The new Social Work Department seeks to train professionals to address these multiple legacies of war and genocide. They are a generation of young people who will help steer Cambodia out of its period of darkness.
All but 7 of the 17,000 prisoners detained at the S-21 interrogation center were executed. Kaing Guek Eav (aka “Duch”), the former S-21 director was found guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches to UN Geneva Convention on July 26, 2010 – over three decades after the atrocities occurred.
The Kingdom of Cambodia, or Kampuchea is the size of the State of Missouri with a population of approximately 14.8 million of whom 33% is below the age of 15.
The Angkor Wat temples are a UNESCO World Heritage Site built between 9 and 14 A.D.
Between 1969 – 1973, the U.S. illegally dropped an estimated 550,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia and more than a million people were killed or wounded, in contrast to 3,900 tons dropped during the infamous Dresden bombing in WWII.
Many of the bombs remain unexploded; even recently an average of 2 injuries/deaths occurs each day from unexploded ordnance making Cambodia have the highest per capita rate of amputees in the world.
April 17, 1975, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh and drove its population out of cities into the countryside with a plan for a utopian agrarian society.
Between 1975-1979, an estimated 1.5-2 million people or ¼ of the country’s population died due to starvation, disease, forced labor, torture and genocide. The film “The Killing Fields” highlighted this period.
At the end of 1979,
only about 300 people with a college education remained alive;
only 45 out of 450 doctors remained alive;
over one million refugees camped on the Thai border; and,
there was no currency, no public transportation, infrastructure for communications, and virtually no electricity.
Over three decades after this horrific period,
Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in the world;
35% of the population lives on $.45 per day;
only 41% have access to safe drinking water;
it has the highest rate of infant mortality in the region;
64% of Cambodians are estimated to have tuberculosis;
life expectancy for males is 59 years and 65 years for a female;
2/3 of 3rd graders not proficient in grade level reading and math;
1 in 4 women aged 15-49 report having experienced an incident of domestic violence;
Cambodia is a sending, receiving and transit country for human trafficking with over 100,000 women and children being trafficked; and,
over 50% of 7-14 year olds are estimated to be working;