Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - S-21 marks UNESCO listing

S-21 marks UNESCO listing

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A visitor to the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum contemplates photos of S-21 prisoners executed by the Khmer Rouge at the site in the 1970’s. Hong Menea

S-21 marks UNESCO listing

July 31 marked the 12th anniversary of the listing of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archive in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme. This year, it was observed virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts spokesman Long Bunna Sireyvath told The Post on August 1 that the ministry has marked the occasion every year since the archive was listed in 2009. It aims to spread awareness around the world to prevent crimes against humanity.

Though observed annually, Bunna Sireyvath said it is not as big an event as listing the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site. He said it is normally marked with speeches by officials with the participation of embassy representatives and international organisations.

“However, this year the ministry has not been able to hold a gathering. We only posted messages and videos on Facebook, along with tributes from embassy and international representatives. This is a World Programme, so we cannot cancel this event,” he said.

Hang Nisay, director of the museum, said that since the Archive was listed in 2009, the ministry and the museum has received support from national and international experts to preserve all remaining documents from the Khmer Rouge’s notorious S-21 detention centre, which represented more than 400,000 pages.

He said that in 2018, the museum – with support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency in coordination with UNESCO, as well as technical support from Digital Divide Data – had copied and archived data to the database.

According to Nisay, through this project, the museum has created an archival website where the public can search for information about relatives and search for documents related to the history of the Khmer Rouge.

Nisay said the more than 400,000 documents have been preserved and maintained, museum staff trained and information is available to the public on the website.

He said the project was scheduled to be completed by 2021 but now faces hurdles due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the museum has copied all documents, including photos, confessions, and Khmer Rouge books, and archived the data into database.

“We maintain and preserve all these documents for all time because our goal is for people from everywhere to be able to access, study, research and use this information. We will promote the website so many people will use it,” he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the