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Cambodia

For nearly a generation, Cambodia has been working to heal the social, physical, spiritual and ecomomic wounds of the Khmer Rouge era. In the 1970's, the Marxist regime under Pol Pot terrorised the population with mass killings, forced labour and starvation. A generation of Cambodia's most highly-educated people were among the 1.7 million people who died.

While Cambodia remains one of the world's poorest countries and hugely reliant on outside help, major efforts have been made to increase commerce (clothing, minerals, construction, agriculture and tourism) while reducing corruption and vice.    

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Cambodia
Pause for thought in Cambodian town

Cambodia lies on the Mekong, one of Asia's great rivers, which provides fertile land for rice crops. Much of the country's business and commerce is focused on the bustling capital city, Phnom Penh.

Tribal peoples, especially in the north of Cambodia, face increasing threats to their traditional ways of life, and are prone to exploitation over issues such as land rights.

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Cambodia map

Area (size): 69,900 square miles (about three-quarters size of UK) Capital city: Phnom Penh

Population: 14.8 million; Khmer (90%) with Malay, Vietnamese, Chinese and other minorities         Languages: Khmer (official); French; English (trade); minority ethnic languages

Religion: Buddhist, with Muslim, Christian, Hindu & ethnic minorities

Christians in Cambodia

Buddhism has been Cambodia's national religion for hundreds of years. While the Khmer Rouge sought to eradicate religion, Christians have been able to worship openly since 1990 and today the country enjoys increased religious freedoms.

That God's Church in Cambodia survived the Khmer Rouge at all is remarkable and, while outright numbers of Christians remain small at little over 1% of the population, there has been significant growth of indigenous ministry and planting of new churches.  Training of pastors and mature leadership remains a pressing need.

Individually and together, Christians in Cambodia have complex and sometimes unpleasant social problems and evils to confront, such as as the sex trade in which tens of thousands of children are exploited.