2011年4月8日金曜日

Cambodia profile

The fate of Cambodia shocked the world when the radical communist Khmer Rouge under their leader Pol Pot seized power in 1975 after years of guerrilla warfare.
An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died during the next three years, many from exhaustion or starvation. Others were tortured and executed.
Today, Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world and relies heavily on aid. Foreign donors have urged the government to clamp down on pervasive corruption.
Cambodia is burdened with the legacy of decades of conflict; unexploded munitions - thought to number in the millions - continue to kill and maim civilians, despite an ongoing de-mining drive.
Only now is the country beginning to put the mechanism in place to bring those responsible for the "killing fields" to justice. Cambodia and the UN have agreed to set up a tribunal to try the surviving leaders of the genocide years.
The tribunal held its first public hearing - a bail request by one of the defendants - in November 2007.
The first trial - of former prison warder Kaing Guek Eav, or Comrade Duch - started in 2009 and reached a guilty verdict in July 2010. The trial of four more Khmer Rouge leaders is expected to begin in 2011.

The temples of Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat's 12th Century temples show Hindu-Buddhist influence in Khmer Empire-era Cambodia

 
In pursuit of a rural utopia, the Khmer Rouge abolished money and private property and ordered city dwellers into the countryside to cultivate the fields.
The effects can still be seen today, with around 70% of Cambodia's workforce employed in subsistence farming.
The Mekong River provides fertile, irrigated fields for rice production.
Exports of clothing generate most of Cambodia's foreign exchange and tourism is also important.
The imposing temple complex at Angkor, built between the ninth and 13th centuries by Khmer kings, is a UN heritage site and a big draw for visitors.
Well over half of Cambodia is forested, but illegal logging is robbing the country of millions of dollars of badly-needed revenue.
International watchdog Global Witness claims top officials are involved in the trade. The environment is also suffering, with topsoil erosion and flooding becoming prevalent.
The spread of HIV/Aids is another threat; however, public health campaigns have reduced the rate of infection.

BBC NEWS