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What’s the difference between a bank and a black market money changer?

Sanne van Oosten

Well, for one thing, trading your money from one currency to the next is a much less strenuous exercise when one gets their money at a bank. Quite different from changing your money with a black market money changer, and we can know, we have experienced both. Still, without all the stress while changing the money, we don’t see all that much difference between the two. Both are cheaters, the only difference being that bankers get away with it, while black market money traders do not.

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S-21: The Torture and Killing Machine

Davey Meelker

Yesterday I went to the Dutch premier of the documentary The Khmer Rouge and the Man of Non-Violence. In this documentary the French lawyer of Duch, the leader of the infamous S-21 prison camp in Cambodia, was followed. It showed a defence team in disgrace within a troubled tribunal and reminded me of the blog I wrote earlier: was the tribunal worth it? It also reminded my of the time of which I studied all the transcripts of this trial to create some understanding of what happened. It took me almost a year to draw this picture. Underneath is an article derived from this extensive research, for this occasion a bit more text than the usual blog. You can also download the full article it here, including references, acknowledgments and a diagram. For those who find it to too much of a read, the video above was created to explain the basics of the functioning of S-21.

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The Khmer Rouge Tribunal: was it all worth it?

Photo left: Chinese President Hua Guofeng (right) welcomes Pol Pot (centre) and Ieng Sary to Beijing in 1977. Photo right: Ieng Sary at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Davey Meelker

Ieng Sary, the former Khmer Rouge foreign minister, died today while he was standing trial for being one of the leaders of the regime responsible for killing around 2 million people. This is another setback for the tribunal that only convicted one person since it became operational in 2007. Ieng Sary’s wife, Ieng Thirith, who was also standing trial was released earlier because of her Alzheimer’s desease. Now, there are only two suspects left. Many blame the tribunal as unprofessional, corrupt and inefficient. Is the tribunal turning out to be a fiasco?

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Why the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is necessary, despite criticism

Davey Meelker

The tribunal that is bringing the former Khmer Rouge leaders to justice is subject to a lot of criticism. It needs many millions of dollars more than originally budgeted, but donor countries hesitated to cough up more bucks in the past and will do the same in future when there is no significant improvement. Although much of the criticism makes sense, it is of huge importance that the tribunal will continue. Even if it means that is not done by internationally accepted standards.

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Human Rights? Practice what you preach!

Davey Meelker

Western nations often criticize other countries for their poor standard of human rights. Indeed, there is a lot to improve all over the world. Nevertheless, you have to practice what you preach and more often than not the advocates of human rights need to have a look at their own country as well. I’m from the Netherlands, a country advocating human rights all over the world, but maybe we should — like other Western countries — take closer at ourselves as well. According Amnesty International there is still a lot improve.

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Are we all potential murderous criminals?

Davey Meelker

Last week I visited S-21, the former main prison of the Khmer Rouge. Here, at least 12,273 people, but most likely thousands more, were brutally tortured before they were killed at the killing fields. This prison is now a museum where people can learn about those horrible times. In this museum is a picture of its former leader, Duch, with al kind of written ‘comments’ on it (see the picture above). People are understandably angry with the person who led this killing machine. Many see him as a monstrous psychopath sent by the devil, but the truth is even more horrendous: he was psychologically quite normal.

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Will Cambodia’s hunger and child mortality be solved?

Albeiro Rodas

Trying to reduce Cambodian’s problems of malnutrition among children aged six to 24, the Cambodian Government, with UNICEFUSAID-Cambodia and the World Health Organization (WHO-Cambodia), among others institutions, launched a national campaign to ensure an adequate complementary food and breast milk. “By seeking to improve complementary feeding for children 6 to 24 months we are addressing one of the major barriers to Cambodia reaching its full potential in the future: the healthy development of its children.” said UNICEF Deputy Representative Sunah Kim.

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Cambodians finding peace with their past

Davey Meelker

Between 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge violently ruled Cambodia, causing the death of around two million people (some even estimate three million). Around a quarter of the population died, meaning that every survivor knows at least one person who died during this regime. Many people experienced torture, famine, extremely hard labour and terrible diseases. 30 years later survivors are still silently suffering from their unimaginable experiences. It is time that the silence is broken.

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