Religious freedom

Buddhist clergy rights

Buddhism in Southeast Asia: a Catalyst for Civic Exchange

On 13 November, Buddhist leaders from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia met in Vientiane, the capital of Laos,to “strengthen co-operation between the three countries’ Buddhist organizations and promote and develop Lao Buddhism [both] in the region and internationally.” This meeting, attended by over 500 monastics, was called ...

Ganga initiative brings culture into new Asian trade routes

A recent conference at Thammasat University in Bangkok brought together Indian and Southeast Asian scholars to discuss re-building cultural links along two major rivers in Asia – the Ganges and the Mekong – that in ancient times provided transport links to build great civilizations influenced ...

Kalinga Seneviratne

Vientiane gears up for an exciting Lao New Year

People nationwide are eagerly anticipating the Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) festival (Year of the Rooster) next week, with the official holiday taking place from April 14-16. Vientiane is preparing an exciting programme of activities for locals and visitors alike, including a Miss Vientiane ...

MoE not responsible for religious content in textbooks

The Ministry of Education has responded to criticisms on social media that new civic education textbooks have included the four great religions – Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism – by denying it is responsible for the curriculum. “The texts books are not from our departments. ...

Special rapporteur barred from Laiza, Hpakant

Just a few days into her fifth visit and the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has already encountered a few bumps in the road, with the government blocking her from going to Laiza and Hpakant, in Kachin State. Yanghee Lee and her ...

As war of words drags on, government in Rakhine State opts for term ‘Rakhine ethnics’

A day after thousands of Buddhist nationalists staged protests across Rakhine State, the regional government issued a statement saying it would call the state’s Buddhist majority “Rakhine ethnics”, as controversy over terminology continues to simmer. The announcement yesterday said the state government would drop the phrase ...

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