The Week In Cambodian History: December 5-11

It seems, as far as research goes, that this was a quiet week in modern Cambodian history. So a few events that are recorded in December, but without a precise date known have been included for this latest installment. An important date was missed last week, so has also been included.

On December 4, 2001 The Kizuna bridge was opened, crossing the Mekong River in the town of Kampong Cham and in the district of Kampong Cham. It was the first bridge to be built over the Mekong river in Cambodia. (Missed this one from last week)

On December 9, 1955, the “Japan-Cambodia Friendship Treaty” was signed. Japan and Cambodian began diplomatic relations on January 9, 1953.

On December 9, 1998, the Maharishi Vedic University in Prey Veng- the first university established outside the capital in 1991, after the 7th January 1979 removal of the Khmer Rouge- changed its name to ‘Chea Sim University of Kamchaymear’. The name change came after Australian Aid for Cambodia Fund ended its mission in late 2008.

On December 10, 2019, Cambodia celebrated the last Human Rights day as a public holiday. The holiday was axed for later years in an effort to promote more business activity- as Cambodia had (and still has) some of the highest numbers of public holidays in the world- currently 21.

Date unknown: December 1953, Creation of the Institut Pasteur in Phnom Penh, following the proclamation of the independence of the Kingdom of Cambodia (Directors: Dr. Maurice Huard from 1953 to 1955, and Dr. René Triau, 1955-1958). The Institute produced first veterinary vaccines but soon increased its capacity for human vaccines against rabies and smallpox.

Date unknown: December 1994, It Sam, a former Khmer Rouge divisional commander defected sometime in December 1994. He reported that Khmer Rouge forces had killed approximately 2,000 people in the area of Anlong Veng and some 300 others in three villages in Banteay Srei district of Siem Reap, among whom were Khmer Rouge civilians and villagers abducted from Svay Leu district in Siem Reap.

Date unknown: December 1994, Battambang province came under attack from Khmer Rouge at the start of the 94-95 KR dry season offensive. In December, virtually the entire population of Rattanak Mondol district of over 40,000 persons were forced to flee their homes. 

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