Youth for Justice and Reconciliation (YJR) Project
To contribute to the justice process in Cambodia in the context of the proceedings of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the YJR project has been implementing its activities since 2007. In Cambodia the knowledge about the Khmer Rouge (KR) time among youth is low as the subject is not taught in schools and the information that is transferred within families varies in contents and truth.
As an outreach program, YJR project is providing trainings, conducting community dialogues, art workshops, public exhibitions, theater, trips to former local mass killing places, visits to memory sites in Phnom Penh and water ceremonies.
YFP organizes in a regularly base eleven-day-long outreach workshops regarding Transitional Justice and Memory Culture were conducted in seven provinces. The project promotes a lot of participation from the grass-root level and by doing so contributes in a sustainable way to the post conflict peace building process. During one year period more than 3000 people are trained.
Several products were published like; the memory calendar Stories from the Ground – Memorial Sites in Cambodia, The Youth Magazine and the Art Memory book Eyes on Darkness – paintings of memory. See publications.
To embed the activities into a wider context, YFP organizes an Annual six days Peace Youth Conference, with an average of 300 participants. More photos.
In 2009 the project has been funded by Institute of foreign relations (IFA) and Open Society Institute (OSI). As an outreach program, Youth for Justice and Reconciliation has provided training, dialogues, and publications for young people to understand about the history of Khmer Rouge, Extraordinary Chamber in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC), and reconciliation. The project aims to work toward establishing a positive legacy for the Extraordinary Chambers and reconciliation efforts in Cambodia, through education and the creation of space for dialogue between the younger generation as well as the older. The objectives of this project are:
• To improve youth's understanding of the history related to the Khmer Rouge, the root
causes of genocide, and reconciliation. • To engage youth in Cambodia’s search for justice, accountability, and reconciliation in a
well-informed and peaceful manner. • To provide space for Cambodians to share their experiences between young and old and
promote reconciliation, and general understanding of the ECCC in the Transitional Justice
process. • To engage Youth to take an active role in the Transitional process using different kind of
artistic methods and work towards Memory Culture.
The project has been regularly implemented as scheduled in different provinces: Phnom Penh, Battambang, Takeo, Kampot, Preyveng, Svay Rieng, Kampong Chnnang and Pailin province. The activities fulfill the aims of the project according to the plan of action. The activities implemented, include the Understand, Remember and Change (URC) workshops, Community Dialogues (CD), Trips to Phnom Penh, Peace Conference in Siem Reap, Art Workshops and Public Exhibitions, and various publications.
The results of the project indicates that the youth are increasingly interested in studying and getting involved in the process of Transitional Justice, genocide prevention and their involvement bridges the gap between the generations. Critical thinking and action of the young generation - to break the silence; open the wounds of the past and reflect on the atrocity of Cambodian history - has increased. After the YFP activities the workshop participants themselves are active in their communities. In some provinces, the youth and villagers with the support of their local authorities and teachers conduct public viewings of history films. Moreover the youth also processed action plans to build Peace Gardens or to help poor survivors to build a house, by doing their own fundraising. They actively raise funds from the students and teachers in their schools and from the people in the surrounding villages. The project promotes a lot of participation from the grass-root level and by that contributes to the Transitional Justice process by creating mechanisms to deal with symbolic reparation and to establish local dialogues and understandings on the of the Khmer Rouge period on local communities. See photos.