Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Bulgaria

    September 30, 2016

    Following today’s vote by Bulgaria's parliament to ban the wearing of face veils in public, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen said:

    “Women in Bulgaria should be free to dress as they please and to wear the burqa or the niqab as an expression of their identity or beliefs. This ban violates their rights to freedom of expression and religion.”

    “This law is part of a disturbing trend of intolerance, xenophobia and racism in Bulgaria. Legitimate security concerns can be met with targeted restrictions on the complete covering of the face in well-defined high risk locations and not through a blanket discriminatory ban such as this.” 

     

    For more information, please contact:
    Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations
    416-363-9933 ext 332
    Bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    March 31, 2014

    European countries must not transfer any asylum seekers to Bulgaria until the country truly improves its appalling reception conditions and addresses its deeply flawed asylum procedures, said Amnesty International.

    On 1 April, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is due to announce its position on the issue after it called for a suspension of all transfers of asylum seekers to Bulgaria in January. It cited poor conditions in reception facilities and problems with the overall treatment of refugees.

    “Bulgaria is still widely ‘missing the mark’ when it comes to its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. EU member states must halt all transfers and take responsibility for the thousands of men, women and children in desperate need of help,” said Jezerca Tigani, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    Under EU regulation, asylum seekers can be routinely returned to Bulgaria if it is the first country through which they have entered the EU.

    January 03, 2014

    Amnesty International welcomes the position of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) calling on European Union (EU) member states to halt transfers of asylum-seekers back to Bulgaria until April 2014.

    “The position taken by the UNHCR highlights the shameful treatment of asylum seekers in Bulgaria,” said Barbora Cernusakova, Amnesty International’s Bulgaria researcher.

    “Asylum seekers in Bulgaria, including many fleeing from war-torn Syria, are being held in appalling conditions, sometimes for months on end. They lack access to food, sanitation or basic medical care. They are also at risk of arbitrary detention and face lengthy delays in registration and are routinely deprived of access to fair and effective asylum procedures.”

    The UNHCR argues that due to systemic deficiencies in the reception conditions and asylFor um procedures, EU Member States should not return asylum-seekers to Bulgaria even if it is the first country of entry. Under the EU regulation the first country of entry is responsible for the determination of their status.

    December 02, 2013

    The Bulgarian authorities must send a clear message that they will take all necessary measures to curb the growing spate of attacks against refugees and migrants on the streets of the capital Sofia, Amnesty International said.

    The call comes after two Syrian men in their 20s and 30s were injured in a violent attack in Sofia’s Sugar Factory district last night. A third man targeted in the attack reportedly escaped unscathed. It is the seventh such assault on the city’s streets since the beginning of November 2013.

    “So far, instead of investigating and bringing the perpetrators of these violent attacks to justice, the Bulgarian authorities have sought to downplay them as run-of-the-mill muggings and crimes. Bulgaria is obliged under international law to thoroughly investigate any possible hate motive behind these crimes. Hate crimes are an affront to human dignity,” said Jezerca Tigani, a Deputy Director of Europe and Central Asia Program of Amnesty International.

    November 19, 2013

    Urgent action is needed from the Bulgarian authorities to improve conditions at an emergency accommodation centre for asylum seekers near the Turkish border, Amnesty International said after scores of its residents – including people who fled armed conflict in Afghanistan and Syria – staged a protest today.

    As many as 100 people threatened to launch a hunger strike in protest at the deplorable living conditions at Harmanli camp, south-eastern Bulgaria, where around 1,000 asylum-seekers are being detained on a former military base.  

    “It is appalling that people seeking refuge in the European Union are being trapped in limbo in such awful conditions with winter rapidly approaching. The Bulgarian asylum system has a burgeoning crisis with a backlog of applications – the authorities must act fast to ensure they don’t have a humanitarian crisis on their hands too,” said Barbora Èernušáková, EU team researcher at Amnesty International, who visited Harmanli camp last week.

    November 12, 2013

    The Bulgarian authorities must do more to prevent xenophobic hate crimes, Amnesty International urged today amid a rise in racist attacks that has left migrants living in fear.

    In the most recent attacks this weekend a Malian teenager was attacked close to a mosque in the capital Sofia, while a Bulgarian man of Turkish origin was left in a coma hospitalized after being beaten up by skinheads.

    "There is an alarming and dangerous rise in xenophobic feeling in Bulgaria and the onus is on the authorities to prevent it, but instead many recent government statements risk inflaming the situation," said Barbora Cernusakova of Amnesty International, who will discuss the issue with Bulgarian government officials in Sofia tomorrow.

    "Migrants and refugees in Bulgaria are living in a climate of fear and all attacks against these vulnerable groups must be urgently and thoroughly investigated."

    There has been a dramatic increase in the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants coming into Bulgaria this year, mainly from Syria, prompting several anti-immigrant protests organized by far-right groups.

    Subscribe to Bulgaria
    rights