DW: Why Do So Many Refugees Avoid Bulgaria?
Bulgaria is ranking among worst destinations for asylum seekers in a handbook, with some saying "xenophobia and Islamophobia are widespread", Deutsche Welle has noted.
In a text titled Why do so many refugees avoid Bulgaria?, Alexander Andreev and Tatiana Vaksberg have given several examples of this.
"Public opinion is clearly against accepting more refugees into the country as seen by attacks on refugees as well as demonstrations and political rallies against them," DW points out, without elaborating.
According to sociologist Andrey Raychev, Bulgaria's aggression to migrants could be partly explained with the notion Bulgarians have of asylum seekers being "sone kind of Gypsies" and with "Bulgaria's general repudiation of foreigners".
"That most of the refugees are Muslim is seen as irritating the Bulgarians all the more," DW claims, making a reference to the role of 500-year Ottoman rule in Bulgarians' national identity.
Arab Studies Professor Vladimir Chukov is quoted as saying that "Bulgaria ranks first among countries that asylum seekers should avoid" in an Arabic-language handbook used by migrants deciding where to seek asylum. "You can read that the Bulgarian people are overwhelmingly racist and that refugees are handled and kept in an inhumane way."
Many refugees "would agree" with this, the authors say, citing migrants interviewed by German-based human rights organization Pro Asyl whose accounts suggest many were either subject to violence or mistreatment by both Bulgarian authorities and "the Bulgarian people".
You can read DW's full text here.
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