Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sketches of Peace



Sketches of Peace

Sketches of Peace

The United Nations Human Rights component recently celebrated the publication of

a book of children's drawings on the subject of human rights. Over 10,000 children

competed in a drawing contest held in 18 provinces and the border area and in Phnom

Penh. The pictures of 21 national winners of the contest have been included in the

book.

Jamie Metzl, a human rights officer in Phnom Penh said that "the idea for the

book originated from a wish to show that for Cambodian people human rights are not

a foreign concept, imposed on Cambodia, but very much a part of Cambodian culture."

Metzl said that "many people thought that the Cambodians, and Cambodian children

in particular did not intrinsically understand human rights." He said that the

pictures showed exactly the opposite was true. The children who competed in the contest

showed "a deep understanding of human rights." Subjects of the pictures

included the breaking of chains, destruction of weapons, the right to assembly and

protest, and most dominantly, the wish for peace.

The National First Prize winner was Srong Sophy, an 11 year-old girl from Kandal

province. Her submission featured "an idealized vision of a Khmer village"

cradeled in an out-streched hand. Metzl said that "the essence of human rights

is the wish for peace." Another drawing shows a people celebrating around a

large flame, it is titled: "The light of the human rights flame brightens the

darkness".

The beautiful multi-colored book places the pictures in the context of Buddhist quotes

and various human rights texts. One Buddhist proverb asserts that: "One who

conquers oneself and does not persecute the innocent is more respected than those

who conquer millions by military warfare." Metzl said that both the Ven. Maha

Goshananda and the Ven. Yos Hut helped select the quotations.

Provincial winners won a trophy, 10 finalists in each of the provinces won gold medals,

but all 10,000 participants in the contest recieved a signed certificate from UNTAC

chief Yasushi Akashi.

The published books are being distributed to local human rights organizations and

to Cambodian student organizations. Khemara Cambodian Women's Association has recieved

some copies to sell. Proceeds will go to a fund for the local production of children's

books.

In her drawing, 13 year-old Chhun Sok Kieng, of Banteay Meanchey province writes:

"God, Please help give peace in Cambodia soon because my family has all died

from this war."

The introduction notes that "children are the true witnesses of society. They

are the witnesses of suffering and the witnesses of hope. It is in the expectant

eyes of children that those of us in the adult world can rekindle the flame of our

own hope." It asks the question: "Will [they] live in a nation guided by

the ideals so clearly and provocatively expressed in their drawings? Creating such

a society is the charge of these drawings."

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

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • 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

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and