UNESCO supports Tuol Sleng conference on genocide, memory and peace in Cambodia


On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Khmer Rouge regime and the opening of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (TSGM) in Phnom Penh, UNESCO supports the TSGM and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA) of Cambodia in organizing an international conference on the topic of “Genocide, Memory and Peace”, with funding support from KOICA. 

From 28-30 August 2019, the conference convenes experts from 9 Cambodian and 25 international institutions in Phnom Penh to share experience on the management of genocide-related digitalized archives. The conference also serves to inform the process of TSGM becoming a peace education site to support efforts of reconciliation.

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was first opened for visitors in 1979 on the site of the former detention, interrogation and extermination center “S-21” in Phnom Penh, operated by the regime of “Democratic Kampuchea”, commonly known as the “Khmer Rouge regime”.  From 1975-1979, more than 18,000 prisoners were interrogated, tortured, and murdered on site or in the killing field of Choeung Ek.  

As part of the conference, participants visit the Museum and historical sites of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime and engage in discussions on preservation and dissemination of archival evidence, including through educational initiatives.

The conference is organized within the framework of the “Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archives Preservation and Digitization Project”, implemented by UNESCO in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia, and with generous support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The Museum’s archives were inscribed into UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW) Register in 2009. They form the most comprehensive collection of documents of the Democratic Kampuchea prison system, which was a fundamental part of the regime under which millions of people lost their lives.

The project seeks to promote peace and intercultural dialogue, facilitate reconciliation efforts, and expand educational outreach, including through the preservation and digitization of the TSGM archives.

UNESCO is committed to promote education about genocides as a means to sensitize learners for the causes, dynamics and consequences of such crimes and to strengthen their resilience against all forms of discrimination. Learn more about UNESCO’s related activities.