DHARAMSHALA, September 24: Four Nobel women peace laureates have refused to attend the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa from October 13-15.
Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee and a representative of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) have decided to shun the summit following South Africa’s refusal to issue a visa to Nobel peace laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama and China’s public declaration of thanks for South Africa’s decision to block the spiritual leader from entering South Africa.
“The Dalai Lama advocates a nonviolent, negotiated solution to the Tibet problem—what he calls ‘the Middle-Way Approach’—and is calling for real autonomy for Tibet under Chinese sovereignty,” said a statement posted on the website of Nobel Women’s Initiative.
Fourteen Nobel peace laureates had urged the South African president Jacob Zuma last week to allow the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit South Africa.
The Tibetan leader had been denied visa thrice in the last five years, drawing public outcry by South Africans who see it as a betrayal of the commitment to human rights embraced by their government since the end of apartheid 20 years ago.
Two years ago, the country’s top court found that the government had acted unlawfully by dragging its heels on a visa application by the Tibetan leader until it was too late.
Meanwhile, China – South Africa’s biggest single trading partner, with two-way trade worth $21-billion in 2012 – welcomed the move by South Africa.