the SRSG to the United Nations headquarters; records documenting the repatriation of Namibian exiles from Angola, Zaire and other locations; records pertaining to political parties, such as summaries of meetings between the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and representatives of political parties, and reports describing incidents of intimidation made against members of political parties and civilians; and records pertaining to the release of political prisoners and detainees.

Senior Legal Advisor
The Senior Legal Advisor was responsible for advising the SRSG on legal matters as they pertained to UNTAG’s mandate according to Security Council resolutions 435 (1978) and 632 (1989), including: the repeal of discriminatory and restrictive laws; waivers of immunity granted to UNTAG staff; and the drafting of laws regarding the elections to establish the Namibian government. Documents include: correspondence; waivers of immunity; reports; and agreements between UNTAG and Member States regarding the fulfillment of UNTAG’s mandate.

Civilian Police Liaison
The Civilian Police Liaison was responsible for keeping the Office of the SRSG up to date on the activities of UNTAG’s civilian police force and coordinating the force’s administration with UNTAG’s Division of Administration. These documents include: situation reports from the Civilian Police Commissioner; training materials for civilian and South West African police; and correspondence.

UNTAG Information Service
The UNTAG Information Service was established to counteract the established newspapers and public broadcasting system, which were deeply partisan and prone to disinformation. It provided Namibians with relevant and objective information about the changing political situation in their country. The service used radio, television, a variety of visual and print materials, and word-of-mouth to disseminate information in support of UNTAG’s mandate.

The records of the UNTAG Information Service consist mainly of daily press briefings sent to regions and districts throughout the country. These briefings included UNTAG press briefings; transcripts of UNTAG radio programmes in English and Afrikaans; press briefings from the Department of Press and Information in New York; summaries of local media content; speeches; statements; and other important political documents. Also included are: correspondence; press releases from the Administrator-General’s office; and UNTAG advertisements run in Namibian newspapers.

Other Liaison Officers
Other liaison officers in the Office of the SRSG were responsible for coordinating the activities of UNTAG with other UN organizations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). UNHCR operations in Namibia were responsible for the return of Namibian exiles, their reception and their resettlement. These operations were not financed from the UNTAG budget. However, the UNHCR did operate within the overall political structure of UNTAG, and UNTAG facilitated its work.

The records of these liaison officers document the return and reintegration of Namibian exiles and refugees, and the demobilization and disarmament of South African Koevoet forces. Also present in this series is the advice of the Independent Jurist regarding the repatriation of specific Namibians and correspondence with regional directors and district centres regarding refugees and election matters. The Independent Jurist was appointed to advise UNTAG on any disputes that might arise in connection with the release of political prisoners and detainees.

Subject Files - UNTAG

UN. Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs (1970-1978: Guyer; 1974-1985: Urquhart; 1979-1981: Perez de Cuellar; 1981-1988: Cordovez; 1986-1992: Goulding)
UN. Under-Secretary-General for Department of Peace-keeping Operations (1992-199 : Annan)

Series consists of correspondence, memoranda, code cables (incoming and outgoing), meeting minutes, incident reports, maps, United Nations documents, agreements, press releases and daily press briefings regarding the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) supervision of the implementation of the Namibian independence plan. Includes some original correspondence addressed to the Secretary-General from Permanent Representatives to the United Nations and meeting minutes of the Secretary-General's Working Group on Namibia. Bulk of materials date from 1988 to 1990. Subjects include the Namibian election process including registration of voters and election supervisors;and the withdrawal of troops from Namibia, cease-fire violations, and local political parties, including the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO). Other subjects documented include the South African Defence Forces (SADF); KOEVET; the South West African Police (SWAPOL); the war in Angola; contributing countries; political prisoners; refugees; and administrative and military matters including aircraft, force strength, vehicles, personnel and finances. Correspondents include Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Namibia Martti Ahtisaari and Commander-Designate, Military Component of UNTAG Lt. Gen. Prem Chand.

Accession numbers: 1993/141, boxes 1-15; boxes 2-3 missing -- Accident/Casualty/Incident Reports, 14/3/1989-11/10/1989

Actual series size: 21 boxes



UN. Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs (1986-1992: Goulding)

Series consists of numbered code, clear, and only cables (incoming and outgoing) regarding the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) supervision of the implementation of the Namibian independence plan. Includes military strength and daily situation reports, drafts of the Namibian constitution, and maps. Subjects include the monitoring of voter registration and elections; the withdrawal of South Africa Defense Forces (SADF); UNTAG relations with the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO); cease-fire violations; and the establishment of a Constituent Assembly. Other subject areas include discriminatory and restrictive legislation; the Angolan peace process; and the release of political prisoners. Correspondents include UNTAG Commander-Designate, Military Component of UNTAG Lt. Gen. Prem Chand; and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Namibia Martti Ahtisaari.

Accession numbers: 93/126, boxes 1-9

Actual series size: 19 boxes