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

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • US Embassy urges reconciliation

    The US has urged Cambodia to restore the independence of the media, drop charges against Kem Sokha and other political prisoners, and end the prohibition of political activity by opposition parties. However, senior government officials see the request, issued by US embassy spokesman Arend C

  • Government deports 235 Chinese scammers

    THE Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior on Thursday deported 235 Chinese nationals, 35 of whom were female, via the Phnom Penh International Airport for their part in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) online money extortion scam. The deportees were arrested on November 26 over the

  • EU companies voice concern over impact of possible EBA withdrawal

    European companies operating in Cambodia voiced concern over the potential repercussions of removing the Kingdom’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential scheme, as the EU Ambassador to Cambodia, George Edgar, led an EU-organised media trip this week. Speaking in Siem Reap province as part of