East-West Center Receives USAID Grant to Promote Dialogue and Understanding About the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia

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HONOLULU (Oct. 31, 2013) -- The East-West Center has received  funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote public understanding and dialogue about the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia through the continuation of activities to monitor, analyze, and disseminate information about the tribunal proceedings.

The project, called “Voices for Reconciliation,” will promote nationwide dialogue on the Khmer Rouge period through the use of Cambodian television and community-based forums engaging survivors and their families. The two-year project will be run by East-West Center Senior Fellow David Cohen, director of the Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI), a collaboration between the East-West Center, the U.C. Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center, and the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University.

“We consider these films and village dialogues to be vital tools in helping the Cambodian public better understand the complex issues involved in these groundbreaking trials,” said Cohen. “The goal is to help make the trial proceedings accessible to everyone in the interest of furthering the process of international justice.”

The previous AIJI-sponsored Cambodian television programs, Duch on Trial and Facing Justice, garnered up to three million viewers each week, or 20 percent of Cambodia’s population, and was credited with being one of the main ways Cambodians received information about the trial.

Building on the success and broad public viewership of these programs, the new project will broadcast 16 programs of highlights, summaries and analyses of the remaining trial and appeal proceedings over the next two years. The broadcasts, which will be available online with English subtitles at KRTMonitor.org, will also feature guest speakers and focus on experiences of certain conflict-affected groups, such as minorities and women. Some of the episodes will be filmed in rural settings, including former Khmer Rouge strongholds. Working together with NGO partners, videos based on the television broadcasts will be shown at villages throughout Cambodia to groups of survivors so as to promote dialogue and reconciliation in their communities.

The project, funded by a USAID grant of nearly $600,000, will include a partnership with Khmer Mekong Films, the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, and the Cambodian Defenders Project.

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The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for over 50 years. For more information about USAID and its programs, please visit www.usaid.gov

The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.

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