Refugees Go on Hunger Strike at Bulgaria Detention Center
Scores of refugees, accommodated at the notorious Busmantsi detention facility near Sofia, have gone on hunger strike in protest against the slow procession of asylum applications.
The protesters, coming mainly from Morocco and Algeria, also complain of confined living space, strained relations with security guards and dilapidated equipment.
This is not the first time that refugees at Busmantsi rise up in protest. Previously they have threatened to take their protest a step further and turn the hunger strike into mutiny if their demands are not met.
Persons accommodated at Registration-and-Reception Centres of the State Agency for Refugees are free to come and go, which is not the case at the Lyubimets and Busmantsi detention centers, where persons pending deportation are also held.
Being a member of the EU but not of the Schengen area, Bulgaria is just a transit county for illegal immigrant.All asylum applicants in Bulgaria are poor and somewhat confused and the country is rarely their end goal.
Some 1000 persons apply for asylum each year, mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq, Armenia, Iran, and most recently, from Africa and Syria.
However, on average no more than 10% get political asylum, while the remaining ones may spend years roaming through the local red-tape labyrinths before they decide to head off to Western Europe, often again illegally.
The imperfections of the legal system (one asylum-seeker can file an indefinite number of applications), combined with the insufficient administrative capacity, enable the formation of a community of people without documents whose stay in the country has expired.
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