Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Memorial to Khmer Rouge victims erected in Paris

Memorial to Khmer Rouge victims erected in Paris

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo unveils the new memorial to Khmer Rouge victims in the Parc de Choisy on Tuesday. Supplied.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo unveils the new memorial to Khmer Rouge victims in the Parc de Choisy on Tuesday. Supplied.

Memorial to Khmer Rouge victims erected in Paris

A memorial to Khmer Rouge victims – the first of its kind in Europe – was unveiled in Paris on Tuesday by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, 43 years after Phnom Penh fell to the ultra-Maoist regime.

When the Khmer Rouge took Cambodia’s capital on April 17, 1975, it immediately began rounding up city dwellers and forcibly evacuating them to the countryside on foot. This march marked the beginning of nearly four years of brutal rule, during which a quarter of the population is believed to have died from execution, disease and starvation.

According to French media, the monument in the city’s Asian Quarter is a 1.75-meter-tall panel of tempered glass, featuring engravings of Cambodians evacuating the city.

“A memorial to the victims of crimes against humanity committed by the Khmer Rouge regime of Cambodia (1975-1979),” reads an inscription in French.

A former French colony, Cambodia still retains evidence of the country’s influence, and 2011 estimates place the Cambodian population in France at over 80,000.

“What happened in #Cambodia in 1975 concerns all humanity,” Hidalgo said in a Tweet after the ceremony. "We must remember because nothing can be built without taking the past into account.”

The monument was erected with support from the High Council of Asians in France and the International Federation for Human Rights.

Youk Chhang, a Khmer Rouge survivor and founder of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, said April 17 “has always been a day that must not be forgotten by all of us”.

It is poignant to see memorials abroad, he said on Wednesday, because the Khmer Rouge caused the Cambodian diaspora in the first place.

“We come together as a community as a group,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where we live today, this is home.”

Updates with comment from Youk Chhang, founder of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune