As part of the Cambodian people’s desire to cherish the Kingdom’s hard-won freedom from years of civil war, Prime Minister Hun Manet has issued a sub-decree to designate the December 29 Win-Win Policy anniversary into an official Peace Day.
“It is a reminder of the achievement of the complete end of the war in Cambodia and the building of peace and national unity in Cambodia by the victory on December 29, 1998,” he said in the sub-decree issued yesterday.
“Peace Day is a lasting remembrance of the heroic deeds and sacrifices of Cambodian patriots who fought on all fronts; in war, diplomacy and political battles.”
“(This was done) to achieve a complete end to the war in Cambodia and to bring national unity and peace to the nation and the people of Cambodia throughout the country,” he added.
He noted that Peace Day is a reminder to all generations of Cambodians to always remember the devastating destruction of the nation and the misery inflicted on the people.
War-torn countries have faced many consequences, especially divisions. Therefore, the government must inspire all generations of Cambodians to hate war, the sub-decree said.
“December 29 every year is to inspire Cambodians of all generations, both now and in the future, to better understand the values of peace and together promote the culture of peace in Cambodia,” it added.
Prime Minister Hun Manet speaks during the celebration to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Win-Win Policy in Phnom Penh on December 29.
“Peace Day” in Cambodia has been designated as a public holiday, and all ministries, institutions, sub-national, civil society, international organisations and the private sector have been told to mark by joining efforts to “inspire Cambodian people to understand the value of peace, promote a culture of peace and jointly maintain peace in Cambodia”.
Government spokesman Pen Bona said yesterday that peace is not only the basic need of the people of Cambodia but also for those around the world. “No one in the world hates peace and wants war. Therefore, the establishment of a Peace Day in Cambodia is appropriate and deserves the support of Cambodians, as well as the support of humanity on the planet as a whole, especially from war-torn countries.”
Cambodia experienced the horrors of war and genocide, but there were patriotic figures who came forward to oppose and overthrow the Pol Pot regime in order to restore the lives of Cambodians who suffered under the Khmer Rouge, he said.
Bona said former Prime Minister Hun Sen and many other important leaders made a lot of sacrifices and succeeded in formulating the Win-Win Policy which was a successful political achievement that led to the end of the civil war.
“Peace has universal values, so those who oppose peace are those who oppose the universal values of humanity and are against the right to life, which is a fundamental human right,” Bona added.
Youk Chhang, Executive Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), said that between 1975 and 1979, Cambodia suffered extraordinary destruction of its civilisation.
The Khmer Rouge regime attempted to implement a radical Maoist form of communist ideology, which was implemented through a spectrum of horrific policies and practices that defy the imagination. Cambodian people were imprisoned, tortured and killed, he said.
Ethnic and religious communities were targeted, and the entirety of the Cambodian people were terrorised by the most egregious forms of inhumanity, he said.
“It is estimated that over two million out of seven million Cambodian people died during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979). So peace has given the people the right to life and all other rights. It was a difficult mission (by the patriots) to risk their lives to find complete peace on December 29, 1998,” Chhang added.