Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - DC-Cam’s Chhang given award for his KR research

DC-Cam’s Chhang given award for his KR research

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Youk Chhang, the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, has received an award for his services to Asia’s people through his work as a Khmer Rouge researcher. Photo supplied

DC-Cam’s Chhang given award for his KR research

Khmer Rouge researcher Chhang Youk, who is executive director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), was one of six recipients of the Philippines’ Ramon Magsaysay Award last week.

Meant to honour outstanding individuals and organisations for work to serve the people of Asia, the award will this year be given to individuals from East Timor, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Youk was alerted about the honour by an email from the Kingdom’s Philippines ambassador, Christopher B Montero.

“The exalted distinction is a fitting testament to the remarkable work you have done to preserve the memory of those who suffered from the genocidal regime of the Khmer Rouge."

“Your commitment to healing and justice will not only benefit the present and future generations of Cambodians but it’s also a legacy of great value to international communities,” read the email.

Youk, 57, believes the award was both personally and professionally significant.

“I am humbled by this most prestigious award. It is very important for my mother, and all mothers who are survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime, not to lose hope in life.

“In receiving it, I am reminded of a thought I often have as a survivor – if you have survived the genocide, you are blessed in many ways. You can begin again. You find a place to live, get a job, make friends, and start a family."

“But the physical survival is the easy part ... Genocide breaks you. Your heart aches from losing the people you love. You feel guilty for having survived when so many others died. And worst of all, you can lose hope.”

Youk reflected on the generosity of the Philippines during the Khmer Rouge atrocities.

“The Filipinos opened their country to Cambodian refugees in the wake of the Khmer Rouge regime’s collapse in the 1980s … I want to thank the Filipinos for their kindness,” Youk wrote via email.

Explaining his current work, Youk said DC-Cam is pushing forward on work related to the memory of, and justice and reconciliation for the genocide victims.

“We will compile further evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity, educate Cambodians about the history of the Khmer Rouge regime, and address the needs of Cambodian victims and their descendants – the keys to the country’s future.”

When asked how he correlated Cambodians with their Khmer Rouge experiences, Youk remained optimistic that people will keep fighting for what they deserve.

“Cambodian people have very high resilience and they will never stop doing better in life and fight back if they lose a battle,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Sihanoukville to begin road project

    The government will spend $200 million to improve Sihanoukville’s infrastructure. The eight-month project will involve the rebuilding of 34 streets with a total of more than 84km. Pal Chandara, the secretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told The Post

  • Artefact is seized from American auctioneers

    Cambodian and US archaeologists on Thursday discussed the formalities and procedures of returning to Cambodia an artefact which was recently seized by US Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) from an auction house in San Francisco. On Monday, the HSI said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),

  • Bodhisattva statue unearthed

    The Apsara National Authority technical team uncovered a sandstone statue of a Bodhisattva while carrying out excavation work at the east entrance of the Ta Nei temple on October 8. The team was trying to find the temple’s roof stone, which had fallen into a

  • World Bank: Challenges facing the Kingdom

    Cambodia’s economy currently faces challenges including credit growth in the construction and real estate sectors, rising indebtedness and the possible withdrawal of the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement, said the World Bank Group’s latest forecast report on the Asia-Pacific economies. The