Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Thursday, 7 May 2015 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Bulgaria
Represented by 13-member delegation headed by Ms. Katia Todorova, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Bulgaria page on UPR website

Troika *

Côte d'Ivoire, Ireland, Pakistan

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Bulgaria page on UPR Extranet **)

  • In 2013 a National Coordination Mechanism on Human Rights was established with the aim to improve coordination among public authorities involved in the implementation of Bulgaria’s obligations and commitments in human rights;
  • In 2011, the Commission for the Protection against Discrimination and the Ombudsman were accredited with "B" Status as national human rights institution;
  • The Ombudsman was now acting as the National Preventive Mechanism, in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture;
  • In 2015, an Updated Strategy for the continuing reform of the judiciary was adopted by the Parliament, aiming, within the next 7 years, to modernize the judiciary  and achieve guarantees of independence of the Court;
  • Bulgaria has recently been under increasing pressure of mixed migration and asylum flows. A National Strategy for Individuals Granted International Protection in Bulgaria was adopted in 2014;
  • Bulgaria has achieved significant progress in enhancing the national capacity for the promotion and protection of human rights. The general situation had substantially improved, but certain areas required further efforts;
  • Access to the right of asylum was fully granted through the Asylum and Refugees Act, in line with international standards and EU legislation;
  • Regarding hate crime, hate speech, intolerance and xenophobia, Bulgaria had an adequate, solid framework for combating all cases. Racist motivation was considered by the Court as aggravating circumstance in criminal offences;
  • Prison authorities had stepped up efforts to provide better conditions in prisons and detention centres;
  • An independent anti-corruption body was created through the new Anti-corruption Strategy adopted in 2015;
  • Concerning human trafficking, the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Being planned to re-open the two state shelters for victims and to establish a new service of transition homes;
  • A National Roma Integration Strategy 2012 – 2012 had been developed which puts education and the integration of children of Roma origin in the general education system as a first priority area.

Participants

In total 75States participated in the dialogue:  27 HRC members and 48 observers  (Statements available on Bulgaria page on UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Steps taken to improve the situation of the Roma community;
  • The ratification of the OPCAT and the CRPD;
  • The publication of the draft Gender Equality Bill of 2014;
  • The adoption of the amendment of the Protection against Discrimination Act;
  • Measures taken to combat human trafficking;
  • The establishment of the National Coordination Mechanism on Human Rights.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Promoting and protection the rights of the Roma and the Roma Integration Strategy 2012-2020;
  • The rights of children and the juvenile justice system;
  • Steps to combat domestic violence and violence against women;
  • Measures to uphold freedom of expression and of the media;
  • Actions to prevent hate crimes and hate speech and to protect victims; 
  • The State’s policy on asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Bulgaria.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To ensure the effective implementation of and adequate funding for the Roma Integration Strategy 2012-2020; To promote the full access of Roma children to education at all levels; To continue efforts in combatting poverty experienced by the Roma and other vulnerable groups;
  • To improve the situation of children living in institutions; To establish a children’s ombudsman to safeguard, promote and protect the rights of children and young peoples; 
  • To develop a policy to prevent a separation of children from parents; To provide unaccompanied children with appropriate legal guardians and to ensure their basic needs were met;
  • To increase efforts to prevent and combat domestic violence and violence against women and prosecute perpetrators; To ensure victims of domestic violence had access to shelters and other services; 
  • To ensure children were not detained with adults in detention centres; to reform the juvenile justice system; 
  • To take further measures to combat ill-treatment of prisoners and detainees by the police; To ensure that all detainees were treated in a humane and dignified manner;
  • To take additional measures to address the discrimination and exclusion of minorities;
  • To take additional steps to prevent hate crimes and to protect victims;  To take more measures to investigate and prosecute hate speech and violence, including against LGBT persons;
  • To take all necessary measures to promote and protect freedom of association and of expression; To decriminalise defamation and prevent retaliation against journalists;
  • To adopt the draft Law on Asylum and Refugees; to promote a positive image of and tolerance for asylum seekers and refugees;
  • To accelerate the judicial reform and enhance the fight against corruption; To take steps to establish a national human rights institution with A-status;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the OP to the CESCR; the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute of the ICC; the Convention on enforced disappearances; the Convention on the rights of migrant workers and members of their families; the 3rd OP to the CRC (communications); the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence; and ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers.  

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Bulgaria is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 12 May 2015

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

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Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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