3Cambodian HistoryMost Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries.Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire, ushering in a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection in 1863 and it became part of French Indochina in 1887.Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953.In April 1975, after a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns.At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT.A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war.
4History ContinuedThe 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge.UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government.Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability.The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999.Some of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders have been tried or are awaiting trial for crimes against humanity by a hybrid UN-Cambodian tribunal supported by international assistance.Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed.In October 2004, King Norodom SIHANOUK abdicated the throne and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him.Local elections were held in Cambodia in April 2007, with little of the pre-election violence that preceded prior elections. National elections in July 2008 were relatively peaceful.
5Vietnam- Cambodian War Between 1969 and 1973, Republic of Vietnam forces and U.S. forces bombed and briefly invaded Cambodia in an effort to disrupt the Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge.Some two million Cambodians were made refugees by the war and fled to Phnom Penh. Estimates of the number of Cambodians killed during the bombing campaigns vary widely, as do views of the effects of the bombing.The U.S. Seventh Air Force argued that the bombing prevented the fall of Phnom Penh in 1973 by killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city.However, journalist William Shawcross and Cambodia specialists Milton Osborne, David P. Chandler and Ben Kiernan argued that the bombing drove peasants to join the Khmer Rouge.Cambodia specialist Craig Etcheson argued that the Khmer Rouge "would have won anyway", even without U.S. intervention driving recruitment despite the U.S. secretly playing a major role behind the leading cause of the Khmer Rouge
6Khmer RougeAs the Vietnam War ended, a draft USAID report observed that the country faced famine in 1975, with 75% of its draft animals destroyed, and that rice planting for the next harvest would have to be done "by the hard labor of seriously malnourished people".The report predicted that "Without large-scale external food and equipment assistance there will be widespread starvation between now and next February ... Slave labor and starvation rations for half the nation's people (probably heaviest among those who supported the republic) will be a cruel necessity for this year, and general deprivation and suffering will stretch over the next two or three years before Cambodia can get back to rice self-sufficiency“The Khmer Rouge reached Phnom Penh and took power in The regime, led by Pol Pot, changed the official name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea.They immediately evacuated the cities and sent the entire population on forced marches to rural work projects. They attempted to rebuild the country's agriculture on the model of the 11th century, discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. At least a million Cambodians, out of a total population of 8 million, died from executions, overwork, starvation and disease.
7Khmer DevastationEstimates as to how many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime range from approximately one to three millionThis era gave rise to the term Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became notorious for its history of mass killing.Hundreds of thousands fled across the border into neighboring Thailand.The regime disproportionately targeted ethnic minority groups. The Cham Muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated.In the late 1960s, an estimated 425,000 ethnic Chinese lived in Cambodia, but by 1984, due to Khmer Rouge genocide and to emigration, only about 61,400 Chinese remained in the country.Forced repatriation in 1970 and deaths during the Khmer Rouge era reduced the Vietnamese population in Cambodia from between 250,000 and 300,000 in 1969 to a reported 56,000 in Professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, were also targeted. According to Robert D. Kaplan, "eyeglasses were as deadly as the yellow star" as they were seen as a sign of intellectualism.
9End of the Khmer RougeThroughout the 1980s the Khmer Rouge, supplied by China, Thailand, the United States and the United Kingdom continued to control much of the country and attacked territory not under their dominance. These attacks, led to economic sanctions by the U.S. and its allies, made reconstruction virtually impossible and left the country deeply impoverished.Peace efforts began in Paris in 1989 under the State of Cambodia, culminating two years later in October 1991 in a comprehensive peace settlement. The UN was given a mandate to enforce a ceasefire and deal with refugees and disarmament known as the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).In 1993, Norodom Sihanouk was restored as King of Cambodia, making Cambodia the world's only postcommunist country which restored monarchy as the system of government.The stability established following the conflict was shaken in 1997 by a coup d'état but has otherwise remained in place. In recent years, reconstruction efforts have progressed and led to some political stability in the form of a multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy.In July 2010 Kang Kek Iew was the first Khmer Rouge member found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in his role as the former commandant of the S21 extermination camp. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
10Cambodia Today Cambodia officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia With a population of over 14.8 million, Cambodia is the 69th most populous country in the world.The official religion is Theravada Buddhism which is practiced by around 95% of the Cambodian population.The country minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and 30 various hill tribes.The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economical, and cultural center of Cambodia.The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Norodom Sihamoni an elected monarch chosen by the Royal Throne Council as head of state.The head of government is Hun Sen who is currently the longest serving leader in South East Asia and has ruled Cambodia for over 25 years.
11Issues- Land MinesA major problem that Cambodia faces is the issue of landmines littered all over the country, especially in the rural areas. This is the legacy of three decades of war which had taken a severe toll on the Cambodians; where some 40,000 amputees reside, which is one of the highest rates in the world.The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) estimates that there may be as many as four to six million mines and unexploded ordnances in CambodiaCasualty statistics by Cambodian Mine Victim Information Service (CMVIS) shows that Cambodia ranks as one of the highest casualty rates in the world.The number of casualties from 2000 to 2005 was about 850 per year, declining to about 450 in The figure dropped to about 350 in 2007 and about 270 in It is noted that one-third of the casualties are children, and almost all of those are boys, with studies showing that men and boys tend to be more willing to play with or examine explosives than women are.United Nations: Land MinesStop LandminesA Cambodian StoryThe National Level One Survey in Cambodia conducted in 2002 found that 20% (2776 out of 13908) of all villages in Cambodia are still contaminated by minefields and/or cluster bomb areas with reported adverse socio-economic impacts on the community.These adverse impacts included restrictions on access to agricultural land, pasture land, forests, and water resources, with 102,778, 105,707, 172,878 and 84,588 families being affected respectively.A 2004 Cambodia Socio Economic Survey (CSES) noted that households headed by someone with one or more reported disabilities have significantly less wealth than other households. Furthermore, it has been estimated that households headed by a person disabled by war or landmines live in poverty at levels almost three times higher than if the disability was due to other causes.The Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) was established in late The CMAA regulates and coordinates all mine action activities, and establishes policies and procedures. Currently, there are four (main) demining organizations working in Cambodia - The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), The HALO Trust, and the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).CMAA estimates that the combined cost for demining operations, including technical assistance and in kind contributions for Cambodia are approximately $30 million per year.Experts also estimate that Cambodia will need another 10 to 20 years to clear the mines if the current level of funding is maintained.Adopt a Mine Field
13Hope for the FutureRebuilding from decades of civil war, Cambodia has seen rapid progress in the economical and human resource areas.The country has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with economic growth growing an average 6.0% for the last 10 years.Strong textiles, agriculture, construction, garments, and tourism sectors led to foreign investments and international trade.In 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, and once commercial extraction begins in 2011, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia's economy.