Pope Attacks Apartheid in Speech at U.N. Court

Associated Press

Pope John Paul II, speaking at the International Court of Justice, today denounced South Africa’s policy of forced racial separation, saying “no system of apartheid or separate development” of the races is acceptable.

The Pope is on a five-day tour of the Netherlands, which has sparked riots by anti-Establishment youths and caused liberal Dutch Roman Catholics to speak out against what they claim is John Paul’s overly conservative interpretation of church teachings.

In a meeting today, Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers told the pontiff that history has left many in the Netherlands suspicious of the papacy, and that the mere mention of Rome is enough to make some Dutch uneasy.

John Paul denounced “discrimination--in law or in fact--on the basis of race, origin, color, culture, sex or religion” before the 15-member court, which is the judicial branch of the United Nations.


“Hence, no system of apartheid or separate development will ever be acceptable as a model for the relations between peoples or races,” John Paul said.

South Africa’s apartheid policies deny the vote and other civil rights to the majority black population. The first white settlers in the colony that later became South Africa were Dutch, and were known as Afrikaners.

The Pope gave no indication that the Dutch tie to the Afrikaners was the reason he chose to restate his case against apartheid at The Hague tribunal.

Police today arrested a teen-ager who hurled a full bottle of liquor at John Paul’s bulletproof “Popemobile” from a tree near the gates of the Peace Palace, the court’s home. Police spokesman Jan-Karel Nube said the bottle smashed into the pavement just behind the vehicle.


Earlier today, about 1,000 people joined in a rally by the liberal Catholic group Pax Christi in front of the Peace Palace. They carried signs reading, “John Paul II Stand Aside, We Can’t See Jesus,” and opposing the stationing of U.S. cruise missiles in the Netherlands.

On Sunday, hundreds of rock-throwing youths clashed with riot police as the Pope visited Utrecht.