Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Profile of Cambodia

• Full name: Kingdom of Cambodia (formerly – Kampuchea)
• Government type: multi-party democracy under a constitutional monarchy
• Population: 14 million – 65th in world (via CIA, 2007)
• Area comparative: slightly smaller than Oklahoma (69,898 sq miles)
• Capital and largest city: Phnom Penh (pop. 1.2 million)
• Major language: Khmer
• Religions: Theravada Buddhism 95%, Islam, animism, Christian
• Life expectancy: 59 years (men), 63 years (women) (via CIA)
• Age demographic: Over 50 % under 20 years of age
• Monetary unit: 4,006 Riel = $1.00 (via US Dept of State)
• Main exports: Clothing, timber, rubber
• GNI per capita: US $380 (World Bank, 2006)
• Economic Growth: 10 % annually since 2004
• Climate: tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation
• Population below poverty line: 35 % at $0.34 per day (via World Bank)
Education: (via US Dept of State)
o Years compulsory–none.
o Enrollment–primary school, 91.9%; grades 7 to 9, 26.1%; grades 10 to 12, 9.3%; and post-secondary, 1.4%.
o Completion rates–primary school, 46.8%; lower secondary school, 20.57%; upper secondary school, 8.92%; university, 6%.

Information from UNDP, World Bank, CIA Factbook & U.S. State Department

From 1975-1979, Cambodia was systematically torn apart from its highest governmental levels all the way down to the most fundamental foundation of the family. The brutal Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, murdered 21% of Cambodia’s population targeting the aged, educated and professional classes of society. Their goal was an agrarian society that could easily be controlled and their means were genocide and displacement of the population from the cities to the province (countryside). The Khmer Rouge divided children from their parents in order to re-educate a new class in their controlling brutality.
In 1979, the Vietnamese army defeated the Khmer Rouge thus sending them into hiding in the jungles near the Thai Cambodian boarder. The Vietnamese army occupied Cambodia until 1989 – years of guerilla warfare and ethnic tension bringing fear, instability and more death to the Cambodian people. Democracy was restored in 1993 with a power sharing deal between two major political parities – one led by the Prime Minister and the other led by the royal family. This power sharing structure was broken by force in 1997 in 3 days of fighting resulting in control for the Prime Minister. Generally, there has been peace since 1999 with election related violence the exception. In 2008 those responsible for the genocide known as “the killing fields" were being brought to trial.

1 comment:

  1. wow. looking at the education stats... lots start out in school, but less than half finish. but on the flip side, those who do go on to more education seem to stay course except by a much smaller percentage.