Monday, March 9, 2009

Keynote Address at the Closing of National Inter-beliefs Conference with Religious Groups in Cambodia

20th February 2008, Chaktomouk Conference Hall

-Your Venerable Patriarch Samdech Preah Moha Sangkareach Thepadey Tep Vong,

-Your Venerable Samdech Preah Moha Sangkareach Bou Kry,

-Your Venerable Chief of Monks Non Nget and all Venerable Monks,

-All Religious Leaders,

-Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, International and national guests!

Today, I have a great honour and pleasure to participate with all religious leaders coming from various part of Cambodia at this closing of the profound National Inter-beliefs Conference. This fruitful participation and spirit symbolizes the bright and significant willingness as well as clear understanding of the Royal Government’s current requests and needs, who exerting utmost efforts to bring about bright future, peace and harmony for the whole nation. Taking this priceless opportunity, I would like to convey my compliment and appreciations to the Ministry of Cults and Religions and all religious leaders for pushing for this meeting to be held successfully and fruitfully with pride.

Let me reaffirm that the word ”religion” has been and is being continuously promoted by the government’s institution aiming at enabling religious power to always make progress mutually with the terms ”nation” and ”king”, that is ”Nation, Religion, King”. Furthermore, the freedom to follow religious belief is widely opened as envisaged in the national constitution of the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia. Obviously, although national motto and constitution states clearly about the right and freedom to religious belief, such common and large-scale proof of action has never been witnessed before. Hence, on the behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to sincerely appreciate and endorse what is happening today and to encourage you to keep carrying out this activity in order to strengthen solidarity and promote culture of understanding among our people at the present and in the future.

Indeed, the government needs the presence, active participation and material and spiritual support from all of Your Venerable Monks, ladies and gentlemen and people in order to build Cambodia as a nation free of violence, right abuse and religious conflict, but, to foster Cambodian society into a society that has strong interconnecting cells, prosperity, great civilization, long-lasting peace.

Indeed, religious belief is a cultural heritage, soul and identity as well as property of individual, family, community of a nation, which persist deeply in the heart and blood of the people. Regardless of the circumstances, one must not let any religious power to abuse one’s religious belief in any form. In contrast, when we received information on offences from one religious on another, we must not neglect and must react at some certain degrees in order protect and show our faith to our religious belief. In this sense, the government is making effort to prevent all types of religious offence and bringing various topics for discussion in order to seek any inactivity and negative effect that might occur as well as to seek good and practical formula and resolution for preventing and resolving this kind of conflict.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to appeal that, currently Cambodia is making progress toward the development in all sectors including education, health, economic and others. At the same time, religious affairs are of special interest and important agenda of the RCG. In this sense, the Royal Government urges and requires good understanding and close collaboration between all religious leaders to ensure the freedom and protection of interests for all religions within the framework of the “Rectangular Strategy” in Cambodia.

At the same time, after listening to the report of H.E. Khun Hang, Senior Minister, Minister of Cults and Religions, all participants can clearly understand that religions have been making significant contribution to the social development, peace and security through their tremendous achievement in the implementation of their action plans that are reflected by their close and active cooperation and understanding with one another. This fact attests to religions’ strong spirit and position to work together aiming at creating respect, forgiveness, and understanding, and cooperation in the society in accordance with democratic principles and, human rights and dignity.

Furthermore, based on the positive and optimistic concepts found in this important meeting, the concepts of all religions and religious leaders has a common goal, that is all religions want to transform our world into heaven and a quiet place with peace, development, and happiness; religions also aim at bringing about brightness, happiness and forgiveness and steering the world away from jealousy, illiteracy, greed, cruelty, and anger that form the root of pains; religions also aim at ferrying people to Enlightenment. In this sense, as a Buddhist and on behalf of the RCG, I would like to propose some recommendations as follows:

1- Please make use the outcome of this meeting to effectively implement and regard it as an influential drive to convince all people to live with respect, understanding, and cooperation in order to strengthen peace and harmonization in Cambodia as well as in the world.

2- May the non-violence culture of the Buddhist and other religions be a panacea to remind humankinds’ conscience about the value of peace and urge them to contribute to protecting the existence of peaceful culture for the benefits of humankinds and the world.

3- I would like to urge all religious leaders to follow their own profound religious doctrine and to cooperate, respect and protect the interests of other religions for the sake of development and sustainability of Cambodia and the world.

Before closing, once again, I would like to extend my profound gratitude to all Venerable Monks for your sympathy and efforts. I would also like to thank the Ministry of Cults and Religions as well as Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, and all participants in this meeting who have made mental and physical sacrifice and shown your active and strong involvement in the respectful and thoughtful dialogue to understand each other.

I would regard this gathering as a tremendous sacrifice and of great importance to deal with crises and eliminate conflicts in the society, and the proof that indicates the loyal support and implementation of the “Rectangular Strategy”. May today’s cooperation become sacred water and great blessing for all Cambodian people and humankinds.

Finally, I would like to wish Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen the 5 Gems of Buddhist Blessing and declare the closing of this conference now.

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