South Korea’s KOICA funds $3M Toul Sleng conservation project

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Cambodia has approved funding of $3 million to continue conservation work of the Tuol Sleng Museum archives for five years, starting from 2024.

The approval was given at a January 11-17 review meeting, with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, KOICA and UNESCO in attendance.

According to KOICA, the meeting was to evaluate the second phase of the “Peace Education, Archives Preservation and Digitization, and Site Conservation for Youth Empowerment (PEACE)”, also known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archives Preservation and Digitization Project. The first phase was also funded by the South Korean government.

Shin Jungyeon, KOICA senior deputy director, said that based on a feasibility study, the organisation was prepared to support the five year project. She noted that the funding was $1 million more than the first phase required, but that phase one had only required four years of work.

She added that Cambodia has always been a priority development partner of the organisation. KOICA has supported many programmes and projects that have not only had a significant impact on Cambodia’s development, but also boosted friendly relations between the two countries.

“As a South Korean government grant implementation agency, KOICA is proud to be a partner and friend of Cambodia and the Cambodian people. We will continue to work for the sustainable development of Cambodia and the mutual co-prosperity of the two countries,” she continued.

Hap Touch, secretary of state of the culture ministry, said the second phase of restoration would focus on the preservation of the museum’s archives and outreach education for peace.

The first phase of the restoration was begun in 2018, in collaboration with UNESCO and the culture ministry.

Through the project, a total of 405,782 pages of archives were digitised, while another 745,494 pages were preserved through the project, including: photographs, film, confessions, biographies, lists of revolutionary books, magazines, Khmer Rouge manuscripts and other documents.

Through the implementation of phase two, stakeholders expect to improve the preservation of the Tuol Sleng Museum archives and the restoration of old documents. The archives are used to educate the next generation about the importance of peace.

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