A boat performance on Tam Chuc Lake in front of Tam Chuc Pagoda in Ha Nam province on July 14 to mark the conclusion of the UN Day of Vesak 2019 (Photo: VNA)

Ha Nam (VNA) – The successful organisation of the 16th United Nations Day of Vesak earlier this year helped demonstrate Vietnam’s respect for the freedom of belief and religion, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said at a meeting on July 29.

The meeting was held by the Government’s working group and the People’s Committee of the northern province of Ha Nam to review the organisation of the UN Day of Vesak 2019.

The UN Day of Vesak 2019 was hosted by the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha at Tam Chuc Pagoda in Kim Bang district of Ha Nam from May 12 to 14. Themed “Buddhist Approach to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Sustainable Societies”, it brought together 1,650 delegates from 112 countries and territories worldwide.

Deputy PM Binh said thanks to efforts by the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, the Xuan Truong company, along with the support of the Party and State’s leaders and relevant ministries, sectors and localities, the country created a memorable UN Day of Vesak, leaving a good impression on foreign friends and delegates to the event.

He stressed that the successful organisation once again affirmed Vietnam’s support for the UN’s activities and the ethical values of religions, including Buddhism.

With the Ha Nam Declaration, the event further highlighted Vietnam’s consistent respect for the people’s freedom of belief and religion and the favourable conditions created for religions to be practiced in line with legal regulations. It also showed the country’s wish to be a friend and trustworthy partner of international friends, as well as a responsible member that always supports activities initiated and organised by the UN.

Through the UN Day of Vesak 2019, foreign friends gained an insight into the improvements in the religious life in Vietnam and learned more about the country’s land and people, he added.

At the meeting, 12 collectives and 13 individuals with outstanding achievements in the organisation of the UN Day of Vesak 2019 were presented with merit certificates by the chairperson of the Ha Nam People’s Committee.

The UN’s commemoration of Vesak has been held three times in Vietnam so far. Previously, it took place in Hanoi in 2008 and Ninh Binh province in 2014.

The UN General Assembly on December 15, 1999 recognised the Day of Vesak to celebrate the thrice-sacred event of the life of the Buddha Gautama (birth, enlightenment and death) and to acknowledge the contributions that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made to humanity.

The UN Day of Vesak was first celebrated in 2001. -VNA