UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe welcomes Czech Govt genocide site buyout, calls for illegally sterilized women to be compensated
The UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe announced on 31 August that it welcomes the recent decision by the Czech Government to purchase a pig farm located "close to" the World War II-era concentration camp at Lety u Pisku that was 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. The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) now says that it welcomes these recent moves by the Government as important steps in the recognition of the persecution of Roma, with a view to rectifying the legacies of discrimination and persecution of this stigmatized minority group.
The OHCHR urges the Czech Government to move swiftly to implement the planned purchase of the farm and its removal. The UN office also encourages 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 has been repeatedly called for by UN human rights experts.
The OHCHR says it stands ready to provide support in acting on recognition and remedy matters. Czech Human Rights Minister Chvojka is scheduled to meet with members of the Romani community in Prague this coming Thursday.
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