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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN says 2m missing under KR

UN says 2m missing under KR

A s many as two million people remain unaccounted for during the Khmer Rouge's

"Killing Fields" years, a senior UN medical demographer said on July


Vincent Fauveau, country director of the United Nations Fund for

Population Activities, estimated Cambodia's population after the end of the

Khmer Rouge regime, to be "about 5.5 million after 1979."

The demographer

said there was a population discrepancy of two million people during the Khmer

Rouge reign but this could include Cambodians who died from natural causes or

those who fled the country as refugees.

"I have no way to verify this,

but there was a loss or deficit of two million people during the Democratic

Kampuchea time.

"There were probably as many as one million excess

deaths compared to the regular expected deaths of the old people," Fauveau told

a news conference.

Most experts agree that one million Cambodians died

from execution, disease or starvation between 1975 and 1979 when the Khmer Rouge

regime was violently ousted from power following a lightening Vietnamese

military invasion in December 1978.

The UN will undertake a national

population census of Cambodia in 1998, the first since 1962, Fauveau


Fauveau said that the census would cost at least five million

dollars of which the UNFPA would provide $4.5 million.

The census would

cover social, economic and demographic statistics, but would not probe

population losses under Pol Pot.

"It's a very sensitive question," he




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