ANLONG VENG PEACE CENTER
A Long Road If We Don’t Walk Together
The Anlong Veng Peace Center is dedicated to memory, reconciliation, and peace building, and it achieves these objectives through peace studies and genocide education. Peace studies represent the Center’s effort to identify and analyze violent and non-violent behaviors as well as structural mechanisms that precipitate conflict. Genocide education represents the Center’s effort to establish curricula that address the fundamental questions of what happened and why during the Khmer Rouge period. Both educational approaches are utilized with a view toward encouraging peace, education, and the rule of law. The Center’s new headquarters office is situated in Anlong Veng—the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge regime. Working closely with the local community, schools, and tourism officials, the Center looks forward to bridging the divide between the former Khmer Rouge (KR) and Cambodia’s younger generation. The intent of the Center is to provide a variety of educational and tourism-related programs that help preserve the oral and physical history of the region as well as building peace and reconciliation between generations and across social divides. The Center not only aims to provide a critical understanding of Cambodia’s violent history, but it also seeks to convey a basic understanding of different theories on conflict resolution and transformation. Using its new office space as a headquarters, the Center will meet its objectives through future programs centering on interactive discussions, guided tours of local historical sites, and a curriculum that uses individual stories to convey historical and moral lessons.
The tours will be rehabilitative to victims and former KR cadres in that they will provide victims and former cadres an opportunity to reflect on and impart their understanding of their experiences during the Democratic Kampuchea period and the civil war years (1979-1998) that followed.
Through face-to-face discussions with victims and former KR cadres, the program will challenge participants to contemplate the diversity of human experience (both instances of humanity and inhumanity) during times of conflict and social upheaval. The stories validate the significance of individual human beings, and they help foster the most basic components of conflict transformation and civic skills. Concepts such as the ability to reflect, think objectively, and empathize with others are cornerstones to any peaceful, democratic society. The project will focus on historical empathy as its core objective, and the students, teachers, and tourguides who attend the program will be responsible for serving as representatives in their local communities, sharing their learning and insights.
The establishment of the Anlong Veng Peace Center in Anlong Veng represents a start of the Center’s work towards its mutually reinforcing aims of Peace, Education, and Sustainable Tourism. Through these core objectives, the Center aims to become a leading institution for the development of sustainable approaches to achieving reconciliation and peace in Cambodia and the region.
Reports by Dr. Ly Sok-Kheang
Walking Trails – Anlong Veng
We Walk Together Toward Peace, Security and Prosperity
Anlong Veng District
Walking Trails – Anlong Veng has had a special privilege to host its annual “Walking Trails” on Dangrek Mountain in Anlong Veng district, to highlight the importance of peace, security and prosperity in the former final stronghold of the Khmer Rouge movement. Anlong Veng was reintegrated into the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) in 1998, the year that the Cambodians have enjoyed a full peace.
The calendar date 1 February, 2020 is set to start our long walk toward peace and prosperity in Anlong Veng. Anlong Veng is a small district in Oddar Meanchey province, which is located in the northwest of Cambodia.
Nestled along a border with Thailand, Anlong Veng contains numerous physical reminders of Cambodia’s horrific past. The Khmer Rouge was the name given to the communist regime that swept over Cambodia in April 1975. For almost the next four years, Cambodians suffered from forced labor, starvation, torture, and terror. Under Pol Pot, the regime consumed its citizens and nearly destroyed all Cambodian institutions, including religion and culture.
Families were broken up, loved ones were separated, and many people were arrested and killed. When the Khmer Rouge regime finally fell in January 1979, the country was covered with at least 20,000 mass graves. Even though the regime was tossed from power in 1979, many Khmer Rouge members continued to fight a guerrilla war, and for almost the next two decades, they controlled a number of areas in Cambodia.
Anlong Veng is recognized as the last stronghold of this Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement. The area contains dozens of physical reminders of the regime’s control, and many former Khmer Rouge cadres continue to reside in the area.
This race seeks to call attention to not only the historic significance of Anlong Veng, but also its significance as a mile marker for the country’s peace, security, and prosperity. Anlong Veng may have been the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, but it is also a symbolic milestone in Cambodia’s rise from its horrible past. The reintegration of Anlong Veng meant a new beginning for Cambodians in the region who had struggled with war and all of its consequences, including disease, disability, poverty, and death. The reintegration of the region also meant a new beginning for all of Cambodia, which had finally put an end to over three decades of war, genocide, and mass atrocities.
Today, Anlong Veng continues to exude an air of mystery, adventure, natural beauty, and to some extent danger. The area has been a front-line area for border disputes with Thailand, and certain sections of the jungle continue to be off-limits because of mines.
But while old guidebooks may describe Anlong Veng as a place of risky adventure, the region is undoubtedly safe, secure, and peaceful. This race seeks to highlight these qualities through a scenic path that takes runners and the public along some of the more beautiful sections of the region.
The area has a diverse natural beauty that will be observable during the race. Small streams, rice paddies, ponds, and water falls can be found throughout the area, and parts of the race will include portions where one can look into Thailand from a scenic cliff. The race will include sections that are close to various historic artifacts and buildings, including a late, local warlord’s main headquarters and residence.
