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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

South African Friends of Tibet are not surprised by the failure of the SA Govt to timeously issue a visa to the Dalai Lama

October 8, 2011

4 September 2011
The South African Friends of Tibet are not surprised by the failure of the SA Govt to timeously issue a visa to the Dalai Lama. We, like most South African citizens, hold the view that the SA Govt has stalled and prevaricated over this matter under pressure from the Govt of the PRC.
We remind all interested parties that the Foreign Ministry of the PRC issued directives in March 2009 to the effect that the Dalai Lama should not be allowed to visit countries with special ties to the PRC.
We await a clear statement from the SA Govt as to its reasons for deliberately delaying the processing of the visa. The South African electorate has a right to straightforward answers in this regard.
It is obvious that the stalling of the visa process has been a ploy to effectively prevent the Dalai Lama from entering South Africa. We know of no reason, other than Chinese intervention, why the SA Govt should act to prevent the Dalai Lama from visiting South Africa.
In our view this amounts to Chinese usurpation of aspects of South African sovereignty, and direct intervention in the constitutional rights of South African citizens, including the rights to freedom of association, expression and religion.
We note that the SA Ministry of International Relations has reneged on its 2009 statement -- after the Dalai Lama had been barred from entering South Africa to attend a peace conference -- that he would be welcome to visit South Africa at any time like any other world citizen. We also note that the Dept of Home Affairs, in failing to process the visa application in a timeous manner, is in breach of constitutional law.
Together with the entire electorate, we therefore expect explanations for their conduct in this matter from both these ministries, and from the Office of the President.
We await these clarifications as a matter of urgency, given the constitutional implications involved.
We urge all political parties and NGOs concerned with human rights and the upholding of SA Sovereignty and constitutional rights to apply to government for clarification and redress.
The Committee and Members of SAFT.
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