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Czech Republic: Removal of Pig Farm at Romani Holocaust Site

5 September 2017

The UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe welcomes the recent decision by the Czech Government to purchase a pig farm located close to the World War II concentration camp at Lety u Pisku, used for the detention of Roma.

Several hundred Roma died in inhumane conditions at Lety, including many children. Others were deported to the death camps at Auschwitz/Birkenau. It is estimated that over half of the pre-World War II Romani community of today’s Czech Republic did not survive the Holocaust.

Although a memorial has existed at the site of the Lety camp since 1995, the presence of a pig farm on the site since the early 1970s – together with the strong smell associated with it – has made removal of the farm a primary focus of efforts to strengthen remembrance of the Romani Holocaust in the Czech Republic.

We welcome these recent moves by the Government as important steps in the recognition of the persecution of Roma, with a view to rectifying legacies of discrimination and persecution of this stigmatized minority group.

We urge the Government to move swiftly to implement the planned purchase of the farm and its removal. We also encourage that efforts be reinvigorated to provide remedy for the many thousands of Romani women coercively sterilized in Czechoslovakia and its successor states during the period to 2004, as repeatedly called for by UN human rights experts. The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) stands ready to provide support in acting on recognition and remedy matters.