The U.N. in Cambodia

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Published: July 28, 2009
To the Editor:

Re “Too Late for Revenge,” by Marshall Kim (Op-Ed, July 16), about Khmer Rouge trials and the role of the United Nations in Cambodia:

The trials are occurring 30 years after the end of the Pol Pot regime because United Nations member states continued for more than a decade to recognize the Khmer Rouge as Cambodia’s government and allowed them to occupy the country’s United Nations seat. The victims of the genocide were held hostage by cold-war politics, for which the world should feel enduring shame.

The trials do not constitute the entire mandate of the United Nations system in Cambodia. My own organization, Unicef, returned to Cambodia in 1979, just after the fall of Pol Pot’s regime. It devotes some $20 million a year to reduce maternal and child mortality, assure basic education and protect vulnerable children from the exploitation and abuse that are manifestations of continuing poverty.

Richard Bridle
Representative, Unicef
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 21, 2009


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