Several Nobel Peace Prize winners will skip an annual meeting in Cape Town because the Dalai Lama has not received a visa to travel to South Africa.
The Nobel Women’s Initiative, founded by female Nobel laureates, said in a statement this week that China puts political pressure on countries in order to curb the Tibetan spiritual leader’s travel and interaction with political leaders.
The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation has denied that it had refused a visa to the Dalai Lama.
In a statement, the ministry said the Dalai Lama had cancelled his trip while “the South African High Commission in New Delhi was still processing the visa application in line with due process relating to visa applications”.
At the time, the City of Cape Town’s mayor, Patricia De Lille described government’s claim as disengenious.
The Dalai Lama says he wants more autonomy for Chinese-controlled Tibet, while China says he is a separatist.
The women’s group says those skipping a meeting of Nobel peace laureates in South Africa on October 13-15 are Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee and a representative of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.