Bulgaria: protest mass arrests of migrants

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein in a statement released Aug. 11 expressed concern over Bulgaria's criminalization of migrants leaving and entering the country. Zeid stated Bulgaria's practice of arresting migrants for both entering and leaving Bulgaria irregularly "places many of them in an invidious Catch-22 situation" and calls into question the country's compliance with international law. While Zeid stated he was pleased with the positive steps the country has taken in integrating international asylum standards, he is upset with the country's practice of arresting migrants who do not fall within the category of refugee, despite having "legitimate reasons for being unable to return to their home country." The high commissioner was particularly displeased with the "disregard for due process and fair trial guarantees." Finally, Zeid stated that he was worried the current detention regime will continue to expand, and called for leadership to respect the human rights of migrants and guard against intolerance.

From Jurist, Aug. 12. Used with permission.

  1. Xenophobes ascendant in Bulgaria

    More than 400 asylum seekers were arrested following a "riot" at a camp for Afghan refugees at the Bulgarian town of Harmanli, near the Turkish border, last week. The uprising was apparently sparked when authorities sealed off the camp, citing a supposed threat of infectious disease. Since then, authorities have been similarly appealing to popular fears, saying one of those arrested was a member of a militant group. Neither the detained man nor the supposed group were actually named. (EuroNews, Nov. 25)

    This comes just as former air force commander and political novice Rumen Radev won a surprise victory in the race for prime minister. He was backed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, is said to be close to Putin, and is portrayed as a left-populist—but BBC informs us he "reached out to nationalists by opposing the EU's resettlement policy for refugees."

    And this comes just as the political right is mounting anti-refugee protests, BalkanInsight reports. Further evidence of the blurring of the lines of left and right in the current paroxysm of xenophobic populism. across both Europe and America…