The political party VMRO-BND engages in discrimination, ruled the Commission for Protection against Discrimination (CPD)

The Commission for Protection against Discrimination (CPD) imposed a fine of 1000 LV and a mandatory instruction on the Political party "VMRO-Bulgarian National Movement" (VMRO-BND) not to allow publications that promote prejudice against specific ethnic communities.

The complaint before the commission was filed by Liliya Kovacheva through her lawyer Diana Dragieva from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC).

As a Bulgarian citizen of Roma origin, Kovacheva felt discriminated against due to the content on the official website of VMRO-BND. In the section titled "The Gypsy Question," there are hundreds of publications that promote criminal tendencies and criminal behavior among all Roma. The articles abound with hate speech, instilling a sense of opposition between Bulgarians and Roma. Manipulatively, the publications present the existence of crime attributed to ethnic origin and the toleration of this type of crime by the state. There are numerous examples of direct calls for violence against the Roma.

Here are just a few headlines and quotes illustrating the unequivocal nature of the publications on the website: "No Weapons, No Success," "A Scientist Calculated – We Spend 4 Billion on Fertile Gypsies," "Gypsy Domestic Crime Can and Will Be Crushed Only with an Iron Fist," "These Animals Should Be Slaughtered on the Spot!" The texts unmistakably claim that there is "unpunished Gypsy crime" and "Gypsy terror," that Roma "kill you like a dog" and then are "arrested, interrogated, and silently released," and more. The content has been accumulating for many years, and the majority of the authors are former and current political figures of the party, including Angel Dzhambazki, Iskren Veselinov, Yulian Angelov, Carlos Contrera, Boyan Chukov, Kostadin Kostadinov, as well as journalists like Kalina Androlova.

In its motives, CPD points out that presenting ethnic affiliation in a generalized manner constitutes discrimination prohibited by law. The arguments of VMRO-BND for freedom of speech and freedom of expression are rejected since the publications on the website violate human rights. CPD clearly states that invoking freedom of speech cannot be applied when there is hate speech, and democratic principles are violated.

The full text of the decision can be found here.