Prague, Aug 31 (CTK) – The Czech government’s decision to buy the pig farm situated at the former Nazi camp for the Roma in Lety, south Bohemia, is a vital step towards the recognition of Roma persecution, the European Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Thursday.
The government should have the pig farm removed as soon as possible, the office said in a statement passed to CTK.
The OHCHR said it welcomed the recent shift in the affair by the government as a vital step towards the recognition of Roma persecution with regard to the elimination of the legacy of discrimination and persecution of the stigmatised minority.
The efforts to remove the pig farm and its stench from the commemorative place have become a primary topic in the efforts to commemorate the Roma Holocaust in a dignified way, it added.
The government should buy and tear down the pig farm as soon as possible, the office said.
The Czech government approved the purchase of the pig farm on August 21. The step has been discussed for two decades and international organisations called on the Czech Republic to remove the pig farm from Lety.
According to estimates, the Nazis exterminated 90 percent of Czech Roma.
After World War Two, a small memorial with a cross was built by the families of the victims. The pig farm was constructed on the site in the 1970s.
Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman said the state was to buy the pig farm from its owner, the AGPI company, and pull down the farm.
Herman said the Czech state is to sign the purchase contract for the farm in mid-September.
After the demolition of the pig farm, an archaeological survey and the construction of a memorial of the Roma Holocaust will follow, Herman said. The memorial’s design is likely to be known in a year, he added.
The labour camp in Lety was opened in 1940. A similar facility existed in Hodonin u Kunstatu, south Moravia. In 1942, both facilities turned into internment camps and in August of the same year, Romany camps were established there.
Until May 1943, 1308 Roma men, women and children were interned there, 327 of whom perished in the camp and over 500 were sent to the extermination camp in Auschwitz where most of them died.
The OHCHR also called for the payment of the compensation to the Roma women who suffered sterilisation against their will.
The OHCHR said it was ready to provide support when assessing the cases and a search for the correctional measures.
The suspicion of forced sterilisation surgeries in the Czech Republic, performed mainly on Romany women, was voiced by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) in 2004.
Subsequently, dozens of women reported to the Czech ombudsman about being victims of sterilisation. Some of them turned to courts.
The government committee against torture proposed the granting of a compensation in 2006. In 2009, the Czech cabinet apologised for the unlawful surgeries.
Two years ago, the Czech government refused to approve a compensation to the sterilised women who were to receive 300,000 crowns.