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

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai

  • Over 100 Chinese nationals to be deported for online scam

    The Ministry of Interior is planning to deport 128 Chinese nationals after they were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an online money extortion scam. Y Sokhy, the head of the Department of Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime, told The Post

  • More than 800 people test positive for HIV in 2018

    The National Aids Authority (NAA) said more than 800 people tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) last year, joining over 76,000 others aged between 15 and 49 in the Kingdom already infected with the virus. The spread of HIV/AIDS in the Kingdom is showing few signs of

  • Rainsy vow to return on Nov 9 dismissed as ‘political warfare’

    An announcement from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that its “acting president” Sam Rainsy would return to the Kingdom on November 9 was dismissed on Sunday as “political warfare”. The CNRP made the announcement on Friday after a permanent committee meeting chaired by