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Thursday,  January 01, 2015 - 07.24 GMT
UN to avoid holding meetings on Vesak Day

 

On the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York successfully negotiated a Resolution which was adopted by consensus on December 29, 2014 whereby the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged the significance of the Day of Vesak observed in many member countries, the External Affairs Ministry said.

It invited the United Nations bodies at Headquarters and other duty stations, to avoid holding meetings on that Day. To this end, the Resolution also encourages this arrangement to be taken into account when formulating future calendars of conferences and meetings.

President Rajapaksa welcomed the consensual decision by the world body, which is in keeping with Sri Lanka’s ethical society where livelihoods are based on the teachings of the Buddha. He further observed that Buddhism has demonstrated to the world, that while anger and hatred are causes for sorrow, compassion and loving kindness is the path to contentment, with all divisions based on race, religion, caste and tribe being wholly meaningless. President Rajapaksa upheld that this significant achievement spearheaded by Sri Lanka on behalf of over 400 million Buddhists globally, will increase awareness of the teachings of the Buddha among the world community.

The current initiative builds upon the Resolution adopted in 1999 by the United Nations, which recognised the international observance of the Day of Vesak at the United Nations Headquarters and other UN offices. The Resolution in 1999 was also an initiative of Sri Lanka.

Although Vesak has been observed at the UN since 1999, meetings have continued to be scheduled on that day each year. With the adoption of the current resolution, the scheduling of such meetings and events will be avoided, enabling the Observance of Vesak at the United Nations Headquarters and other offices to be held with wider participation and the sanctity it deserves.

Recognising other major religions observed by the world community, the General Assembly, in this instance also called on the UN to avoid scheduling meetings on Diwali, GurPurab, Orthodox Christmas and Yom Kippur.

Quote: President Rajapaksa welcomed the consensual decision by the world body, which is in keeping with Sri Lanka’s ethical society where livelihoods are based on the teachings of the Buddha. He further observed that Buddhism has demonstrated to the world, that while anger and hatred are causes for sorrow, compassion and loving kindness is the path to contentment, with all divisions based on race, religion, caste and tribe being wholly meaningless.



 

 
 
   
   
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Last modified: January 01, 2015.

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