The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) was founded and constituted in 1995 after the U.S. Congress passed the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act in April 1994, which was signed into law by President Clinton. The Royal Government of Cambodia also formally supported DC-Cam. DC-Cam has received numerous accolades and awards for its work in support of memory and justice for victims of the Cambodian genocide. In 2017 alone, DC-Cam was the honored recipients of the Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award from the Center for Justice and Accountability, and his Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni made Youk Chhang a Commander of the Royal Order of Cambodia in recognition of Chhang’s distinguished services to the Kingdom of Cambodia. In 2018, DC-Cam also was a winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards, which is regarded as ‘Asia’s Nobel’ prize, for preserving historical memory for healing and justice.
Witness to History
The year 2023 marks the 50-year anniversary since the Queen Mother began composing her Majesty’s historic travel journal, and to mark this occasion, the Queen Mother Library is honored to announce the publication of the Khmer translation of the 1973 travel journal of Her Majesty, The Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk. Entitled Witness to History – The Journal of Cambodia’s Queen Mother, this unique historical document is Her Majesty’s personal account of her observations on her mission and journey to the liberated National United Front of Kampuchea (FUNK) Zone of Cambodia. This journey, undertaken with His Majesty, The King Father Norodom Sihanouk, began with a flight from Peking to Hanoi, then continued by vehicle down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to Siem Reap/Angkor Wat along sections of the Sihanouk Trail over a period of approximately 39 days.
The journey served several purposes: first, to survey Cambodia’s eastern border lands that had been inaccessible for three years due to sustained warfare, bombing and occupation; second, to meet with Cambodian citizens in the region to assess their status and needs; and third, to reassure the Cambodian people that the Royal Couple were leaders of the Cambodian Resistance. Despite the hardships and significant risks as described in the journal pages, Her Majesty insisted on taking part in the journey. The journal is a perspective on contemporary history, but more
importantly a window into the extraordinary courage and personal role of Her Majesty as a trailblazer and role model for all Cambodian women—young and old.
The Queen Mother originally recorded her experience in handwritten French. In 2021, Her Majesty authorized Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) to publish an official English translation of her journal entries to provide global access to them. Her Majesty also authorized an official Khmer translation of her journal. The Khmer translation of her Majesty’s journal was recently completed and is now available from DC-Cam.
The Khmer translation of this journal is important to all Cambodian historians and people. Her Majesty’s journal represents an important historical record for an extraordinarily important historical period for all Cambodians. As of today, 35,000 copies of this journal have been printed and are being provided free of charge to adolescent girls throughout Cambodia to inspire, motivate and support them in their education and development as leaders. The future of Cambodia will depend upon the leadership of women as much as men, and the journal serves as one illustrative reference for female leadership in a society driven by peace and prosperity for all.