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Kamala Sarup: Maoists Khmer Rouge and Human Rights

Maoists Khmer Rouge and Human Rights

By Kamala Sarup

Maoist Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot was the most dangerous person of the killing fields. Radical Maoist movements have failed to take power in Peru, but Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia and his tactic was to terrorize the countryside by setting up ambushes and seeding minefields. The Khmer Rouge regime traumatized millions of Cambodians and it created a permanent scare in every Cambodian citizens. A lot of individuals died because Pol Pot was too incompetent to deal with economic and social development in the country.

During the 1975-79 rule of the radical Maoists at least 1.7 million Cambodians died due to disease, starvation, overwork and execution. There was no banking and finance, no private ownership of property, and no religion. Adam Field finds, in his article in The Times of July 29, Pol Pot guilty of genocide. Pol Pot gave the orders for the killings. He was overthrown by a Vietnamese invasion in 1979.

"I do not know where to begin? I realized that I was attempting something unprecedented something dangerous nearly by Maoists." Born in Ponam Phen, Combodia, Dr. Nansi Kreth said.

"There was no peaceful movement to support and respect about our life. His voice trailed off as tears ran down his cheeks. "I can't understand why people do this to each other. I've seen many horrible dead, swelled, naked body floating down the river. Many people simply felt that it was better to end their lives sooner than to suffer in such a way," he said.

After the most horrifying and disastrous war, Pol Pot became prime minister and the next day the entire population in the country became farmers. They were forced to evacuate the cities, move to the countryside. Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said, "Cambodians and foreigners should be educated about the tragic past.

Monash University's Professor David Chandler, who is an international expert on Pol Pot regime in Cambodia said, "Nearly two million people died of exhaustion, malnutrition or by execution between 1976 and 1979. Thousands of party members were also put to death".

When the Khmer Rough Maoists guerrillas took over our place, they make all the people work for them every single day and night without giving a chance to rest. People never used to get to eat a full meal. Sometimes, when they refused to work, maoists would torture them by wipping them and making them worked overtime. There were no shoes given by the Khmer Rouge. People were robbed by the Maoists. Maoists left them with nothing. People used to sleep on the ground and were without food for a month.

Michael Vickerey estimated that 50,000 - 300,000 were executed and the deaths in the four years rule of Pol Pot was over 750,000 due to excesses. David Chandler estimates up to 100,000 executions (Newsweek, June 30, 1997). A July 1997 piece on Cambodia by Philip S. Robertson Jr., in the Foreign Policy gives a death toll of the Khmer Rouge period as 1.5 - 2 million, without mentioning any earlier events that might have contributed to the toll.

The Finnish study estimated the total deaths in the Pol Pot years at a million. According to many studies, many people decided to leave the town fearing that the Khmer Rouge will capture them and execute them or will force them to go along with them into the jungle and would use them as human shields.

A Cambodian journalist, who was also a New York Times news photographer Dith Pran, barely survived the mass killings by the Pol Pot regime said, "Any Cambodian man, woman or child who was seen as a threat, or who refused to obey orders was killed".

In the mid-1990s, the Khmer Rouge suffered reverses due to internal factionalism, and in 1992, U.N. mission registered 4.6 million people of the eligible voters. In the same year Prince Sihanouk denounced the Khmer Rouge but in 1993, the Khmer Rouge withdrew from the peace talks, boycott national elections and return with impunity to terrorism. The King won the election, a new constitution reestablished the monarchy, and Norodom Sihanouk became king again. People argued, "UN should detect, arrest, extradite or bring to trial those who have been responsible for genocide crimes against humanity in Cambodia."

On the other hand, during the 1980s, the Shining Path, waged an armed struggle against the Peruvian state in support of its hard-line Maoist ideology. Approximately 30,000 Peruvians were killed in the conflict. Peruvians have a particular dread of violence. Shining Path Maoists organization was formed in the late 1960s. In the 1980s and early 1990s, vicious terrorist attacks were daily occurrences across Peru perpetrated by the Shining Path. However this organisation crumbled after Maoist leader Guzman's capture in September 1992. In the past, almost every institution in Peru has been a target of Shining Path's violence.

The vast majority of these victims have been Peruvian nationals. After a series of bloody attacks, in 1986, Shining Path brought their form of violence into the metropolitan areas of Peru in 1991. Former Peruvian President Fujimori waged an aggressive campaign against the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru. Fujimori had captured most of the leaders of the rebel groups, and violence subsequently declined sharply. Thousands of Peruvians were convicted of terrorism-related charges and sentenced. It is believed that since Fujimori's crackdown, violence has not been a problem in Peru.

The Maoist war ruined dozens of lives, it made some mentally ill, others were left so poor after their husbands' deaths in Peru. They are most violent group, they massacred villagers whom they suspected of collaborating with the government. Many were clubbed or stoned to death and some children had their ears cut off. The Maoists carried out a campaign of sabotage, bombings, and murders that damaged $22 billion worth of property in Peru.

By 1994, Shining Path had lost much of their strength, and more than 80,000 of the displaced returned home. Between 1995 and 2000, Shining Path violence was minimal in most areas, with the exception of Peru's Amazon region, where remaining Shining Path guerrillas continued to harass the indigenous population and displace some civilians. According to the Mesa Nacional Sobre Desplazamiento, a consortium of non-governmental organizations, the conflict displaced some 430,000, but "affected" as many as 1.6 million. Some 60,000 people remained internally displaced within Peru. Hundreds of thousands of Peruvians fled their Andean homes in the 1980s and early 1990s. They fled a violent insurgency. Now the Peruvian speaking world energetically condemns terrorism, pledging to fight terrorist acts.

Mass death is certainly no stranger to Maoism. Cambodia and Nepal are two democratic kingdoms that have both suffered immensely from the ravages of maoism. There can be no political justification for acts of violence.


(Kamala Sarup is editor of )

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