Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Cambodia seeks listing of genocide archives in UNESCO register

By Puy Kea
Cambodia has applied for historical materials from a former Khmer Rouge prison and interrogation center in Phnom Penh to be included in an international register as part of a UNESCO-run program to preserve the world's documentary heritage, a government official said Wednesday. Tan Theany, secretary general of the Cambodian National Commission for UNESCO, told Kyodo News that Cambodia formally submitted its application to UNESCO last Friday in the hope that UNESCO will include it next year in its Memory of the World Register.
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archives elucidate the fate of over 15,000 prisoners who were held at Tuol Sleng, a former schoolhouse, during the 1975-1979 reign of the Khmer Rouge. Few of them survived the ordeal. The archive materials listed in Cambodia 's nomination form include photographs of prisoners taken before and after they were killed, documents containing biographical records and ''confessions'' extracted under torture, and various torture instruments.
According to the form, the archives constitute the ''most complete existing documentary picture'' of the Khmer Rouge prison system, ''which was a fundamental part of the regime under which perhaps 2-3 million people (25-30 percent of the population) lost their lives in a period of 3 years, 8 months and 20 days.'' ''Its significance as a part of the Memory of the World stems from its testament to man's inhumanity to man and its documentation of one of the most extreme examples of crimes against humanity in the 20th century with a major impact on world history.''
The archives are currently being mined for evidence used in the pre-trials and trials of surviving senior Khmer Rouge leaders at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, which was established in 2006 with U.N. backing. The archives were earlier this year accepted for inclusion in a regional UNESCO register covering Asia and the Pacific. But Tan Theany said Cambodia wants them listed also in the international register of the Memory of the World Program, which UNESCO says is intended ''to guard against collective amnesia'' by preserving and disseminating valuable archive holdings and library collections worldwide.
KyodoSeptember 03, 2008

No comments:

Post a Comment