Speech By Samdech Techo Hun Sen The 41st Anniversary of the January-7 Victory [Unofficial Translation]


Revered Samdech Preah Sangharja and Buddhist Monks,
Excellencies, Ladies, Honorable National and Foreign Guests,
Samdech, Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Meeting Participants and Compatriots,

Today is the 41st anniversary of the 7 January 1979 historic victory day overthrowing the genocidal regime of Pol Pot, saving the Cambodian people to survival from mass killing under the perfidious regime in a timely manner, and ended the darkest era of Cambodia, while ushering a new era of independence, freedom, democracy and social progress.

The Cambodian people from all walks of life, inside the country and abroad, are greeting this anniversary of historic victory day in a memory of gratitude to the brave sacrifices of uncountable cadres, combatants, and compatriots, and those of the Vietnamese voluntary army in the fight to liberate the Cambodian people from the regime of genocide, and defend their revival. We are expressing our profound gratitude to friendly countries, near and far, and peace and justice loving people for their supports to the most brilliant course. Along with this, we are bending to concentrate our hearts and minds in respect of the souls of millions of people who lost their lives unjustly because of war and the genocide. We are praying for their souls to rest in peace forever.

On this auspicious occasion, we are expressing fidelity and profound gratitude to Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, and Samdech Preah Mohaksatrei Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, the Heroic Queen Mother of Cambodia in Freedom, Dignity, and Happiness, who are providing shades to the whole people of Cambodia. We wish Their Majesties good health, strengths, intellects, and longevity to stay in throne and fulfill their supreme missions as symbols of national unity, sustainability, and cool and prosperous shade for the Cambodian motherland and people.

Meeting Participants and Compatriots,

Even though our people are living in harmoniously in peace and development, we all are in fresh memories of the suffering and darkest past of our nation caused by the flame of war and the brutal genocide. The coup on 18 March 1970 staged by the Lon Nol clique pushed the “the island of peace” motherland into a full-swing war burning our beautiful country and causing indescribable sufferings and losses. After the five years’ war, Cambodia rolled into genocidal disaster administered by the butchers Pol Pot bringing the country to nil. Over three million Cambodians brutally massacred and those who were alive then were waiting for their turns to face killing. It is true that were there not the 18 March 1970 coup, there would not be the regime of genocide, national sustainability interruption would not have happened, and the Cambodian people would have lived in peace and prosperity.

Under such severe circumstances, unfaltering patriotic forces who escaped the killings of the regime of Pol Pot continued their struggles for a heroic national liberation and mobilized the formation of the National United Front for Salvation of Kampuchea (NUFSK) on 2 December 1978 to lead people to fight and rescue the country from the brutal regime. NUFSK, with strong support from people of every corners and assistances provided by the Vietnamese voluntary army, peace and justice loving people in the world, brought down the regime of genocide scoring the brilliant victory on 7 January 1979. The victory saved our people’s lives in a timely manner, brought back to our people every rights and freedom lost under the regime of Pol Pot reviving the Cambodian national spiritual and material values founded for thousands of years of history. With the victory, the Cambodian people have won back their ownerships of the motherland and destiny. The Cambodian people dubbed the 7 January Victory as their second birthdays. Were there no January 7 victory, we would not have what we have today. The 7-January victory belongs to every Cambodia and humanity who love peace, freedom and justice. That is the historic truth.

It has been 41 years now since when the country broke off from the regime of genocide. In the 41 years, we have overcome uncountable obstacles and hardships through numerous historical stages to defend national revival, to prevail over hardships in every fields left by the destructive war and the regime of Pol Pot. We have made every efforts to restore, build and develop the Cambodian motherland from ashes, while seeking for peace and national reconciliation. Based on great national solidarity and correct leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party, assistances rendered by friends, near and far, we successfully overcame those obstacles to stabilize the country gradually and to score progress one after the other to get to this stage of current development.

