Printed 31.03.2023 17:29
Radio Prague, May 18th - On Monday, government spokesman, Libor Roucek, announced during a press conference that the Czech government has decided to allocate 1 million crowns to the Czech town of Pisek which is to be responsible for better access to a former concentration camp site at Lety. Dita Asiedu reports:
During WWII, Lety was the site of a concentration camp where Romas were held before they were sent to extermination camps. Today, instead of a beautiful memorial that pays respects to all those who suffered and died at the site, you will find a pig farm. Outraged by the bad road conditions, the lack of road signs, and of course mainly the presence of the pig farm, the Roma National Congress (the RNC) launched an international protest which called for the relocation of the farm as well as better access to the site. But with the growing state budget deficit, the Czech government, notes that it cannot carry out the RNCs demands as it lacks the 300 million crowns necessary. RNC spokesman, Ondrej Gina, who believes that the government has let down the Roma community by failing to make the Lety affair a priority, asked Roma and non-Roma citizens to stop pork consumption as it could come from the Lety pig-farm.
This may have had an effect on the Cabinet as during its meeting, on Monday, the Czech government decided to allocate 1 million crowns to the town of Pisek, close to Lety, where its town office will be responsible for the reconstruction of field and forest roads that lead to the site, the placement of proper road signs and the establishment of information boards at Lety which will have orientation plans and will be in several languages.
But many wonder whether this contribution will suffice to appease the Roma community for the time being. The Czech Republic has been facing criticism from the West, claiming that it lacks social and political support for its minority groups, a conclusion deduced from the fact that a large number of Romas has emigrated to mainly Canada and Britain.
On this note, it seems like Britain is reconsidering its imposition of visa requirements to Czech citizens due to the continuing increase of the influx of Roma from the Czech Republic. According to the daily Pravo, Interior Minister, Vaclav Grulich, confirmed that the British Ambassador to Prague warned him that Britain may impose a visa requirement to the Czech Republic if the number of Romas asking for asylum in Britain, continues to rise. The government in return, sees this as a problem as it cannot control Roma emigration since it does not have the right to ask travellers what intentions they have outside the country.
Copyright © Radio Praha, 1996 - 2003