The Dalai Lama has again been refused entry to South Africa, this time for the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, his representative in South Africa, Nangsa Choedon, has said.
According to Choedon, officials from the department of international relations had phoned her office in the past week to say the Tibetan spiritual leader would not be granted a visa. “For now the Dalai Lama has decided to cancel his trip to South Africa,” Choedon was quoted as saying.
The summit, an annual gathering, is being held in Cape Town next month, with arrangements being made by a local organising committee formed by the foundations representing four South African laureates — Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, and Albert Luthuli.
Other Nobel Peace Laureates have reportedly told Tutu they would not come if the Dalai Lama was not permitted to enter the country.
This is the third time in five years the Dalai Lama has been refused a South African visa.
In 2012, a South African court ruled that officials had acted unlawfully in failing to grant the Dalai Lama a visa in time for a 2011 trip to celebrate Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations, largely out of fears of angering the Chinese government.
The Dalai Lama wants increased autonomy for Tibet, from which he has been exiled since 1959. China accuses him of being a separatist.
He was welcomed to South Africa in 1996 and held talks with Nelson Mandela. But in 2009, the government kept the Dalai Lama from attending a Nobel Laureates’ peace conference, saying it would detract attention from the 2010 World Cup.