Cambodian Society
in the United Kingdom



Outline of Cambodian Society in the UK

The Cambodian Society in the UK is a none-political organisation whose aim is to advance the education of the public about any aspect of Cambodia, including its people, history, culture and traditions.

CASUNIK was formed during the Buddhist Pchum Ben ceremony in October 1979 by Student Association of the Khmer Republic - SAKR - together with some former Khmer Republic Embassy staff and their families who were left stranded in the UK including a small number of Cambodian immigrants.

The SAKR, a none-political student association, was formed in Colchester under the auspices of the Embassy of the Lon Nol Khmer Republic 1971-1975 whose aims were that the Cambodian national and British people alike get together socially and promote the Cambodian Culture to the host country. Its members were originally a group of 12 Cambodian students and their wives, who were under the sponsorship of the Colombo Plan administered by the British Council in the UK, arrived in London at the beginning of 1971. The primary aim of the students was to further their post-graduate studies, many successfully achieving Doctorate and Master degrees, and then to return to serve Cambodia on completion of their studies.

The SAKR was dissolved in late 1975 following the takeover of Cambodia by the Pol Pot (Khmer Rouge) Regime in April 1975. Some student members who chose to return to Cambodia during the regime were reported to have been killed then.

The remaining former students and some former embassy staff and their families who stayed became "stateless" but later adopted refugee status in the UK under the 1954 Geneva Convention.

In 1984, following several discussions with the British Council for the Refugees (BCR) and with the help of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), CASUNIK became a fully registered organisation with the Charity Commission under the Charity Act 1960, with a much revised constitution originally formulated at the Annual General Meeting in October 1981.

CASUNIK remains as a registered charity organisation to present day. With an executive committee of five elected members, the organisation has and continues to work well among the Cambodian and British communities at large in preserving and exchanging cultural and other interests among its members in the UK.

There are approximately 1 000 Cambodians living in the UK, of which nearly half living London. The majority of Cambodian follows Buddhism.