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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants