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by Farzin Sadeq 9B
"Cambodian Genocide." Cambodian Genocide. World
Without Genocide, n.d. Web. 9 June 2014. <http://
"What Are Human Rights." United Nations Human
Rights, n.d. Web. 9 June 2014. <
To spare you is no prot, to destroy you is no loss.
Cambodia laid in ruins under the newly-established
Vietnamese regime. The economy failed under Pol
Pot and all professionals, engineers, technicians
and planners who could possibly reorganize
Cambodia had been killed in the genocide. Since
the country had fallen under Vietnamese control,
the UK and America offered nancial and military
support to the Khmer Rouge forces in exile, who
now opposed Vietnam. An additional 14,000
Cambodian civilians died in the conicts of 1978 till
1989. In 1991, a peace agreement was nally
reached and Buddhism was reinstated as the
ofcial state religion. The nations rst true
democratic elections were held in 1993.
The UN called for a Khmer Rouge Tribunal in 1994;
the trials nally began in November 2007. Many of
the suspected perpetrators were killed in the
military struggle with Vietnam or eliminated as
internal threats to the Khmer Rouge itself. Pol Pot
died of natural causes in 1998. The last members of
the Khmer Rouge were ofcially disbanded in 1999.
However, corruption still remains a serious issue in
Cambodian politics.
Human Rights
Prevention of Reoccurrence
Human rights are rights inherent to all human
beings; no matter our nationality, residence,
gender, national or ethnic origin, color, religion,
language or any other status. We are all equally
entitled to our human rights without discrimination.
This Khmer Rouge slogan best illuminates Pol Pots
ideology and how extremist his policies were
towards the citizens of Cambodia. The Khmer
Rouge campaign worked to disassemble "three key
aspects of national identity: family, the Buddhist
religion and village structure". The international
community vowed to protect the world with the
Genocide Convention in 1948, yet it is difcult to
understand how, "most nation-states expressed
shock and horror and did nothing". As a result of two
decades of advocacy, human rights groups and
survivors of the Cambodian genocide succeeded in
convincing the Cambodian government and
international community to support the
establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the
Courts of Cambodia in order to try leaders of the
Khmer Rouge under the Genocide Convention.
Victims in S-21 Prison Khmer Rouge Soldiers
The attempt of Khmer Rouge party leader Pol Pot
who wanted to reconstruct Cambodia as a peasant
farming society is now known as the Cambodian
genocide. This resulted in the devastation of over
25% of the countrys population in just three years.
After nearly 100 years of colonialist rule, Cambodia
gained its independence from France in 1953. As the
Vietnam War progressed, Cambodias elected Prime
Minister Norodom Sihanouk approved of an ofcial
policy of neutrality. Sihanouk was ousted by a military
coup led by his own General Lon Nol in 1970.
The country borders
Thailand to its west and
northwest, Laos to its
northeast, and Vietnam to
its east and southeast.
The south and southwest
borders of Cambodia are
coastal shorelines on the
Gulf of Thailand.
Cambodia, a country in
Southeast Asia, is less
than half the size of
California, with its
present day capital in
Phnom Penh.
The government of Lon Nol did not last long as the
Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975 and the actions
of the government which authorized genocide
began shortly afterwards. It lasted until the Khmer
Rouge was overthrown by the Vietnamese in 1978.
The leader of the Khmer
Rouge guerrilla movement,
Pol Pot, was an admirer of
Mao Chinese communism
and wanted to reconstruct
Cambodia as Year Zero
where all citizens would
work in rural areas and all
Western innovations would
be removed. Under these
extremist policies, the
genocide was born.
The Khmer Rouge believed
that all Cambodians must
work as laborers in a huge
federation of farms; anyone
in opposition to this system
was eliminated. This list of
potential opposition
included intellectuals,
educated people,
professionals, monks, etc.
Survival was determined
by ones ability to work.
During the Cambodian civil war, the neighboring
country Vietnam was also in a civil war between the
communist North Vietnam and the US-supported
South Vietnam. Under the government of Lon Nol,
Cambodia became a battleeld of the Vietnam War.
Over 750,000 Cambodians died over the years of
1970 till 1974 from American B-52 bombers, which
was used to destroy suspected Viet Cong targets.
Americas heavy bombardment and Lon Nols
collaboration with America drove new recruits to the
Khmer Rouge, as they felt Pol Pots communism
brought new hope, promise, and national tranquility
for Cambodia. By 1975, Pol Pots force had grown
to over 700,000 men and within days of seizing
power, he set his extremist policies of government
conscation and control of all property and labor.
Khmer Rouge Killing Fields
Under the threat of death,
Cambodians were forced
from their villages and
moved to the countryside.
All political and civil rights
were abolished.
The Khmer Rouge killed anyone who was ill,
disabled, old and young if they were incapable of
the journey and those who refused to leave.
Children were taken from their families and forced
into labor camps. Factories, schools, universities,
hospitals and places of religion were shut down and
all those involved were murdered along with their
families. Those who survived had to live in
conditions of virtual slave labor, starvation and
physical injury and if they were incapable of work,
they would be killed off as expenses to the system.