Newsweek: Iron Curtain Back in Bulgaria, Migrants Face Brutality

Views on BG | April 19, 2015, Sunday // 12:12
Bulgaria: Newsweek: Iron Curtain Back in Bulgaria, Migrants Face Brutality Photo by EPA/BGNES

"The Iron Curtain is back... It stretches along part of the Bulgarian and Greek frontiers with Turkey," an article published by Newsweek argues.

Titled "Migrants Face Brutality As Bulgaria Recreates the Iron Curtain", it says "the new fortress Europe aims to keep out refugees fleeing the carnage in Syria and Iraq" and gives examples of what it calls "brutal results" of containment policies.

Focused on examples of incidents at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, the text also claims that, even though Bulgaria's "containment plan" to curb the flow of refugees is working (with 6000 people having crossed illegally into Bulgaria in 2014, up from 11 500 the previous year," it "exacts a human cost".

The widely condemned "pushback" policy, which consists of refusing asylum seekers entry and forcing their return to the country from which they tried to enter Bulgaria, is also discussed. Sofia is arguing border guards are not engaged in such activity anymore, but the article cites "evidence" by Human Rights Watch indicating "the policy is still in operation."  

Newsweek cites reports by human rights organizations on Bulgaria and Greece which contain testimony of "refugees" (though they were actually asylum seekers at the time of the alleged incidents) who were hit by Bulgarian border guards and were pushed back to Turkey while trying to enter the country. These claims have been systematically rejected by authorities in Sofia.

Human Rights Watch's reports, also cited in the article, suggest there have been three separate incidents involving forced return of asylum seekers from Bulgaria to Syria "involving at least 43 people".

The article itself is available here.

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Tags: Bulgaria, greece, turkey, asylum seekers, border, Newsweek, pushback, Syria

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