Bulgaria

  • Jun 24, 2014
    When Human Rights Watch first saw Yemi, the 17-year-old boy was huddled on a concrete bench in the corner of a windowless, graffitied holding cell run by the French border police. Clad in a stiff new leather jacket but otherwise without clothing warm enough to face Paris in January, Yemi had been in the cell for nine hours.
  • May 15, 2014
    My twitter feed on Monday was full of the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean. At least 17 people died when an overcrowded boat sank on the crossing from Libya to Italy, with many more still unaccounted for. We don’t know their names or their stories. They join the grim toll of perhaps 20,000 people over the last decade whose lives have ended trying to reach Europe for protection or a better life.
  • Apr 29, 2014
    Bulgaria has embarked on a “Containment Plan” to reduce the number of asylum seekers in the country, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The plan has been carried out in part by summarily pushing back Syrians, Afghans, and others as they irregularly cross the border from Turkey.
  • Apr 16, 2014

    Last year, the Bulgarian government felt the sting of criticism from Brussels, Geneva and other quarters for mishandling an influx of mostly Syrian refugees. Many were confined in cold, filthy camps without government-provided food, medical care or minimally adequate shelter. The problem got so bad that the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR called on European Union member states not to send asylum seekers back to Bulgaria, as they are generally allowed to do under the Dublin Regulation. It says that the EU country an asylum seeker first enters is usually responsible for examining the person’s claim.

  • Jan 7, 2014
  • Nov 4, 2013
    When I was growing up in Greece, my grandparents often told me that if I didn’t eat my food, they would call the Gypsies to take me away. Sadly, the old myths about Roma snatching babies were revived after police took a little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl named Maria into custody in a Roma settlement in Farsala, central Greece, on October 16.
  • Jul 25, 2013
    The Bulgarian government should open an investigation into police action during the violent clashes on the evening of July 23, 2013 outside the Bulgarian parliament that left 17 people injured.
  • Feb 14, 2013
    An Afghan migrant is stabbed in the heart on the streets of Athens. Black-shirted paramilitaries linked to Hungary’s third-largest political party march through a Roma neighborhood shouting, “You will die here.” A neo-Nazi gang commits a string of murders of Turkish immigrants in Germany. An ideologue driven by hatred of “multiculturalism” kills 67 mostly young people on a Norwegian Island.
  • Jan 31, 2013
    National and European Union (EU) leaders failed to address serious human rights concerns in the region amid economic and political crisis in 2012, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2013. Human Rights Watch documented human rights concerns in the EU, highlighting events in 10 member states and EU-level developments in migration and asylum, discrimination and intolerance, and counterterrorism policy.
  • Jun 28, 2012
    Two years ago, I was asked to speak at the opening of the first Baltic Pride Parade in Vilnius, Lithuania. It was a chilling experience. When I arrived in that European Union member state, the organisers greeted me with disappointment. A court had issued an order banning the parade, which was to be a proud celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Members of parliament had also written an open letter claiming that a Pride Parade would be harmful to children and an affront to Lithuania's moral standards. Fortunately, the Vilnius appeals court decided otherwise - upholding the supremacy of the rights to freedom of assembly and expression over prejudice.