Invested in providing Cambodian survivors in the diaspora with information about the ongoing U.N./Khmer Rouge Tribunal, ASRIC – in conjunction with the Center for Accountability and Justice and in cooperation with local organizations – has, since 2010, hosted community forums. These open sessions, which provide survivors with updates, facilitate healing through communal dialogue and collaborative exchange.
From Victim to Witness
(Photo: Eugene Morita)
Building on the first phase of the CDVPP (Cambodian Diaspora Victims’ Participation Project), which involved the collection of survivor testimonials and the submission of applications to the ECCC, ASRIC hosted a series of community forums titled, “From Victim to Witness.” Intended to provide court updates and facilitate a dialogue about reparation, these gatherings featured members of the ASRIC team and the organization’s primary legal counsel, CJA. This initiative is ongoing.
Art as Witness
(Photo: Sophinarath Cheang)
Drawing on the power of art as a source of reparation, ASRIC’s “Art as Witness” initiative encourages survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime to share their stories through visual art, music, and dance via intimate workshops with professional artists and dancers.
ASRIC embraces the moral and juridical obligation to educate Cambodians and Cambodian Americans about the ECCC. This mission undergirds ASRIC’s “Cambodian Diaspora Victims’ Participation Project” (CDVPP).The CDVPP encourages Cambodian genocide survivors to actively engage in the ECCC proceedings as civil parties/witnesses. Specifically, this initiative has helped survivors (recruited from ASRIC’s Shared Suffering Shared Resilience forums) to submit testimonials to the ECCC as possible evidence for prosecuting senior Khmer Rouge perpetrators.
Since 2009, ASRIC has organized, with community partners, forums in Long Beach, Santa Ana and San Jose, CA, Portland, Oregon, Lowell, MA, Philadelphia, PA, Washington DC, Baltimore, MD and Virginia. Some community collaborations include but are not limited to the following: Cambodian Americans for Human Rights and Democracy (CAHRAD), Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia (CAGP), the Khmer Post East-Coast, the Cambodian American Community of Oregon (CACO), and the Cambodian American Family, Inc. These forums raised awareness about the tribunal and collected 170 testimonies (41 civil parties and 129 complainants) from survivors.
Shared Suffering, Shared Resilience Forums (SSSR)
(Photo: Nori Kato)
As one of ASRIC’s first programs, the “Shared Suffering, Shared Resilience” forums instantiated community dialogues about the Khmer Rouge era, its impacts, and its legacies. These public dialogues brought together survivors, scholars, and community leaders; it was through these conversations that ASRIC began gathering survivor testimonials.