Ex-Khmer Rouge Could Threaten Stability

Three years ago major defections brought thousands of former rebel Khmer Rouge into the government fold. But experts are warning it may not have permanently ended the threat of war.

Several have raised concerns in recent days that many of those former Khmer Rouge families remain isolated from Cambodian culture at large, that provincial and district authorities have had too little contact, and that not enough is being done to erase lingering suspicions and build a lasting peace. A failure to integrate them could have consequences for the future stability of the country, they warned.

“They have physically defected,” said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia. “But they have not mentally defected. People overlook the significance. And I think the effort to integrate them should be larger.”

The issue of Khmer Rouge integration gained prominence last week at a forum on the issue sponsored by the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace and a recent study on conditions in the countryside. Though many experts have expressed concerns, opinions on what should be done to solve the problem vary widely.

Ok Serei Sopheak, who spoke at the forum, visited several former Khmer Rouge areas and xxxxx

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