Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Cambodia: In visit to genocide museum, UN chief warns of the dangers of hate and persecution

Mr. Guterres was speaking at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, memorial site of the infamous S-21 interrogation and detention centre under the bloody regime, which lasted from 1975 to 1979.

‘An essential reminder’

It is estimated that up to 18,000 people from across Cambodia were brought to the facility, located in a former secondary school in the heart of the capital.  

Only a few survived.

“Tuol Sleng is an essential reminder. Its bloodstained bricks and tiles are a warning to us all: This is what happens when hatred runs rampant. This is what happens when human beings are persecuted, and human rights are denied,” said Mr. Guterres.

Forced labour and executions

The Secretary-General was at the Museum  to pay tribute to all the victims and survivors of the Khmer Rouge’s brutality throughout Cambodia.

The regime followed a radical ideology rooted in different communist beliefs and politics. Religion, traditions, and deep-rooted family relations were forbidden.

People were forced to leave major cities to work in agricultural communes in the countryside.

Also Read:  Updated family planning guide promotes empowerment, health and wellbeing WHO

Institutions such as schools, pagodas, industries and factories were destroyed, and intellectuals, professionals and monks were killed.

Overall, nearly two million people, roughly a quarter of the population, are thought to have died during these years of forced labour, starvation, torture and execution.

Photographed, interrogated and killed

People brought to Tuol Sleng were photographed and many were tortured, for example to extract false confessions that they were secret agents of the United States government. 

Prisoners were detained, interrogated and killed, or taken to another site on the outskirts of the capital called Choeung Ek, one of the many “killing fields” where mass executions were carried out.

Most of the rooms at Tuol Sleng have been kept in the same condition as they were when the Khmer Rouge were ousted by invading Vietnamese troops.

“The suffering that took place within these walls is horrific and shocking. The stories of survival and resilience are moving and inspiring,” the Secretary-General remarked. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres views documents maintained by the Archives of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the site of the Khmer Rouge’s infamous Security Prison S-21.

Also Read:  First Person: The Liberian police inspector working to end sexual and gender-based violence

Pledge to never forget

Mr. Guterres thanked the Museum for its extraordinary work to raise awareness of the atrocities committed under the Khmer Rouge, as part of efforts to ensure they can never happen again.  


He recalled that the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia have held regime leaders accountable for these crimes and provided a voice to victims and survivors. 

“Their voices are more important than ever, at a time when hate speech, abuse, discrimination and harassment are on the rise in every corner of the world,” he said.

Uphold inclusion and dignity

The UN chief stressed that preserving the memory of those who suffered and died at Tuol Sleng will help to prevent atrocities from being repeated. 


“I promised to tell the story that I heard from one of the survivors to my granddaughters and I’ll tell them to convey that story to their grandchildren. It is essential that the memory of what happened here is never lost,” he said. 


“By learning to recognize the first warning signs of genocide and other atrocity crimes, and honouring the values of inclusion and dignity, we can lay the foundations for a future in which such horrors can never happen again.”

Also Read:  Healing Haiti in the face of an increase in sexual violence

The Secretary-General was in Cambodia to address the latest meeting between the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), held last Friday in the capital.

He will next head to Bali to attend the G20 summit, which begins on Tuesday.

The UN chief travelled to the region from Egypt, host of the COP27 UN climate change conference which concludes on Friday.


(The credit for all the inputs for this story goes to United Nations.)


Upset Hindus urge Kempinski Hotels to remove Lord Hanuman’s name from...

Upset Hindus are urging luxury Kempinski Hotels to remove Hindu deity Lord Hanuman’s name and symbols from the bar in its Siam Kempinski Hotel...



Hindu-hate mongering neo-Buddhist and Christian proselytization mafia in Rajasthan triggers demand...

Conversions to Buddhism and Christianity are growing steadily in numbers in Rajasthan, both in the tribal belt as well as in non-tribal areas...

Muslim teacher abducts 14-year-old Hindu student, parents fear Shraddha-like outcome: Begusarai,...

A minor Hindu girl is alleged to have been groomed and abducted by teacher Mohammad Aamir in Bihar’s Begusarai district. Aamir runs a...



Why does a film like Kantara become a hit and why...

Kantara is a Kannada film. However, its dubbed Hindi version has also been received well by the audience in North and East India. What...
New SSP Prabhat Kumar takes over charge

Prabhat Kumar takes over as new SSP of Jamshedpur

Dr. M Tamil Vanan fully satisfied with his stint in Jamshedpur, New SSP to focus on community policing Jamshedpur: Prabhat Kumar, the new SSP of...

Feel like reacting? Express your views here!

Read More



Subsribe Our Newsletter & get Free Daily News & Opinion updates!

Town Post