As former victims of war and the genocide, we take pride for joining hands to create every historic achievements transforming Cambodia completely beyond expectation. Cambodia has moved from a killing field of the regime of genocide, battlefields of protracted wars, absence of freedom, national and territorial divisions, to become a land of peace, stability, freedom, democracy, rule of law, and development in every fields. People are living peaceful lives with hope to the future under the Constitution and cools shade of the supremely revered HM the King. Meanwhile, Cambodia fully integrated itself with international community and participated with equal right and footing in regional and world affairs.

Such were great transformations in the last four decades stemming from the correct leadership and patriotic participations of people of all classes, ethnicities, religious faiths, civil servants, the armed forces, peasants, workers, traders, businessmen, students, intellectuals, monks and other circles in the course of restoring, building and defending the motherland. We could not thank enough faithful assistances provided by friends – near and far, development partners, and international community to the just course of the Cambodian people.

Meeting Participants and Compatriots,

In the past year 2019, overall situation of Cambodia has had a positive evolvement bestowing a favoring upon our efforts to realize socio-economic development goals, though international situation continues to be uncertain. In this specified period, the Royal Government of the sixth legislative National Assembly implemented steadfastly its political platform and the rectangular strategy phase 4 that I set out in September 2018 scoring major new achievements:

  • Peace, political stability, security, and public order well and firmly safeguarded brings about people’s peace of mind to make their peaceful and harmonious living. Every attempts of bad elements to exercise regime change in Cambodia by unconstitutional means and democratic principles failed thanks to vehement measures taken by the Royal Government and people’s joint forces to defend their peaceful lives and development. Notably, the patriotic spirit to defend national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity raised high despites external pressures, while democratic process and rule of law strengthened, and every people’s rights widened.
  • Process of deep and wide ranging reforms carried out with sharpening will and more effectiveness through new, thorough and inter-related actions among reform-takings sites, especially those in public administration, public financial management, centralization and decentralization, legal and justice system, and anti-graft efforts. They have guaranteed uplifting of good governance of every level institutions to provide public services for the people, to strengthen social justice and equality, to increase national budget and to exercise control of spending in a rational manner and for socio-economic development.
  • Peace and political stability are firm foundations for Cambodia economic development to score growth of 7.1% in the context of low inflation, stable exchange rate, and increasing foreign reserves. The growth supported by positive up-curve in service sector and high growth in industry, though agriculture continues to contribute low share. Political stability restores local and foreign investors’ confidences to put in more capitals, especially in the field of construction and manufacturing. Local consumption and international trade have also taken notable thrusts.
  • Thanks to achievements scored in economic sector and equitable redistribution of growth in the whole society, people’s living conditions have improved reflecting though a GDP per capita of 1,548 USD in 2018 to roughly 1,679 USD in 2019. The poverty rate has come down to below 10% at present. Cambodia has maintained a labor security where there are 0.3% of unemployment rate.

The Royal Government has set out and strived to implement national policy of social protection aimed at uplifting wellbeing and social solidarity, while trying to score maximum reduction of poverty. Through the efforts, the Royal Government has provided two systems of social protections – one to provide social protection to those living under and/or anywhere near the poverty line, focusing mainly on children and women in pregnancy, disables, and elderly people without someone to depend on. Another system is to provide risk protection on pension, health, occupational risks, unemployment, and handicap to those people employed in registered and non-registered economic sectors. The Royal Government has offered allowances for female workers delivering through social security fund, while implementing cash allowances to female with pregnancy and infants/children under two years old in family with equity or priority certificates to relive burden, improve livelihood and nutrition for women and children. The Royal Government has set up a Kuntha Bopha Fund to provide health protection with quality and free of charge for Cambodian children. The civil servants and armed forces are receiving their salaries increase from January through to April 2020. Those employed in the garment and shoes making sectors whose minimum wages was 182 USD, from January 2020 will have their wage increase to 190 USD, not including other advantages, especially those provided by social protection policy.

The Royal Government is placing high thought on lifting up livelihood of farmers through efforts to strive production, maintain stable prices and widen market access for agricultural produce. In the process of communal development, the Royal Government has provided gradual increase of communal funding while in 2020 each commune/Sangkat would receive in average roughly 122,000 USD, in which, funding for local development would be around 70,000 USD. This part of funding in the communal budget is to increase on a yearly basis. Until 2023, each communal/Sangkat administration would receive roughly 132,000 USD as its budget. Meanwhile, we have been working to decrease price and to expand transmission network of electricity and clean water, while offering a number of tax favors that are giving benefits to people with low incomes.

