Amnesty International: Bulgaria Violates Human Rights

Society | May 28, 2009, Thursday // 12:01|  views

The 2009 Amnesty International report about human rights violations points out that the first LGBT Pride event in Sofia in June, 2008 faced violence from counter-demonstrators who threw stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails. Photo by BGNES

Discrimination against minorities, violence and intolerance towards Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, lengthy detention of asylum seekers are serious issues for Bulgaria.

The above problems are pointed out in the annual report of "Amnesty International", published Thursday.

The report further states that he Roma minority continues to face discrimination at the hands of public officials and private individuals especially when access to housing is concerned, including forced evictions, and access to public services.

In addition to the ethnic and sexual orientation minorities, the report points out that the state of mental health and social care institutions raises serious concerns about admission procedures, ill-treatment and living conditions at the institutions visited.

The report highlights the lack of staff, staff training and resources in such institutions, conditions which had led to violent incidents, limited therapeutic options and insufficient provision of rehabilitation programs. The extremely poor conditions at the Mogilino childcare institution, highlighted by the BBC documentary and the Minister of Labor and Social Policy's promise that six similar institutions would be closed down, are given special attention.

The European Commission's progress report in July, urging Bulgaria to increase efforts to combat corruption and criminality, following the country's accession to the EU is defined by the report as a political development of significant importance. "The Commission condemned the misuse of EU funds and adopted sanctions against Bulgaria," the report reads.

The months-long and sometimes year-long detention of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants, along with the lack of protection is also considered a serious human right violation.

The report further reminds about complaints coming from representatives of the OMO Ilinden PIRIN party, which represents the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, talking about harassment and intimidation by police officers against supporters of a new application for its registration.

Regarding the Turkish minority rights, the report cites the Sofia City Court's rule that Volen Siderov, leader of the far-right party Ataka (Attack), was guilty of using hostile and discriminatory language against the ethnic Turkish minority and of creating an atmosphere of animosity towards them. "He was threatened with a fine if he ignored the ruling that he should stop using such language," Amnesty International says.

As far as the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the report mentions the first LGBT Pride event in Sofia in June, 2008 when increased intimidation of LGBT people in Bulgaria was reported and some 150 peaceful marchers faced violence from counter-demonstrators who threw stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails.

In 2009, there have also been numerous reports about ill-treatment on the part of the authorities and frequent cases of non-compliance with international standards of legislation.

The report mentions the case of the dead Angel Dimitrov aka Chorata, whose death was initially explained by the police as the result of a heart attack, but a second autopsy demanded by relatives showed that he had died from blows to the head.


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Tags: Amnesty International, human rights violations, Roma minority, asylum seekers, LGBT


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