Thursday, September 24, 2009

S.21 Documents Included on Tentative World Heritage List

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Toul Sleng National Museum also known as S.21 and its documents have been included on the tentative World Heritage List, announced the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA) and the Cambodian National Committee for UNESCO during a seminar called “Remembrance of the World” in Phnom Penh on September 14.

The inclusion of the tentative World Heritage List was announced publicly by the Som Sokun, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, he said that Cambodia is proud and honored to put the Toul Sleng National Museum (S.21) for the UNESCO’s heritage list in order to conserve it for the next generation.

“If Toul Sleng National Museum will be added to the list that means that all documents will be officially recognized as a valued heritage for the entire world. It is also our opportunity to receive the technical and financial assistance from UNESCO and international communities for strengthening of the human resources, documents preservation and capacity building governance perfectly and sustainability,” he said during his opening remarks of the seminar.

The Secretary of State continued to say that this is one of the MoCAF’s actions that they have taken to ensure that the UNESCO’s remembrance is fully implemented and that Cambodia will succeeded to conserve its heritage in the form of the Toul Sleng documents.

Yos Eang, Secretary General of the Cambodian National Committee for UNESCO, said that the “Remembrance of the World” is a relative new issue for Cambodia, but UNESCO has been active since 1992. He said the main objective of putting the Toul Sleng Museum in the UNESCO’s Heritage List is to get international funding and to ensure the use of heritage documents globally so that the lesson learned from the civil war will not be forgotten.

“I hope that after the inclusion of former Khmer Rouge’s Toul Sleng prison documents on the world heritage list, we will then be able to maintain and preserve our historical documents for the next generation. By this way, all people in the world will know about killing fields and the atrocities committed in Cambodia and finally, they will protect stop this from happening in the future,” he said.

The document admitted consist of 6,000 picture of Khmer Rouge comrades and prisoners, over 5,000 pictures of torture crimes being committed and 5,000 issues of “The Revolution Magazine” among other documents. Eang described the documents as witnesses to the terror and mass killings committed by the Khmer Rouge during the civil war.

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