After World War I, South Africa was given a League of Nations mandate to administer South West Africa. Following World War II and the introduction of apartheid, South Africa's mandate was revoked by UNGA in October 1966. In May 1967, during its fifth session, UNGA established the United Nations Council for South West Africa "to administer South West Africa until independence, with the maximum possible participation of the people of the territory". In 1968, it adopted the name "Namibia" for the territory. The United Nations Security Council endorsed UNGA's actions by adopting resolutions 264 and 269 of 1969.
UNSCR 276 of 1970 confirmed the illegality of South Africa's presence in the territory. The same year, the Security Council decided to request an Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as to the legal consequences for Member States of South Africa's continued presence in Namibia notwithstanding UNSCR 276 of 1970. The following year the ICJ's Advisory Opinion confirmed UNGA's revocation of the mandate and declared that South Africa must withdraw its administration and end its occupation and that Member States were under an obligation to refrain from any support or assistance to South Africa in Namibia.
There were seven occupants of the post of United Nations Commissioner for Namibia (UNCN). South Africa refused to recognize any of the UN Commissioners.