HRW Accuses Bulgaria of 'Pushbacks, Abuse at Borders'

Views on BG | January 20, 2016, Wednesday // 08:25
Bulgaria: HRW Accuses Bulgaria of 'Pushbacks, Abuse at Borders' File photo, BGNES

Bulgarian law enforcement officials are engaged in summary returns of asylum seekers to Turkey, "often after stealing their belongings and subjecting them to violence," Human Rights Watch says.

Migrants from several countries interviewed by the organization are quoted as saying that "the pushbacks to Turkey in 46 of the 59 cases involved abusive and violent behavior, including beatings with fists and batons, kicks, and dog bites."

"In all but one case, asylum seekers and migrants told Human Rights Watch that Bulgarian law enforcement officials thoroughly searched them and took their money, mobile phones, food, drinks, and other items."

Further on, the text also reads: "Interviewees described being bitten by police dogs or seeing others bitten; being beaten with truncheons and wooden branches; and in one case, beaten in the head with a gun butt. Some said that Bulgarian law enforcement officials fired into the air after spotting groups of asylum seekers and migrants."

It says the Interior Ministry has not yet responded to Human Rights Watch with regard to the claims.

Abuses are also reported at the Bulgaria-Serbia border, with asylum seekers and migrants interviewed reporting incidents that range from the stealing of their belongings to beatings or deprivation of water or food at police stations.

Some of the interviewed people also describe poor conditions "in at least two detention centers in Bulgaria: Busmantsi and Elhovo".

Read Human Rights Watch's text here.

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Tags: human rights watch, asylum seekers, migrants, border, pushbacks, Bulgaria, Serbia, turkey, detention centers
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