BY BUTH REASKMEY KONGKEA
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Office in Cambodia in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts have organized the 1st Anniversary ceremony of the inscription of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archives in the Memory of the World International Register on August 9 at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh.
Jamie Hyo-Jin Lee, Communication Focus Point of UNESCO Phnom Penh Office, said that the event will feature speeches by His Excellency Hem Chhem, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts and His Excellency Teruo Jinnai, UNESCO Representative of Cambodia, and will conclude with art performances. He added that the Memory of the World is the documented, collective memory of the people of the world. It is the legacy of the past to the world community of the present and the future.
“The UNESCO Memory of the World Program recognizes documentary heritage of international, regional and national significance, maintains registers of it, and facilitates preservation and access without discrimination. It campaigns to raise awareness of the documentary heritage and to alert governments, the general public, and businesses to preservation needs,” she said.
She pointed out that during the three day meeting of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program, which was held on July 31, 2009 in Bridgetown, Barbados, Director General of UNESCO announced the inscription of documentary heritage on the recommendation of experts of the IAC of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program.
The historical photographs and documents from the site of the S-21 prison and interrogation center of the Pol Pot regime, currently held at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, were listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register on the 31st of July, 2009. The museum archive holds 4,186 prisoner “confessions”, 6,226 biographies of prisoners and 6,147 photographic prints, she noted.
She added that this ceremony will foster reflections on collective memory and raise awareness and bring attention to the importance of preserving and protecting our documentary heritage that memorializes our past. The ceremony will gather participants from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and other concerned ministries, development partners and NGOs, and will be held in the morning of Monday, 9th of August, 2010 at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.