United Nations Transition Assistance Group

The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) was a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force deployed from April 1989 to March 1990 in Namibia to monitor the peace process and elections there. Namibia had been occupied by South Africa since 1915, first under a League of Nations mandate and later illegally. Since 1966, South African forces had been combating an insurgency by the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the military wing of the Namibian-nationalist South West African People's Organization (SWAPO). The UN Security Council passed Resolution 435 in 1978, which set out a plan for elections administered by South Africa but under UN supervision and control after a ceasefire. However, only in 1988 were the two parties able to agree to a ceasefire. As UNTAG began to deploy peacekeepers, military observers, police, and political workers, hostilities were briefly renewed on the day the transition process was supposed to begin. After a new round of negotiations, a second date was set and the elections process began in earnest. Elections for the constitutional assembly took place in November 1989. They were peaceful and declared free and fair; SWAPO won a majority of the seats. The new constitution was adopted four months later and it was followed by Namibia's official independence and the successful conclusion of UNTAG.

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