I am delighted to be here at The University of Cambodia today to announce my support and the contribution from the World Mate Organization to establish the “Dr. Handa Compensation and Memorial Fund for the Victims of the Khmer Rouge Genocide,” which has been set up by the Board of Trustees of The University of Cambodia.  I wish to thank The University of Cambodia, particularly the Board of Trustees, for naming this fund after me.  I feel greatly honored.                                         

 

It has always been on my mind, the need to pay a humble tribute to the nearly two million Cambodians who died during the Khmer Rouge era of democide / genocide.  At the same time remember those Cambodian people who survived the ordeal and the agony of the Khmer Rouge’s murderous regime. 

 

I truly feel that there is no way, in whatever terms, that we can fully compensate anyone for the tremendous loss of many lives, as well as, those who had survived the Khmer Rouge regime. The fund, which is set up by The University of Cambodia, is really intended to make positive contributions to Cambodia's society by providing a token of compensation in its own way, for those who died, as well as, for those who survived the Khmer Rouge regime. In essence, the fund is truly more of a symbolic gesture to psychologically and spiritually support the Cambodian people, particularly those who survived the Khmer Rouge’s mass murderous regime. 

 

With the good prospects for the convening of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, hopefully soon. I hope that the establishment of this Fund can also support the process of national reconciliation and national healing in Cambodia. So as to ensure peace, non-violence and non-retribution, while the tribunal will attempt to bring justice to the Cambodian people, the Fund aims to console the victims' families, particularly those who had lost the heads of the family, and who have been facing psychological, physical and economic difficulties caused by the Khmer Rouge regime. In this regard, it is important for the society to recognize the enormous challenges and psychological trauma confronting victim families of the Khmer Rouge genocide.

 

While there are other programs which have been supported by other sources.  This fund will mainly support the compensation program and to a lesser extent the remembrance activities. The plan of this fund is to initially provide US$100 per family, for up to 10,000 victims' families of the Khmer Rouge genocide. 

 

For this fund, I am personally committed to provide the initial seed money in the amount of US$300,000.  In addition, I am delighted to announce today that the Board of the World Mate Organization , which I head, has decided to pledge additional funding support of US$1 million. I hope that we are able to raise further support from other sources in the region and internationally to enhance this fund.

 

The fund will be managed by an Executive Committee, to be set up by The University of Cambodia, which will establish the necessary criteria to determine fairly and objectively those families who deserve it the most. 

 

Finally, I am pleased to learn that The University of Cambodia has set up the “Dr. Handa Center for Genocide Study” to conduct research and to teach courses in genocide / democide study at the University, which is the first of its kind in this country .

 

I understand that this Center for Genocide Study, which is an important commitment of the University, will educate the young generation of Cambodians on genocide/ democide worldwide.