The race aims to give the public an opportunity to tour Cambodia’s past, as well as reflect on Cambodia’s future. In many ways, Cambodia is a symbolic graveyard to malevolent or failing ideologies, animosities, and strategies. Yet, in spite of its historic conflicts and struggles, Cambodia stands as a land of hope and opportunity. This race will culminate with a reflective run and walk to Anlong Veng Peace Center (Ta Mok’s Former House on Dangrek Mountain), as a symbolic demonstration of all Cambodians’ capacity to learn and overcome their past. While we will never escape our history, we do not have to be enslaved by it. It is only by learning from the past that we can ever hope to move forward.
Saturday, 1 February, 2020
Starting Time: 6 a.m.
Start Point: O-Thmar Village (Lim Heng Reservoir)
Final: Anlong Veng Peace Center (Ta Mok’s Former House on Dangrek Mountain)
Distance: 5 Kilometers
Ministry of Tourism
National Olympic Committee of Cambodia
Oddar Meanchey Provincial Administration
Anlong Veng District Administration
Anlong Veng Peace Center
of the Documentation Center of Cambodia
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Ly Sok-Kheang, t: 012 570 465
Mr. Sok Vanna, t: 011 833 318
Mr. Hor Chin Vireak Yuth, t: 097 977 7778
Dr. Chuck Chumnor, t: 081 888 877
Mrs. Thinni Moni Reasmei, t: 012 676 364
TA MOK’S HEALTH BECAME SERIOUSLY WORSE LAST NIGHT
Mr. Benson Samay, representing Mr. Ung Choeung (aka Ta Mok) who was charged for genocide and crime against humanity since 1996, announced that Ta Mok’s health became even worse last night.
During the period of his stay in the Hospital, he almost lost his control and became unconscious last night; he could not stand and sit, could not eat and drink and could not speak, now under special care of the doctors.
On Monday of July 10, 2006, Ta Mok stated that he would like to accept the trial if he got the chance to be alive and release any information regarding the truth during the period of Democratic Kampuchea.
He said to his lawyer: “Please inform the whole world that I have never killed anyone during that period, as the Military Commander, I had the responsibility to construct the dam, road, bridge, gutter and reservoir for irrigation, to plant rice, to breed poultry in the farm for Angkar of that period”.
Ta Mok has been detained for seven years; he felt that it is quite unjust. After detaining for 6 years, he could be released, but unfortunately, he was accused of war crime again.
Ta Mok has mentioned that the International Medias have blamed him for all the atrocities but have failed to investigate what their Western Government had done when they initially supported the Khmer Rouge. He will reveal all the details when the time comes and the world will be shocked.
Circular on Preservation of remains of the victims of the genocide committed during the regime of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1978), and preparation of Anlong Veng to become a region for historical tourism.
Following the liberation of 7 January 1979, numerous graves were left behind throughout the entire territory of Cambodia as physical testimony of the crimes committed against the innocent Cambodian people by the genocidal Pol Pot regime. Right away, the authorities and citizens made efforts to take the remains of the victims and to preserve them carefully, some in stupas, and some in other forms of appropriate memorial. However, the government has observed that since that time these memorials have not been properly maintained.
In order to preserve the remains as evidence of these historic crimes and as the basis for remembrance and education by the Cambodian people as a whole, especially future generations, of the painful and terrible history brought about by the Democratic Kampuchea regime against the people and territory of Cambodia during the period 1975-1978, lasting 3 years, 8 months and 20 days, and especially to preserve and prepare the Anlong Veng region to become a historical museum for national and international tourists in the future, the government issue the following directives:
- All local authorities at province and municipal level shall cooperate with relevant expert institutions in their areas to examine, restore and maintain existing memorials, and to examine and research other remaining grave sites, so that all such places may be transformed into memorials, with fences, trees and informative plaques for both citizens and tourists; the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the Ministry of Tourism shall issue further technical guidelines, and shall appoint expert officials to work together with the local authorities on this issue.
- With particular reference to the Anlong Veng region, in the district of Along Veng, Otdar Meanchey Province, which was of historic importance in the final stage of the political life of the leaders and military organization of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, the Ministry of Tourism shall continue to make efforts, as previously directed by the government, to cooperate with the local authorities and with all relevant ministries and institutions, especially with the Ministry of Land Management, Construction, and Urbanization, Military Region 4, the Cambodian Mine Action Center and the Documentation Center of Cambodia to eradicate mines, to prepare a sound master plan, to research document, to establish a historical museum, and to search for sources of grant in order to preserve all historical evidence and to transform Anlong Veng into a national region of historical tourism. It is absolutely prohibited to encroach on or subdivide land in an anarchic manner, or to undertake any form of construction in Anlong Veng that has an impact on this historic region without government permission, except for construction of housing for residents of the village and commune, in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Land Management, Construction and Urbanization.
- Efforts shall be made to implement the above provisions before 7 January 2002, the 23rd anniversary of the overthrow of Democratic Kampuchea. On receiving this directive, all relevant ministries and institutions and local authorities shall implement it effectively.
Phnom Penh, 14 December 2001
[Signed and sealed]
Ministry of the Royal Palace
General Secretariat of the Senate
General Secretariat of the National Assembly
Ministries, Secretariats of State and Institutions
Office of the Prime Minister
Offices of the Deputy Prime Ministers
Offices of Provinces and Municipalities
Archives and Records