By Ann Baek
This week the “Peace message for the Implementation of Peaceful Religions” was held at Cambodiana Hotel Grand Ballroom hosted by Supreme Patriarch’s Cabinet of Cambodia and HWPL, an international NGO under the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
This conference was to discuss the role of religion in overcoming religious conflicts and protecting individual religious faith. About 450 participants including religious leaders from Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity in Cambodia, South Korea, Vietnam, Indiaand Singapore joined the event.
“Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL has worked with all the leaders in various sectors in the world and he has made peace possible in this age and left peace as a legacy in the future. I also hope to end war and conflict through cooperation with HWPL and hope that future generations will live peacefully,” said H.H. Samdech Preah Agga Mahā Sangharājādhipat Tep Vong in his congratulatory speech.
Sim Mohddaud, Director of International Cooperation Department of Highest Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Cambodia, emphasized religious harmony by saying.
“In order to achieve religious harmony, it is crucial to overcome the difference in religious ideals and to communicate with each other through the teachings of religious scriptures.
“Therefore, comparative study on scriptures and communication in interfaith dialogue is highly desirable.”
Regarding human rights concerns, main speakers at the conference said that public attention is needed for the matter of religious repression in order to achieve religious harmony. Speakers voiced that there shouldn’t be a violation of human rights against those who have different religions.
Hoy Sochivanny, President of Positive Change for Cambodia, urged attention to human rights for believers, saying “Religion should serve as an educator teaching good behavior to all people in the world. However, some religions are threateningfreedom of religion and human rights of religious people. Each religion must cease to do evil in the name of religion.”
Mr. Man Hee. Lee, chairman of HWPL, said “Today’s world is different from the old days. There are many things that can destroy the world. So now we must end the war in the world and leave eternal peace to our future generations. Everyone will become a messenger of peace and let’s make peace together.”
HWPL as an international NGO for global peace building has invested its efforts in Southeast Asia in the field of religious dialogues and peace education.
In 2014, HWPL opened talks for local leaders and civil society groups in Mindanao, the Philippines to facilitate inter-ethnic, inter-religious communication for peace building and overcome damages of the 40 year-conflict in the region. In 2016, 70 schools in Mindanao and HWPL signed MOUs to implement peace education for students.
Along with 189 educational institutions from 20 countries, HWPL and government agencies from 6 countries signed MOUs to introduce nation-wide peace education proposed by HWPL, including Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport of Cambodia and the Commission on Higher Education in the Philippines.
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