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Czech minister wants to remove pig farm from wartime camp site

Prague, 16.2.2007 16:12, (ČTK)

Czech Minister Dzamila Stehlikova (Greens), in charge of minority affairs, wants to convince the cabinet to buy the pig farm in Lety, south Bohemia, standing on the site of a wartime internment camp for Romanies, Stehlikova told CTK today.

"The state must take the first step. No other alternatives than the farm's purchase can be taken into account," Stehlikova said.

The minister said she believes that the government would make the final decision on the pig farm by the end of the year.

The European Parliament called on the Czech Republic to remove the pig farm from the location two years ago. Romany activists have been demanding the farm's removal for a long time.

Stehlikova said that it is at first necessary to win political support for the purchase. A work group formed by representatives of individual ministries is preparing a report for the government about Lety.

The plan to remove the pig farm was first presented by Petr Uhl, then Czech government commissioner for human rights in 1999. The former government of Jiri Paroubek (Social Democrats, CSSD) negotiated with the AGPI company that owns the area in Lety. The state would have to pay allegedly up to one billion crowns for it.

Stehlikova said that there has not been enough political will to make a final decision until now. She said that the country could gain some money to buy the land from the EU funds.

The future form of a memorial would be discussed after the site will be bought, she said.

According to historical documents, 326 people perished in the Lety camp and more than 500 of its inmates ended up in the extermination camp in Oswiecim (Auschwitz).

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