Tibetan Olympics
Tibetan Olympics 2008

Press Releases

Tibetan Olympics torch relay, Cape Town leg

— The leaders of four of South Africa's largest church groups have issued strong statements of support for the Tibetan people, calling for a restoration of human rights in Tibet, and for negotiations between the People's Republic of China and the Dalai Lama.

Statements have so far been issued by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (Anglican Church), Cardinal Wilfrid Napier (Roman Catholic Church), Dr Kobus Gerber (General Secretary of the Dutch Reformed Church) and Bishop Paul Verreyne (Methodist Church of Southern Africa).

The statements condemn the human rights abuses in Tibet over the last 60 years and urge world leaders and the South African government to take a stand on Tibetan human rights, including the right to self-determination. In particular, the Dutch Reformed Church statement urges action on Tibet by the World Federation of Reformed Churches, the South African Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches, as well as other Christian groups.

The Methodist Church statement also calls on the South African government and influential South Africans, as well as world bodies, to stand against what it calls 'fascism' in Tibet.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu appeals, in his statement, to the People's Republic of China to grant access to Tibet to the UN Human Rights Commissioner, for assessing the treatment of Tibetans in the wake of the recent protests and uprisings in Lhasa and elsewhere in Tibet.

In his statement, Cardinal Napier urges the PRC to restore human rights in Tibet and to desist from false accusations against the Dalai Lama.

These statements come in the week before Archbishop Desmond Tutu is due to light the Tibetan Freedom Torch on 27 April, South Africa's Freedom Day, at an event organised by the South African Friends of Tibet in Cape Town.

They represent a massive groundswell of around 20 million people to date, a figure which will no doubt be increasing very soon to become a majority of South Africans as Muslim, Jewish, government and other organizations join the call for Tibetan human rights and cultural restoration. We are witnessing the greatest confluence of public solidarity in South Africa on any issue since 1994.

The Tibetan Olympics Torch is a galvanising factor, please see: www.tibetanolympics.com and www.saft.org.za/index.php?pg=4


  • Mr Ian Macfarlane
    m: +27 (0) 82 92 92 544

More about the Cape Town leg

More about Tibetan Olympics

Our official carrier is Himalaya Tours and Travels

Media persons can contact them for accommodation and transportation arrangements.

Feel free to print posters and make t-shirts!