Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa has asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Tibet to investigate into the developments there and to report to the international community.

In a statement issued on March 25, 2008 Tutu expressed his solidarity with the Dalai Lama and asked China “to enter into substantive and meaningful dialogue with this man of peace.”

Following is the full text of the statement.

I wish to express my solidarity with the people of Tibet during this critical time in their history. To my dear friend His Holiness the Dalai Lama, let me say: I stand with you. You define non violence and compassion and goodness. I was in an Easter retreat when the recent tragic events unfolded in Tibet. I learned that China has stated you caused violence. Clearly China does not know you, but they should. I call on China’s government to know His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as so many have come to know, during these long decades years in exile. Listen to His Holiness’ pleas for restraint and calm and no further violence against this civilian population of monastics and lay people.

I urge China to enter into a substantive and meaningful dialogue with this man of peace, the Dalai Lama. China is uniquely positioned to impact and affect our world. Certainly the leaders of China know this or they would not have bid for the Olympics. Killing, imprisonment and torture are not a sport: the innocents must be released and given free and fair trials.

I urge my esteemed friend Louise Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Tibet and be given access to assess, and report to the international community, the events which led to this international outcry for justice. The High Commissioner should be allowed to travel with journalists, and other observers, who may speak truth to power and level the playing field so that, indeed, this episode — these decades of struggle — may attain a peaceful resolution. This will help not only Tibet. It will help China.

And China, poised to receive the world during the forthcoming Olympic Games needs to make sure the eyes of the world will see that China has changed, that China is willing to be a responsible partner in international global affairs. Finally, China must stop naming, blaming and verbally abusing one whose life has been devoted to non violence, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a Nobel peace laureate.