In May 1993, despite threats from the Khmer Rouge, over four million Cambodians (about 90% of eligible voters) participated in the UN held elections. The first after the devastating reign of Pol Pot and the occupation by the Vietnamese. A democratically elected government was installed which, despite some serious stumbles along the way, still holds to this day.
The elections occurred more than a year after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords (23 October 1991) and the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 745 (adopted 28 February 1992). Under the banner of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), there is probably little doubt they could have occurred without the intensive support provided by the international community.
Australia played a key role in this process. From those involved with the Paris Peace Accord to UNTAC. The military, Australian Federal Police, non-government organisations, diplomatic personnel, UN contractors, media and the hundreds of Australians who spent time in Cambodia during this period. In 2013, to mark the 20th anniversary, a fundraising event was held in Canberra of a gathering of people who worked in Cambodia during that time.
This website was launched for that reunion and continues to be funded and managed by Marje Prior, the author and publisher of Shooting At the Moon, who documented the Cambodian Peace Process with a series of oral history recordings.
Copies of this book have been donated for fundraising and this website remains as a testimony to those involved. The book was independently published by Marje Prior and Associates Pty Ltd who secured a grant for the photographer, Heide Smith, to mount a photographic exhibition, supported by quotes from the peaceworkers, at the Sydney Town Hall and old Parliament House before the release of the book.
Marje owned a social marketing agency in Canberra that produced campaigns and communication materials for the Hawke/Keating Governments. She initiated and funded Shooting at the Moon on hearing of the involvement of the Australian military, federal police and aid workers in this historic peace process. She visited Cambodia three time to conduct more than 70 interviews. Heide Smith accompanied her on two of these trips to take photos of the people interviewed in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang regions.
Marje is a social historian whose significant collection of oral history recordings are being published by On The Stone Books. Contact Marje Prior if you are interested in your name being included or your story being told. Click here if you want to buy this book.