The Dalai Lama: An open letter to President Motlanthe

Various individuals and organisations call for an apology to the Tibetan spiritual leader


We, the undersigned organizations and individuals support the call by Health Minister Barbara Hogan for government to apologise for the decision to prohibit the Dalai Lama from entering South Africa. We also call on government to reverse the decision.

As Minister Hogan stated, this decision by the government was made on behalf of all citizens. It undermines the values of freedom, equality, dignity and sovereignty upon which our Constitution is founded. Given our history South Africa should be at the forefront of resisting the use of economic power to bully other countries into silence on human rights violations. But we are also concerned that there may be undeclared interests at play in the decision to bow to China on this issue, such as party political funding.

It is unfortunate that Minister Hogan has become the centre of attention regarding the ban on the Dalai Lama. The South African Human Rights Commission and others had already publicly expressed their concern regarding the government's decision prior to the statement that was made by Hogan. The real issue is not about Hogan but about the foreign policy choices of our government.

Political leaders must be loyal first and foremost to the Constitution.  Hogan was not only giving voice to her conscience, but was also speaking in defence of our Constitution and the duty of the state to represent us all in a manner that is befitting of constitutional values.  In the past, threats by presidents of the United States based on its economic power did not stop Nelson Mandela and other senior government leaders from speaking honestly on global human rights violations, including torture in Iraq and the rights of oppressed people to self determination.

Again we call on our government to reverse its decision to deny the Dalai Lama entry into South Africa and to apologise for its mistake. This will take courage but our people will support it as will the global community of citizens.  We also call on the government to assure us that no action will be taken against Minister Hogan whose leadership of the health department has begun to repair the damage and despair caused by her predecessor.



Prof Quarraisha Abdol-Karim

Board Member, AIDS Law Project

Zackie Achmat

Treatment Action Campaign - Deputy General Secretary and ANC Supporter

Sieraaj Ahmed


AIDS Law Project


Paula Akugizibwe


Stef Albertyn


Gabriela Altamirano

Habonim Dror Southern Africa

Yvette Andrews


Anglican Diocese of the Free State


Premi Appalraju


Tara Appalraju


Artists for a New South Africa


Assitej South Africa


Balspindie Press


Laurel Baldwin-Ragaven


Ms Vivian Black

Reproductive Health & HIV Research Unit

Ms Lucilla Blankenberg

Community Media Trust

Zenariah Barends


Daniel Barnett

Habonim Dror Southern Africa

Yoni Bass


Lunga Biyela


Lucilla Blankenberg


Adv Julia Boltar

Johannesburg Bar

Andrew Boraine


Deena Bosch


Joel Bregman


Derek Brian


Dr Brian Brink

Board Member, AIDS Law Project

Nathalie R Bucher


Adv SF Burger SC

Group 621

Rober Carr


Centre for Applied Legal Studies


Centre for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ)


Polly Claydon


Thomas Coggin


Rachel M Cohen


Colonnades Theatre Lab, SA


Prof. Mark Cotton


Creative Voices


Anthony Day


Anne Katrin Detjen


Xavier Donceel


Nikki de Havilland


Jacques de Villiers


Andries Dippenaar


Ms Vuyiseka Dubula

Board Member, AIDS Law Project and General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign

Sandi Du Bowski

United States of America

Evi Eggers


Sharon Ekambaram


Collin Eglin


Deborah Ewing


Andrew Feinstein


Friends of TAC (FoTAC)


Anik Gevers


Erica Glyn-Jones

PANSA National Chair

Andrew Feinstein


Doret Ferreira


Jenifer Festis-Ferguson


Prof. Sharon Fonn

Board Member, AIDS Law Project

Louis Fourie


Vivian Fritelli


Nicole Fritz


Sr Veronica Fynn


Nathan Geffen

Treatment Action Campaign

Eric Goemaere


Gregg Gonsalves

United States of America

Lucia Gorne


Andy Gray

Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in SA (CAPRISA)

Temoris Grecko


Jacqueline Green

United States of America

Dotan Greenvald

Israeli Peace and Justice Activist

Charlie Greenwood-Elliott


Anna Grimsrud


Deon Groenewald


Grant Gunston


Habonim Dror Southern Africa


Camilla Hansen


Prof. Shireen Hassim

Wits University

Yvette Hardie


Paula Hathorn


Dr Anneke C Hesseling


Health and Human Rights Programme and School of Public Health and Family Medicine - UCT


