South Africa denied Tibet's exiled spiritual leader permission to attend the summit to avoid angering China, which regards the Buddhist monk as a "splitist" who wants Tibet to secede from China.
When the Dalai Lama announced he could not attend the meeting, six fellow laureates said they would boycott the summit in protest.
“The venue of the summit has been shifted out of South Africa,” Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams, one of the boycotters, said to American reporters today. Williams was speaking from Dharamsala, India, where she was visiting the Dalai Lama to celebrate his Nobel silver jubilee anniversary celebrations yesterday.
Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu has lashed out at his government for "kowtowing" to China by barring the Dalai Lama from attending the global summit in Cape Town.
Mr Tutu said the move sullies the memory of Nelson Mandela, who would not bend to the will of powerful states in his time as president. "When the Americans told him he couldn't continue his friendship with presidents Gaddafi and Castro, he told them to go and jump in the lake," Mr Tutu said.
Mr Mandela's heirs in the ruling African National Congress party under president Jacob Zuma had now "spat in Mandela's face", Mr Tutu said in a statement.