Several Nobel peace winners boycott South Africa

AP News
Posted: Sep 25, 2014 7:40 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Several Nobel peace laureates 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 peace prize winners, 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 Dalai Lama says he wants more autonomy for Chinese-controlled Tibet, while China says he is a separatist.

Those skipping a meeting of Nobel peace laureates in South Africa on Oct. 13-15 are Iranian-born rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi; Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian women's rights activist; Jody Williams, an anti-landmine activist; and a representative of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which was led by Williams.

Earlier this month, a group of 14 Nobel peace laureates appealed to South Africa to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama, saying he abandoned an attempt to get permission to travel to Cape Town after being told that he would be refused.

South Africa has close business ties with China, and has previously denied entry to the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama canceled his planned visit while South Africa's diplomats in New Delhi were processing his visa application, and the matter is closed, the South African government has said.

The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.