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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Buthelezi takes Dalai Lama issue to court

March 29, 2009

Peter Fabricius
Independent (South Africa)
March 28 2009

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has brought an
urgent court application to order the government
to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama "in the nearest
future" to enable him to participate in a
postponed peace conference which was to be held in Johannesburg yesterday.

Buthelezi who describes himself as "a political,
traditional and spiritual leader for the past 60
years" says he was scheduled to meet the Dalai
Lama when he was in South Africa to discuss
"issues affecting Tibet, world politics and the
spirituality during the present global
depression, and to pray together for peaceful and serene elections in SA".

In his affidavit before the Cape Town High Court
he says the government's denial of a visa to the
Tibetan spiritual and political leader to
participate in the conference is unconstitutional
because it denied him and others their
constitutional rights to meet and pray with the
Dalai Lama and to hear and benefit from his
message of peace and reconciliation at the conference and during his visit.

If the decision is not rescinded, it would
silence and censor the Dalai Lama's religious and
political message and violate the constitutional
rights of himself and all South Africans rights
to political action, to religious freedom, to
freedom of thought and expression "which includes
the right to receive political messages and addresses" and to dignity.

The order is directed against President
Motlanthe, Home Affairs minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula and Director-General Mavuso
Msimang. Buthelezi adds that as a former Home
Affairs minister himself, he knows that denying
the visa was "an exclusively political decision
as there are no grounds in law to bar him from
entry" and that had he been Home Affairs minister
still he would not have yielded to political pressure to deny him a visa.

The "unlawful" political motives for barring the
Dalai Lama include "the ruling party's
relationship with China and its related political
fundraising" and its dislike of the Dalai Lama
and his foreseeable religious and political
messages to South Africans, his struggle for the
autonomy of Tibet, and his meetings and prayers with South Africans.

The decision had been "made for individual or
group ulterior purposes or gains" and was
"informed by impermissible and partisan foreign policy considerations".

"I am bringing this application to review and set
aside such a political decision," added
Buthelezi, noting that from his expertise and
experience he believed that decisions on visas
should be "neutral in respect of foreign policy consideration and policies".

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