forumZFD in Cambodia
After decades of civil war - the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, Vietnamese liberation and occupation until 1989, violent infights between different government factions until 1998 and skirmishes with Thailand until very recently – the political system of Cambodia has entered a phase of superficial stability. Or as a Cambodian peace building activist puts it:
“We have built bridges and factories in Cambodia, people don’t starve anymore. But we yet have to rebuild our society, from a war-torn place into a peaceful society. There is still a long way to go…”
Down to the present day, there has been no systematic dealing with the recent (especially Khmer Rouge) history in Cambodia. In addition, the public discourse on the past is politically biased which strengthens nationalistic tendencies and deepens historic enemy images and prejudices against minorities that already existed before the Khmer Rouge regime. The inadequate knowledge and learning from the past in combination with scarce capacities of non-violent conflict transformation generates a situation that could easily escalate to violence.
We aim to address some of these issues since we have started our engagement in Cambodia in 2015. Our activities are implemented from the programme office in Phnom Penh as well as a project office in Battambang City, which was successfully opened in July 2016.
With the help of qualified Cambodian and international peace experts, we are currently developing our programme in Cambodia by establishing partnerships with local NGOs, universities, agencies, ethnic and religious minorities and youth-initiatives.
Fields of action for our work in Cambodia mainly revolve around the areas of Dealing with the Past (DWP), facilitation of dialogue processes as well as dissemination of methods of civil conflict transformation, conflict sensitivity and peace building in a post-conflict society.