Agenda Item 6: Universal Periodic Review
Adoption of reports by the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of - Bulgaria A/HRC/46/13, A/HRC/46/13/Add.1.
Statement by: International Organization for All Forms Of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
Delivered by: Nora Futtner / GICJ
17 March 2021
Thank you, President.
We want to thank Bulgaria for its participation in the Universal Periodic Review and its commitment to addressing human rights concerns. In this regard, we would like to draw attention to the ongoing discrimination and prejudice against Roma people that exists in Bulgarian society, which was emphasized by many countries in their recommendations. This has become especially apparent in the face of the human rights violations inflicted on the Roma population in Bulgaria during COVID-19.
In March of 2020, the government locked down seven Roma neighborhoods, physically barring residents from leaving with fences and military personnel. Roma neighborhoods in Bulgaria often do not have their own pharmacies or supermarkets, so the forced isolation meant that many were unable to access fundamental necessities.
We note that Bulgaria made a voluntary pledge to the Human Rights Council to strengthen ethnic and religious tolerance. Bulgaria should stand by this pledge by supporting Roma communities, instead of taking discriminatory actions against them.
Additionally, we are very concerned about the issue of domestic violence in Bulgaria, which was raised by dozens of states during the UPR process. We welcome Bulgaria’s recent efforts on combatting this issue and adopting measures in-line with the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe.
However, despite these measures, domestic violence remains a life-threatening issue for Bulgarian women. In the first three months of the pandemic, it was reported that eight women were killed by their partners. It is concerning that the true scope of the issue is unknown as Bulgaria currently has one of the lowest reporting rates of violence against women in the European Union.
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice call on the Council to urge Bulgaria to stay vigilant about this issue and ensure that all existing protection and support mechanisms for women are effectively implemented. Bulgaria should also immediately take steps to ratify the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.
Justice, Human rights, Geneva, geneva4justice, GICJ, Geneva International Centre For Justice