BHC's report on human rights in 2022 Bulgaria

During the political instability within the country and the tense international situation due to the war in Ukraine, the respect for human rights was not among the priorities of Bulgarian politicians and authorities. For the first time in many years, the number of decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on cases under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe increased. None of the groups of cases under European supervision were closed, and Bulgaria continued to fail to implement key decisions of the ECHR.

  • The closure of the specialized judiciary was the most significant event in the reform of the judicial system. The assessment of European partners was positive despite the claims of the Chief Prosecutor that it provided tranquility for the oligarchy. However, overall there was no serious success in reforming the judicial system. The Chief Prosecutor solidified his position as a media star, even allowing himself to speak before children in schools. Despite this, there were no results in the fight against corruption. 

  • The number of people without identity documents is dramatically increasing. As of July 15, 2022, there are 187,883 individuals in this situation. This represents an increase of nearly 60,000 people compared to March 2021. People without identity documents are marginalized and deprived of basic human rights.

  • Freedom of expression was used as a false pretext for promoting the aggressor's propaganda in the war against Ukraine by state officials and public media. Advocates of the opposing liberal-democratic viewpoint were systematically silenced by administrators of Bulgarian content on Facebook. 

  • A total of 149,000 Ukrainians sought international protection in our country and attempted to exercise their right to asylum. However, the caretaker government demonstrated inaction and sometimes openly opposed measures to support them. As a result, only 49,700 Ukrainians remained in our country.

    Other conclusions and facts regarding human rights in Bulgaria in 2022: 

  • There is no progress in the prevention of ill-treatment and in the material conditions in institutions for punishment, as noted in the report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

  • The results of a "face-to-face" survey by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) show that 32.6% of those detained by the police claim that violence was used against them during their detention or at the police station.

  • In the case of I. and Others v. Bulgaria, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the state failed to fulfill its obligation to protect the life of a young woman. She had been repeatedly threatened by her husband due to her intention to leave him, and the authorities did nothing to prevent the murder.

  • Nearly 80 institutions are either operating with expired mandates or with incomplete personnel. Among them are: the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), the Inspectorate of VSS, the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, the National Social Security Institute (NSSI), and others.

  • Between 20 and 25% of children in our country have both parents working abroad.

The full text of the report can be found here or by scanning this QR code: