Nobel Peace Summit Cancelled Because of Boycott Print
Global Stage
Friday, 03 October 2014 09:50

The World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates scheduled for October 13-15th in South Africa has been cancelled as six Nobel laureates have boycotted the venue, because the South African government refuses to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama.

Six female laureates accused China of pressuring countries to deny visas or meetings with the Dalai Lama, who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner himself.

One of the six boycotting laureates, American Jody Williams, said in Dharamsala that she was proud the protest resulted in cancellation of the summit. 

"When we first learned that the Nobel summit this year would be in Cape Town, South Africa, hosted by President de Klerk, a Nobel laureate, Archbishop Tutu, a Nobel laureate and the woman mayor of Cape Town, we immediately sent a note, expressing our deep concern that this site had been chosen, given the history of South Africa, in bending to Chinese pressure and refusing to allow His Holiness to visit.  A level of confusion was made for many of us that he was even not allowed a visa in terms of going to celebrate Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday.  How that could be a threat to the government of China was extremely confusing to us," said Williams.

Ms Williams accused South African president Jacob Zuma's government of "selling its sovereignty" to China.

"Not a single laureate is happy about that decision [to cancel]. Fourteen laureates protested to President Zuma, pressuring him, begging him, to give a visa to His Holiness [the Dalai Lama] so that we all could be together and celebrate in South Africa the legacy of Nelson Mandela."