Peace Conference in South Africa canceled

Dalai Lama, together with Geir Lundestad, Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and Bente Erichsen, Director of the Nobel Peace Center, viewing the exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in June 2005.

Dalai Lama, together with Geir Lundestad, Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and Bente Erichsen, Director of the Nobel Peace Center, viewing the exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in June 2005. Copyright © Nobel Peace Center 2005. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen

 

The peace conference scheduled to begin in Johannesburg, South Africa on March 27 has been postponed indefinitely, following the controversy after the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was barred from entering the country.

The Dalai Lama, who was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 was expected to join fellow laureates at the peace conference, which was organized by top soccer officials, but the South African government turned down his application for an entry visa.

The move prompted sharp criticism from the Norwegian Nobel Committee and Retired Cape Town Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was quoted saying that barring of the Dalai Lama was “disgraceful.”

As reported yesterday, Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee cancelled their plans to participate in the conference.  “Our view is quite clear. If Dalai Lama is not allowed in, the Nobel Committee will not participate in the peace conference,” said the Committee Secretary, Geir Lundestad to Oslo newspaper Aftenposten.

“It is disappointing that South Africa, which through the long fight against apartheid has received so much solidarity from the world, doesn’t want to give that solidarity to others,” says Nobel Institute Director Geir Lundestad.

The conference was initially supported by the Norwegian Nobel Committee and Norway had contributed NOK 3 million towards the international conference, which is arranged in connection with the annual soccer friendly between Norway and South Africa. The conference was meant to highlight ways in which sport can promote peace ahead of the 2010 World Cup, which is being held in South Africa.

Norwegian Minister Norwegian Minister of International Developoment, Erik Solheim has already arrived in South Africa.

Source: The Norway Post.

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