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Fourteen Nobel Peace Prize winners plead with South African government to grant the Dalai Lama’s visa

Reported in the Time Live fourteen Nobel Peace Prize winners have sent an open letter to South African president Jacobs Zuma requesting the government to re-consider the decision not to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to South Africa.

 Fourteen Nobel Peace Prize Winners Plead With South African Government To Grant The Dalai Lama’S Visa

The Dalai Lama is one of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have been invited to attend a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners in Cape Town next month, the first-ever meeting of its kind in Africa.

But as New World Immigration reported before, the South African Department of Home Affairs is said to have denied the Dalai Lama a visa to travel to South Africa.

Now 14 Nobel Peace Prize laureates are appealing to President Jacob Zuma to overrule this decision and grant the Tibetan spiritual leader access to the country.

This is the third time the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been unsuccessful in obtaining a South African visa. In 2011 he was barred entry into the country when he was invited to speak at the birthday celebrations of fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate and South African, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations. This followed the denial of the Dalai Lama’s visa in 2009.

The situation relates to historical trade agreements between South Africa and China and is complicated by the Buddhist monk’s campaigning for Tibetan independence from China.

Those who have signed the letter of appeal to president Zuma include Poland's Lech Walesa, Bangladeshi entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus, Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Northern Irish peacemakers David Trimble and John Hume.

"We are deeply concerned about the damage that will be done to South Africa's international image by a refusal - or failure - to grant him a visa yet again," the group said in a letter to Zuma, reported Times Live.

China is South Africa's biggest single trading partner, with two-way trade worth $21-billion in 2012 with China regularly using its economic and political clout to put pressure governments to limit contact with the Dalai Lama.

The history

According to Wikipedia, “The Dalai Lama visited South Africa in 1996, (meeting then President Nelson Mandela), 1999 and 2004. In March 2009 the Dalai Lama was refused entry to South Africa, officially to keep Tibetan politics from overshadowing the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The refusal to allow the Dalai Lama to visit South Africa sparked a political debate within South Africa about the country's political and business interests with China, with some accusing the government of "selling out" sovereignty.”

In 2011 the Dalai Lama was invited to attend and give a lecture at the 80th birthday of Desmond Tutu in October but the Tibetan leader’s visa was delayed significantly enough to ensure that he would not be able to enter the republic legally in time for the event.

“The Dalai Lama's staff accused the South African government of delaying consideration of his visa application because of Chinese pressure, but the government denied such pressure and counter accused the Dalai Lama of not submitting any visa applications.”

To which Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu responded by calling the ANC government "worse than the apartheid government".

The Dalai Lama joined Tutu on his birthday by videoconferencing, calling China a country "built on lies" and "run by hypocrites", and implored Tutu to continue inviting him to South Africa to "test the South African government.

Opposition and COSATU politicians again accused the ANC government of "betraying South Africa's sovereignty and Constitution."

While others in supported the Dalai Lama's physical nonattendance saying that "it's easier to Skype in the Dalai Lama than [to find] billions in alternative investments."

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