Meeting Participants and Compatriots,

Thanks to the 7 January victory day, the Cambodian nation has stood up once again and marched on a correct path holding ownership of their destiny. The past 41 years has been full of solidarity, heroism and victories. Our determination and commitment in the past 41 years has transformed our motherland from ashes to its proudest development stage. On such a long path, the Cambodian People’s Party, who led the struggle to liberate the Cambodian nation from the regime of genocide, continues to live and share sufferings and happiness with our people. It always serves as backing for our people in every circumstances in the course of national defense, people’s revival, peace and national reconciliation, and restoration, reconstruction and socioeconomic development. Clearly, the road ahead is stacked with obstacles. There would be no obstacles, however, big enough to hinder the march of our nation as long as we could keep national unity. Let us continue our journey on this correctly chosen path. We trust in our efforts. We always remember that internal factor is determined factor to victory. It is in this spirit that together we are determined resolutely to defend the hard-won peace for it to exist firmly and long-lastingly. We would allow no reactionary forces, at whatever price it would be to pay, to destroy it. Where there is peace, there would be a sustainable development and peaceful and prosperous life. Where there is peace, there would be a lasting guarantee and progress of democracy and rights and freedom. Success of development process and firm democracy would have repercussions on guaranteed sustainability of peace. Once we lost peace, we lose everything.

On this occasion, let me affirm clearly that the Royal Government is defending resolutely national independence and sovereignty, under whatever circumstances and situation. Whatever attempts to distract Cambodia from democracy and rule of law by forcing it not even to implement its own law would be unacceptable. The truth has clearly revealed that democracy, rights and freedom of the Cambodian people respected, kept, and uplifted steadfastly in the Cambodian national and people’s interests. There would be no justifiable reason for reiteration by external circles about restoring democracy and human rights in Cambodia. I hope that those circles will take appropriate thinking on positive evolvement in Cambodia and respect rights of the Cambodian people in choosing its path of development that is in conformity with its own history, social status, culture and Constitution. I also hope that Cambodia’s relations with certain countries who used to have incomprehensive perspective on the Royal Government would be promoted, uplifted and improved and would not continue to be a hostage of the dark chapter of history.

Dear compatriots, as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, garnering supports and trusts from our people through the free, fair and just elections, I continue to make my fullest efforts to lead successful implementation of the Royal Government’s political platform of the sixth legislative term of the National Assembly. That will be to ensure national progress, where people have better living conditions, to strengthen justice and social equity, to uplift national prestige, all of which is to realize the visions of making Cambodia high-middle income country by 2030, and a high-income country by 2050.  

On this auspicious occasion, I would express my deep respect and gratitude to our compatriots both inside the country and abroad for their steadfast supports and confidence in the leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party in the past 41 years. I am calling on our compatriots to continue to unite and come together in a solidarity around the Royal Government under the roof of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the cool shade of our revered HM the King in our way forwards to prosperous future.

I am availing my high respect and evaluation to political parties and organizations in civil society for their active participations in keeping peace and political stability, uplifting national sovereignty, strengthening democracy, rights and freedom, rule of law, and development, while sharing their constructive views and opinions for the Royal Government’s leadership sake.

I am conveying my sincere thanks to our friends – near and far, development partners, and international organizations for their assistances to the Cambodian people from the day when the country liberated from the regime of genocide up to the present, and are working to further their fruitful relations and cooperation for the course of peace, democracy and development.

I am grateful to our compatriots for the supports you give to my political message “We Thank Peace.” The message’s value, I understand, is everlasting either in the past, at present or to the future. Everyone need peace, except terrorists who wish to destroy it. “We Thank Peace” has become a slogan for peace loving people.

To end this speech, let me convey my wishes to the Buddhist patriarchs and monks, Samdech, Lok Chumteav, honorable national and foreign guests, members of the meeting and compatriots in all corners with the five Buddhist blessings./.