Robert Hendricks


Frances Hill


Nokhwezi Hoboyi


Rebecca Hodes

Treatment Action Campaign

Karl Hoffman


Dr Simone Honikam

Head: Perinatal Mental Health Project : UCT

Dr Lyn Horn


Denise Hunt AIDS Consortium


Gilad Isaacs


Vuyani Jacobs

Community Media Trust

Dr Marie Jobson


Dr G Josias


Demille Jovan


Rhoda Kadalie


Rozanne Kamalie


Iphegenia Kerfoot


Julian Kesler


Mazkir Klali

Habonim Dror Southern Africa

Larissa Klazinga

One in Nine Campaign

Louise Knight


Justice Johann Kriegler

Board Member, AIDS Law Project

Gerald Kraak

Atlantic Philanthropies

Victor Lakay


Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)


Katherine Lawrence


Adv Michelle Le Roux

Johannesburg Bar

Karl Le Roux


Yaron Lever

Habonim Dror Southern Africa

Simon Lewin


Jack Lewis

Community Media Trust

Graeme Lipschitz


Daniel Linda

Habonim Dror Southern Africa

Prof. Leslie London


Rev Steven Lottering


Carol Luka


Chani Macauley


Mikhael Manekin

Israeli Peace & Justice Activist

Mari Martinsen


Moses Masitha


Sithembile Mbete


Dr Cheryl McDermid


Stephen McGill


Anneke Meerkotter

Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre

Graeme Meintjes


Letti Mdani


Gaoretelelwe N N Molebalwa


Moeketsi Montsho


David Moore


Mosamaria AIDS Ministry


Peter John Moses


Michael Moss


Keketso Mptale


Nhlanhla Ndlovu

Board Member, AIDS Law Project and Trustee, Centre for Economic Governance and AIDS in Africa

Tantaswa Ndlelana


Attapon Ted Ngoksin

International Treatment Preparedness Coalition Secretariat

Joseph N Ngunju

Ambassadors for Change, Kenya

Dr James Nuttall


Caleb Orozco

United Belizze Advocacy Movement - Belize)

Dr Heidi Orth


Dr Nesri Padayatchi

Centre for AIDS Programme of Research in SA (CAPRISA)

Shane Petzer


Le Nhan Phuong

Atlantic Philanthropies

Prof. Marius Pieterse

Board Member, AIDS Law Project

Prof. Wolfgang Preiser


Ilan Price

Habonim Dror Southern Africa

Catherine Pringle


Public Service Accountability Monitor


Helena Rabie


Yvette Alta Raphael


Zina Raj


Fazel Randera


Molebogeng Rangaka


Michael Rautenbach

Siyayinqoba, Beat It!

Shaun Resnik


Mandy Ristow


Bernice Roeland

Director of AIDS Response

Peter Rutherford


SA Human Rights Commission


Cathryn Salter-Jansen


Joery Sasse


Eric Sawyer

Co-Founder ACT UP NY

Sass Schulz


Kira Schlesinger


Simon Sephton


Fisani Sekwele


Butjwana Seokoma


Siber Ink Publishers


Gavin Silber


Abongile Sipondo


Jill Sloan


Social Justice Coalition


Theo Steele

Board Member, AIDS Law Project

Jenny Stead


Ilan Strauss


Francois Taljaard


The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa


Lega Thlame


Alison Tilley


Treatment Action Campaign


Adv Wim Trengrove

Johannesburg Bar

Adv Duncan Turner

Johannesburg Bar

Daniel Turton

United States of America

Adv David Unterhalter SC

Johannesburg Bar

Prof. Donna Van Bogaert

Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics

Dr Gilles van Cutsem


Annalie van Niekerk


Desmond van Niekerk


Vernita van Niekerk


Pieter van Rooijen


Gert van Zyl


Rouvanne van der Berg


Alex van der Heever


Willem van der Linde


Ahmien van der Walt


Dr Francois Venter


Sara Weiss


Adv Matthew Welz


Jodi Wishnia


Jonathan Whittall


Thein Win


Wan Yanhai

Beiking Aizhixing Institute, China

Nathan Geffen

Treatment Action Campaign Treasurer

Brian Honermann

AIDS Law Project, Researcher


Issued by the AIDS Law Project

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