Bulgarian Red Cross Sides with Interior Ministry on Refugee Report

Society | April 30, 2014, Wednesday // 15:37|  views

The controversial HRW report came amid renewed concerns of Bulgaria's attitude to refugees and asylum seekers. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Red Cross expressed support for the Interior Ministry over a Human Rights Watch report harshly criticizing the country?s immigration policies.

In an official statement, the BRC has described Human Rights Watch's report as "one-sided" and has announced it could not accept the manner in which it was prepared. It has therefore decided to "distance [itself] from the accusations and the dubious conclusions in it".

"During their everyday visits to centers for temporary accommodation of asylum seekers with the State Refugee Agency, as well as during its continuous meetings with refugees while distributing humanitarian aid, representatives of the organization did not observe and do not have information of such attitude and behavior of Interior Ministry officials to people accommodated in the centers.?

HRW's report, which was made public on April 29, argues that Bulgaria is implementing a "Containment Plan" to reduce the number of asylum seekers in the country by summarily pushing back Syrians, Afghans and others illegally crossing the border with Turkey.

Among government officials and state structures the document seemed to prompt outrage, as the Interior Minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev, called the organization's conclusions "blatant lies", and the president of the State Agency for Refugees Nikolay Chirpanliev said HRW representatives who wrote it were "morons".

The report also came days after three Syrian refugee families were forced to leave Bulgarian village, as its inhabitants claimed it was a place only for "Bulgarians".

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Tags: Tsvetlin Yovchev, Bulgarian Red Cross, Nikolay Chirpanliev, State Agency for Refugees, human rights watch, refugees, asylum seekers, BRC


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