Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US to fund project preserving clothes of S-21 victims

US to fund project preserving clothes of S-21 victims

Shoes, clothes and bags used by S-21’s prisoners seen on display yesterday at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh.
Shoes, clothes and bags used by S-21’s prisoners seen on display yesterday at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh. Sahiba Chawdhary

US to fund project preserving clothes of S-21 victims

The United States Embassy has pledged $55,500 to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in part to preserve the clothes worn by victims of atrocities at S-21 prison.

The clothes were being stored at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, on the grounds of the former Khmer Rouge prison and torture centre, but according to Chuch Phoeun, secretary of state at the Culture Ministry, the collection is “in the worst condition”, with many of the items nearly destroyed by termites.

Speaking at a signing ceremony yesterday, US Ambassador William Heidt announced that the funding would go towards preserving 3,000 to 5,000 articles of clothing worn by prisoners as part of the US’s support for “Tuol Sleng’s mission of genocide education”.

“The timing of this project is critical since this clothing is over 30 years old and is slowly degrading,” said Heidt. “The conservation work will carefully preserve the textiles without removing this historical evidence [of blood and sweat stains on the clothing].”

The clothes were worn by some of S-21’s at least 12,000 prisoners, all but a handful of whom died or were killed in captivity. After the preservation work is complete, a selection will be chosen for an exhibit.

The funds will also go towards training museum staff for future preservation efforts.

Chhay Visoth, director of the museum, said he hoped to do an inventory of the museum’s artefacts in the future, while also working with partners to ensure their proper protection.

“We are thinking about the future, and of continuing to talk to the US or the other institutions to support us for storage. Because we need proper conditions to keep these items.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the