JOHANNESBURG — The Dalai Lama has again been refused entry into South Africa where he was going to attend the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, his South African representative said.
Nangsa Choedon said officials from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation called her to say the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visa was denied, the Cape Times newspaper reported today. However, the office has not yet received written confirmation of the refusal, she said.
“For now the Dalai Lama has decided to cancel his trip to South Africa,” Choedon was quoted as saying.
The department said the South African high commission in India received a visa application from the Dalai Lama’s office.
“The application will be taken through normal due process. The relevant authorities will communicate with the applicant thereafter,” the department’s statement said.
The annual summit is being held in Cape Town next month. Other Nobel Laureates have told Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu that the will not attend if the Dalai Lama is not permitted into the country, the newspaper reported.
This is the third time in five years the Dalai Lama has been refused a South African visa.
A South African court in 2012 ruled that officials “unreasonably delayed” a decision about whether to grant the Dalai Lama a visa for a 2011 trip, largely out of fears of angering the Chinese government.
The Dalai Lama wants increased autonomy for Tibet, the homeland from which he has been exiled since 1959. China accuses him of being a separatist.
The Dalai Lama was welcomed to South Africa in 1996 and met with Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black and democratically elected president. But in 2009, the South African government kept the Dalai Lama from attending a Nobel laureates’ peace conference, saying it would detract attention from the 2010 soccer World Cup.
The spiritual leader later made plans to travel to South Africa in October 2011 to attend the 80th birthday party of a fellow Nobel laureate Tutu. Despite reportedly meeting all the requirements, the South African government did not issue the visa submitted two months before the celebration and the Dalai Lama ultimately withdrew his application.