From 8-9 December 2016, H.E. Mr. Phongsavath BOUPHA, Former Minister and Head of President’s Office, led the Lao delegation to attend the 9th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) under the theme “Religion, Democracy and Pluralism”, which was held in Bali, the Republic of Indonesia. Delegates from 96 countries, including countries in Asia-Pacific region as well as Europe, America and Africa were present at the forum.
H.E. Mr. Phongsavath BOUPHA had the honor to deliver his statement in the General Debate. He firstly represented the Government and people of Lao PDR to convey sincere condolences and sympathy to the Government of Indonesia and the victims of Aceh earthquake which damaged properties and lives of Indonesian people in Aceh.
He shared the view that religion, democracy and pluralism are all universal values based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own religious, political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives. In addition, he reaffirmed that true democracy should refer that the people is the own masters in its country, once a particular country preserves a value of government of the people, by the people and for the people, it is truly considered as a democratic system regardless of any particular political system, party system or election system that country adopts.
He also highlighted that Laos had been full of experience in the practice of harmonious religion, reflecting in which Lao Patriotic Front, known as the Lao Front for National Construction recently paid a significant role in uniting Lao multi-ethnic people in all religions and social strata across the country to participate in the struggle movement against colonialism, striving for national independence and fundamental freedoms. Such harmony of people in all religion, even non-religious people could bring specious victory into people’s hands and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was successfully proclaimed on 2 December 1975. At the present days, the diversity of ethnic people has been preserved and their belief in religions has constantly been protected in the Constitution and laws in the Lao PDR as well as in their daily lives.
The BDF was initiated in 2008 by Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the former President of the Republic of Indonesia, with an objective to promote democratic development in the region. The BDF discussion is based on openness, constructive debate, and sharing of experiences from each country.