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Interfaith Peacebuilding

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Interfaith Programs

Consultation in Bangkok on an Interreligious Council at the UN

Bangkok, Thailand – UPF-Thailand convened two consultations regarding UPF's proposal for an interreligious council at the UN. The first consultation was with members of UPF-Thailand's Sub-committee on Religion and the second included representatives Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism. They recommended setting up an interreligious peace council in Thailand as part of the ground work for a similar council at the UN.

The first consultation, on August 10, was chaired by Gen. Terdsak Marrome, Vice President of UPF-Thailand. UPF-Thailand’s Secretary General, Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul, explained developments in the proposal for an interreligious council. Eighteen religious leaders, government officials, NGOs leaders, and scholars attended this meeting.

They all agreed at the end on the need for an interreligious council at the UN and suggested as an initial step setting up an interreligious council on the national level in Thailand. Some shared their experiences of trying to set up such a council in the past, but there were many obstacles that prevented it from succeeding. Some strongly supported UPF's proposal and encouraged organizers not to give up but instead persevere and find ways to set up such a council.

The second consultation, on August 30, included 100 top religious leaders and representatives. All major religions in Thailand were represented: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism. Additional participants included religious scholars, representatives of faith-based NGOs, and Ambassadors for Peace including representatives from the government's Religious Affairs Department, the Ministry of Culture, the Police Department, and advisers from the Senate’s Subcommittee on Religions and Culture.

Dr. Lek presented the developments of the proposal for an interreligious council for the benefit of first-time participants. Gen. Pol. Thaveesak Toojinda, a member of the Senate’s Sub-Committee on Human Rights and Freedom and Commander of the Central Investigation Bureau, gave suggestions about how NGOs can influence the UN by working closely with their governments.

 

 

 

Ambassador Asda Jayanama explained about the UN system, describing it as fundamentally an organization of nations. It was recommended that UPF chapters work with their governments and that national interreligious peace councils be established and recognized by their governments as a basis for promoting an interreligious council in the UN system.

Many participants have years of experience in interreligious work and in peacebuilding. Most of the religious leaders are interesting in helping to establish an interreligious peace council in Thailand. They suggest setting up a small working group to consider ways to address the obstacles encountered in previous attempts to set up an effective interreligious council in Thailand.

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