“Let him in – Now!”: Let His Holiness the Dalai Lama in to South Africa
Civil society petition to be submitted to the South African Government: President Zuma and all Cabinet members
1. We are people who live and work in South Africa (SA) and elsewhere. We are committed to peace and non-violence.
2. We believe in freedom of expression and free movement.
3. We believe in upholding the SA Constitution.
4. We respect all spiritual leaders. We respect the spiritual and historical leadership of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and also the spiritual leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is the de facto spiritual leader of at least 300 million Buddists worldwide.
5. We are outraged that the SA government and its officials have again acted unconstitutionally to effectively prevent Nobel Peace Prize recipient His Holiness the Dalai Lama from entering South Africa to attend the birthday celebrations and inaugural talk hosted by Nobel Peace Prize recipient the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Such conduct unfairly undermines our rights and the right of others, and it undermines our Constitutional freedoms and values.
6. We are embarrassed by the decision and conduct of the SA government – which is reminiscent of Apartheid South Africa.
7. We believe that his Holiness the Dalai Lama is being refused entry ito our (sovereign) country on the basis of political considerations that are inconsistent with our Constitution and the values contained in it.
8. We believe that SA is an independent sovereign Constitutional state that should not allow individuals who qualify for entry into SA under our law to be arbitrarily refused access on the basis of trade pressure exerted by another government.
9. There is simply no good excuse or Constitutional reason to deny His Holiness the Dalai Lama entry to South Africa.
10. We also believe that the misinformation campaign launched by officials in our government (Department of International Relations and Cooperation DIRCO) on procedural aspects of the application for a visa is again a ruse. We believe that the lack of proper information about this process undermines our right to access information and our right to know.
11. We believe that the conduct of the government and its officials in DIRCO and Department of Home Affairs as well as the decision to effectively protract his application for entry and thereby refuse him entry, is unconstitutional.
12. Such conduct is designed to ensure that very little time exists for ordinary people such as us, regardless of our faith and affiliations to challenge the SA government’s unconstitutional behavior.
13. This matter raises serious concerns about the ability of officials and Ministers to respect the rule of law. Again, we feel that our foreign policy is being dictated by arbitrary and singular concerns.
14. We will not stand by this time and watch this happen.
15. As people living in SA we are ashamed and hurt by the manner in which the SA government has chosen to respond to this matter, we say that it has wronged the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama.
16. We urgently call on our government to immediately grant permission for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to travel to SA as per his invitation from peace activist and struggle hero Archbishop Tutu. Our law allows this and our Constitution demands it.
17. We call on everyone in SA and internationally to condemn the refusal by the SA government to make adequate provision to allow His Holiness the Dalai Lama to come to SA for the visit –and we urge them to show their displeasure through non-violent peaceful protest and action here in South Africa and at SA embassies all over the world.
1. Desmond Tutu Peace Centre
2. Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum
3. Buddhist Practitioner Group RSA
4. SA Friends of Tibet
5. Ndifuna Ukwazi
6. South African Peace Alliance
7. Cape Town Interfaith Initiative
8. Reclaim Camissa Trust