Mandela Nobel prize event canceled over Dalai Lama visa row
Tutu, a retired bishop of the Anglican Church accused the government of ‘groveling’ to China’ by blocking the Dalai Lama’s visit for the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates that was scheduled for Cape Town.
I am ashamed to call this lickspittle bunch my government
“I am ashamed to call this lickspittle bunch my government,” he said in a statement.
This follows reports that a high profile Nobel Peace Prize event in Cape Town has been cancelled after the visa snub.
This would have been the first time that the event is being held on African soil.
Nobel peace prize winner Jody Williams told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Wednesday that the summit had been cancelled because “enough Nobel laureates refused to go”.
Tutu said the Nobel Summit, was meant to celebrate former president Nelson Mandela.
“His own comrades have spat in his face, refusing to see him honoured by the holders of the blue ribbon of awards and honours,” he said.
Last week several former winners said they would miss the annual meeting in Cape Town because the Dalai Lama had not received a visa to travel to South Africa.
This is the third time the Dalai Lama has been refused a South African visa.
The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, has been at loggerheads with China over Tibet.
He was hoping to join the Nobel Peace laureates’ conference in Cape Town but withdrew his visa application after being told it would not be approved.
South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said that the Tibetan spiritual leader had cancelled his planned trip to the country and was not denied a visa.
The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
A South African court ruled two years ago that officials had “unreasonably delayed” a decision on granting The Dalai Lama a visa in 2011.
As a result of the delay, he was unable to attend Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations in Cape Town.
Last month, Nobel Peace laureates signed a letter urging Zuma, to unconditionally guarantee a visa to, the Dalai Lama for him to attend the summit.
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille is expected to address the media late on Thursday on the cancellation of the event.