Paris Peace Accords Legacy
The Paris Peace Agreement Legacy project is a memory initiative aiming at connecting past to present, and promoting the legacy of the Paris Peace Agreement (PPA) that initiated the peace-building process in Cambodia. The Peace Institute of Cambodia (PIC) intends to celebrate the birthday of the Paris Peace Agreement, which is almost forgotten in the current Cambodian society, despite its importance. It has organized an event on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Agreement. The event was preceded by various awareness raising activities which will start two months before, and which allowed new generations to know more about the peace process and to connect to the collective memory of victims, political figures and civil society actors that played a role and participated in the peace negotiations. The PPA Legacy project originates from needs that have been identified through constructive dialogues and consultations with the youth, civil society scholars and experts.
A conference was held by the Peace Institute of Cambodia on October 22nd, 2013, exactly 22 years after the signature of the PPA, to reflect on the enforcement of this agreement. During this event, participants recommended having future dialogue about the agreement in order to promote memory and recognize the importance of this agreement as the foundation for Cambodian peace and democracy, and to understand how the various aspects of the agreement contributed to the advancement of peace, democracy and human rights in the present context.
Later, on 18th and 19th May 2015, a consultation workshop on the development of a PPA memorial project was organised at PIC office. The basis for the discussions was the fact that the PPA and the peace-building process in general, are largely unknown amongst the Cambodian population. The consultation workshop sought to collect and use the ideas, histories, and stories of those involved in the peace negotiation process.
The Paris Peace Agreement of 1991 as a key turning point in Cambodian history
The PPA offered a comprehensive political settlement aimed at ending the “tragic conflict and continuing bloodshed in Cambodia”. This agreement was the result of a long peace-negotiations process in which the 4 Cambodian factions and 19 nations were involved. The PPA and their implementation by the United Nations offered to Cambodia peace and stabilization after decades of war, moreover the Agreements reasserted Cambodia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.
The need for memorialization and education in Cambodian society
The PPA lacks exposure in today’s Cambodian society, despite its fundamental importance for peace, stability, reconstruction and reconciliation in Cambodia. The major part of the Cambodian population, in particular the youth, is not aware of the Agreement, and there is little available in public record on the key events leading up to the negotiations, the negotiations themselves or the aftermath.
In view of this lack of awareness and understanding from the Cambodian youth, and on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement, PIC decided to launch the Paris Peace Agreement Legacy Project. It originates from the need for memorialisation efforts in Cambodia. This project aims at giving more visibility to the PPA and at sustaining the progress that it initiated back in 1991.