Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said the Dhammayuttika sect of Buddhism plays an important part in protecting peace in Cambodia and contributing to the prevention of human trafficking and modern slavery.

He made the remarks at the 31st anniversary event celebrating King Norodom Sihanouk re-establishing the Dhammayuttika sect on December 7, 1991 held at Botum Dhammayuth Pagoda in Chaktomuk commune of the capital’s Daun Penh district.

Historically rooted in Thailand, the Dhammayuttika sect was first established in Cambodia in 1855 at the invitation of King Norodom and was headquartered at Wat Botum, which was built specifically for the sect at that time.

The anniversary event was held on December 11 at Wat Botum or Botum Dhammayuth Pagoda in Chaktomuk commune’s village III of the capital’s Daun Penh district.

“The Dhammayuttika sect of Buddhism contributes to major national activities, including preventing human trafficking and modern slavery, teaching Buddhist followers to promote the values humanity, protecting and maintaining national peace, preventing social insecurity and conducting other humanitarian work on the path of Buddhism,” he said.

He added that the government had introduced widespread religious freedom policies to prevent discrimination, regardless of race, colour and religion.

He also noted that the government had also educated youths and children to know the great values of Buddhism and the culture and traditions of Cambodia. He called on everyone to join the government in maintaining and promoting development as well as gradually reducing the negative impacts of other cultures and interference by foreigners.

He continued that the government had also strengthened harmony between followers of all religions to prevent discrimination and divisions among people who practised different religions and to turn the potential of all religions into a driving force for the development of the economy, society and to strengthen peace and solidarity as well as preserve national traditions, uphold morals and prevent religious exploitation.

Great Supreme Patriarch Bour Kry said that when the Dhammayuttika sect returned to independence on December 7, 1991 at the request of the late Chea Sim, there were no pagodas and monks, but on June 6, 1992, he ordained hundreds of novice monks and they began to refurbish some former pagodas and build new ones.

“Certain thatched pagodas were built, with the assistance of Buddhists. They had granted us plots of lands and spent their own money buying land for building a series of pagodas for the Dhammayuttika sect,” he recalled.