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New national holiday to remember victims

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
A re-enactment of atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The government has set May 20 as a National Day of Remembrance, an official national holiday to commemorate the victims and suffering that occurred during the Democratic Kampuchea regime.

According to a government sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 14, the holiday was established to commemorate the victims who died during the regime from April 17, 1975 to January 6, 1979.

It is also hoped the day will restore honour and dignity to the victims whether dead or alive, help in national reconciliation, promote social harmony, and promote an understanding of the violence that took place during the regime to prevent it from happening again.

“This National Day of Remembrance is set as a public holiday and every citizen is given the opportunity to hold ceremonies according to their beliefs or traditions,” the sub-decree added.

On May 20 every year – previously called the “Day of Anger” – City Hall leaders and hundreds of Cambodians visit the Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre on the outskirts of the capital as well as other locations to honour the victims who died during the Pol Pot regime.

City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said he did not know if the celebration would be like past years after the government officially created the National Day of Remembrance.

“The sub-decree was just released so we do not know yet if this ceremony will be held like every other year. The memory of the suffering of Cambodians during the Khmer Rouge period is always on the minds of the general public,” he said.

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