Bulgaria's Hate-Crime Prosecution Condemned in Amnesty International Report
One of the main problems pointed out in the Amnesty International report, published on Monday, was the inadequate prosecution of hate crimes in the country.
Among the groups suffering from prejudice who later become crime victims are asylum seekers, migrants, Muslims and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The report confirms the existence of anti-hate crime legislation. However, the efforts of local authorities have been deemed inadequate.
Additionaly, data collected by the Bulgaria Helsinki Committee and other local organizations has shown that attacks against migrants and asylum seekers have increased immensely over the period January 2013 to March 2014.
“Often, discriminatory elements of the crime, such as racist insults, are simply overlooked by the authorities. The euphemism of hooliganism is no substitute for prosecuting crimes as what they really are,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s researcher on Discrimination in Europe.
The report makes further a note that homophobia is also perceived in a similar way and the preventative measures taken are insufficient.
A EU survey was quoted, stating that ''86% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Bulgaria who had experienced violence or threats of violence did not report these incidents to the police.'' Additionally, a third of them have said that they did not report the crimes, because they believed Bulgarian authorities would treat them disrespectfully.
The report urges Bulgarian authorities to publicly condemn hate crimes and to undertake further measures for the implementation of the law.
The full text of the report is available here.
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