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PHIL 051: Human Rights and Atrocities (SC)

The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia

The Khmer Rogue took over Cambodia from 1975-1979 ending the Cambodian Civil War. Led by Pol Pot and Ieng Sary, the Khmer Rogue aimed to “remake” Cambodia as an agrarian utopia. They declared the year “Year 0:” the start of a new history in Cambodia. They abolished religion, private property, and changed aspects of the language. The forcibly removed citizens from their homes in the city and into labor camps in the countryside where they often starved. The Khmer Rogue killed anyone who resisted. They burned books, closed schools, and killed teachers, intellectuals, artists, and religious figures. Numerous groups were labeled as traitors and sent to the notorious S21 prison where they were held and tortured, including Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, ethnic Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese. They took children from their parents, raised them as Khmer militants, and forced them to kill prisoners and resistors. An estimated 1.4 million people were killed by the Khmer Rogue. The regime officially fell when Vietnam invaded in 1979.

Recommended Books

Research Leads

These links can help you start (or continue) exploring this atrocity from a variety of perspectives. Library resources such as Tripod and Proquest often work better for academic research than just using Google, because you will be more likely to find academic sources (e.g. peer-reviewed journal articles).

There are strategies for searching databases (and Google) more effectively, and Swarthmore's librarians would be happy to share their knowledge with you. Contact Anne Garrison (Humanities Librarian - agarris1@swat) or Sarah Elichko (Social Sciences Librarian selichk1@swat) to get some tips for your research.

Reference Sources