Amnesty: UNHCR Shamed Bulgaria over Asylum-Seekers

Business | January 3, 2014, Friday // 20:42| Views: | Comments: 6
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Bulgaria: Amnesty: UNHCR Shamed Bulgaria over Asylum-Seekers Children hang out in the tent section of the refugee shelter in Bulgarian town of Harmanli. Photo by

Amnesty International has welcomed the position of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) calling on European Union (EU) member states to halt transfers of asylum-seekers back to Bulgaria until April 2014.

“The position taken by the UNHCR highlights the shameful treatment of asylum seekers in Bulgaria,” said Barbora Cernusakova, Amnesty International’s Bulgaria researcher.

“Asylum seekers in Bulgaria, including many fleeing from war-torn Syria, are being held in appalling conditions, sometimes for months on end. They lack access to food, sanitation or basic medical care. They are also at risk of arbitrary detention and face lengthy delays in registration and are routinely deprived of access to fair and effective asylum procedures.”

The UNHCR argues that due to systemic deficiencies in the reception conditions and asylum procedures, EU Member States should not return asylum-seekers to Bulgaria even if it is the first country of entry. Under the EU regulation the first country of entry is responsible for the determination of their status.

"The position of the UNHCR must be treated as a serious criticism of the failure of Bulgarian authorities to provide adequate access to food, shelter and healthcare for asylum-seekers. In the next three months the Bulgaria must take immediate steps to improve these deplorable conditions,”  said Barbora Cernusakova.

The Bulgarian authorities are failing their international obligations to take adequate measures to respond to the large number of people arriving at the borders of the country, Amnesty said.

According to government statistics 11 606 entered the country in 2013, Amnesty said.

As a result, hundreds of people in need of protection have ended up living for months in appalling conditions and without timely and unimpeded access to asylum procedure.

“The three-month period until next reassessment by the UNHCR is an opportunity for the Bulgarian authorities and the European Union, together with non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations – to work together to improve the reception conditions and asylum procedures," said Barbora Cernusakova.

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» To the forumComments (6)
VickyKat - 6 Jan 2014 // 01:49:30

Dear Mr. Hell, (nice name BDW)

In response to "this is no surprise considering the bulgarians cannot look after there own people most people in the country live beneath the poverty line"

And why is that?! Because of the Western counties! You guys are keep stealing directly and indirectly even now, so how come Bulgaria is poor? I wish you all the best!

sa-sha - 4 Jan 2014 // 14:20:20

.....;-) Hell right, Kin! Those Bulgarians! Three humble remarks only:
(1) not Bulgarians "takeing" ["as much money as posiable"] but "EUpeans giving", may be?
(2) not "sinse your were given membership" but "since you've been dragged into", eh?
(3) "why is it that bulgarians are now going to be traveling there..."---to catch crayfish in the Thames, sure ;-)
and, may be, to teach some 100% Brits-a bit too black, though-how to behave ;-) :

kin hell - 4 Jan 2014 // 13:09:23

only 10,000 is that all, most of europe have been takeing in refugees for the last 50 years plus , tell me what bulgaria has been doing for europe since 2007 outside takeing as much money as posiable to line there own pockets , and if germany france england and other eu countrys were so bad why is it that bulgarians are now going to be traveling there for work and have been sinse your were given membership ,

sa-sha - 4 Jan 2014 // 12:34:41

No surprise, sure, but ~10,000 refugees are already in Bulgaria, when ALL the rest EU states JOINTLY are prepared to resettle 12,000 (!)...... and only the most generous of them, Germany, has pledged to take the same 10,000, while the others..... France offered 500 places, Spain offered 30 and eighteen EU member states – including UK(?) and Italy – offered no places at all. No surprise, right?, since those "members", they merely "cannot look after there own peoples most peoples in their countries live beneath the poverty line", eh?

countryhick1 - 4 Jan 2014 // 12:02:16

Bulgarians should hang their heads in shame

kin hell - 4 Jan 2014 // 11:24:40

this is no surprise considering the bulgarians cannot look after there own people most people in the country live beneath the poverty line

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