On 22 November Foundation for Access to Rights and the the European Network on Statelessness published the report “Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention in Bulgaria”. It highlights the gaps and raises awareness about the extent of detention and its impact on stateless persons in Bulgaria.
The report shows how individuals, despite their cooperation with authorities, fall between the cracks, finding themselves denied either the opportunity to return ‘home’, because no country will recognise them, or to re-build their lives in Bulgaria.
Chris Nash, director of the European Network on Statelessness, said:
"Failure by governments to put in place effective systems to identify stateless persons leaves some of the most vulnerable individuals in society exposed to repeated and lengthy detention. This report shows how individuals, despite their cooperation with authorities, fall between the cracks, finding themselves denied either the opportunity to return ‘home’, because no country will recognise them, or to re-build their lives in Bulgaria. In order to prevent arbitrary and protracted detention, it is critical that the Bulgarian authorities systematically identify whether a person is stateless before making a decision to detain, and linked to this, that officials make a realistic assessment about the prospects of removal. In practice, this requires Bulgaria to have in place a dedicated statelessness determination procedure, crucially one which is accessible to everyone on the territory – including to detainees and others without lawful residence."
On 17 November 2016 FAR and ENS carried out a seminar, dedicated on the recognition of status of a stateless person and protection against arbitrary detention. You can download the seminar presentation by Dr. Valeria Ilareva.
On 2 December 2016 the Bulgarian parliament adopted at a final second reading the introduction of a statelessness determination procedure in national law. Here is the link to the State Gazette of 6 December 2016, in which the adopted legal provisions have been published.
In the Media
Following a press conference held by FAR on the 18 November the report findings were featured in several Bulgarian media outlets.
- Interview of Streetwatch with Dr. Valeria Ilareva: “People in nowhere“ (in Bulgarian)
- Marginalia, Study results: Bulgarian “assigns” citizenship to stateless persons (in Bulgarian)
- Darik radio, Why stateless persons in our country live in a vicious circle? (in Bulgarian)
- Bulgarian National Radio, Valeria Ilareva: Stateless persons are in a legal vacuum (in Bulgarian)
- Article by Dr.Valeria Ilareva at the ENS blog: “Counting down the days in detention: the situation of stateless persons in Bulgaria“