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Pol Pot on the tourist map

Pol Pot on the tourist map

120120_04

The Documentation Centre of Cambodia has joined a coalition of government ministries on a study tour to establish a tourism plan in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng district in Oddor Meanchey, officials said yesterday.

Anne Heindel/Phnom Penh Post
Pol Pot’s grave in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district in 2010.

Anlong Veng was the last stronghold for the Khmer Rouge after they were swept out of Phnom Penh by Vietnamese forces, and is home to the final resting places of notorious Khmer Rouge leaders Pol Pot and Ta Mok.

“The first thing we have to do is map the 14 tourism sites that we have selected, and we are preparing a master plan for developing these areas as cultural tourism areas,” Anlong Veng tourism chief Seang Sokheng said, adding the coalition has set a target date of one month to complete the plans.

Ministry of Tourism secretary of state Ruos Ren said the 14 sites would form what would ultimately be the “Anlong Veng Historical Tourism Area”, which would also include construction of replica houses of deceased Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, ex-president Khieu Samphan and deceased ex-defence minister Son Sen.

“We will build the houses with equipment used at that time and are collecting documents from villagers with DC-Cam to make guidebooks,” he said.

He added that the committee will build other infrastructure such as modern roads connecting each site and associated information signage as well as conduct tour guide training.

The 14 main sites in the area include Ta Mok’s revolutionary school, Pol Pot’s grave, the pyre Son Sen was cremated on, and places of political discussion between Pol Pot, Son Sen, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea.

DC-Cam was mandated by Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2001 to assist with the development of Anlong Veng as a site of historical importance.

DC-Cam director Youk Chhang told the Post that the guidebook will also provide “transitional justice” for villagers telling their histories.

“The individuals who have a story to tell [can] fall outside the court of commission’s record,” Youk Chhang said. “Grass-roots education and dialogue supplement – and even supplant – the traditional modes of courts and truth commissions.”

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