Roma in the case-law under the Protection against Discrimination Act

    Borislav Dimitrov (Penkov) and Radoslav Stoyanov

The present text is an analysis of the case-law under the Bulgarian Protection against Discrimination Act (PADA) of all courts hearing cases under that law, as well as the Commission for Protection against Discrimination for the period between the coming into force of the Act in 2004 until the end of 2017. The study focuses on cases of discrimination based on two of the protected characteristics under PADA: ethnicity and race.

The analysis was drafted within the Project Roma Empowerment for Anti-Discrimination and Integration: Regional Capacity-Building in Equality Mechanisms and Promotion of Good Practices in Roma Integration — READI. The aim of the Project is to enhance the possibilities of the Roma in Bulgaria to fight against manifestations of discrimination through knowledge and effective use of the anti-discrimination legislation of Bulgaria and the EU. Precisely due to that specific orientation of the Project, the review of the case-law under PADA and the present analysis of that review focus on cases claimed to involve discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity/race, and more specifically those of them in which the proceedings were initiated by Roma or that relate to Roma.

The analysis includes both the cases examined by the specialised equality body – the Commission for Protection against Discrimination (CPD) – and by all courts trying cases under PADA. The study does not cover indemnity cases under the Obligations and Contracts Act (OCA) after CPD ruling. The authors reviewed a total of 1,988 cases.

The analysis concludes that for the fourteen years during which the Bulgarian equality law has been effective, the law suffers from scarce good practices on the grounds of "race" and "ethnicity". Good examples exist for a number of the provisions of the law, but they do not appear to be widely accepted and reproduced over the years.