Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: The Protection of Human Rights in Bulgaria is Getting Worse
"In 2017, there has been a stagnation in the protection of human rights in Bulgaria, with some areas deteriorating: the authorities and the public sphere have been deaf for human rights and civil society has failed to raise concerns about major issues and this task stands on the agenda in 2018. " This is what the Chairman of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) Krasimir Kanev commented on the presentation of the annual report of the organization on the state of human rights in Bulgaria, Dnevnik daily quoted. Emphasis is placed on persecution of the Roma population, violence towards women and freedom of expression, with deterioration in the three spheres.
The state of the media, which has become an unfavorable environment for raising human rights issues, as well as the presence of nationalist organizations in government, are among the factors behind stagnation in most areas.
"The formation of the government of GERB and the United Patriots led to a general deterioration of the social climate related to human rights, interethnic and religious tolerance, and the possibilities for implementing any minority and refugee integration policy were very limited. By the end of 2017, a number of restrictive legislative amendments concerning human rights were proposed and adopted, some of which were subsequently abolished following international criticism. Incitement to Hate, Discrimination and Violence towards some of the vulnerable groups in Bulgarian society have continued to happen unpunished.
"The authorities' cooperation with non-governmental organizations, especially those for the protection of human rights, has worsened," the report said.
According to Kanev, the government has demonstrated total disregard for the worst and systematic manifestations of violence against women in our country and have not fulfilled one of the most important commitments - the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. The BHC notes that at the end of 2017, the issue of accepting the document has caused "one of the most irrational and destructive debates in Bulgarian society and human rights".
The BHC report that in 2017 there was a drastic deterioration of freedom of expression in Bulgaria. The year has been marked by unprecedented political pressure, threats and attacks on journalists, media have continued to play the role of instrument for manipulation and attacks.
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