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Civic Nation Unity in Deversity

Recommendations

Recommendations

  1. General recommendations for the accession to international agreements and conventions.

Bulgaria should ratify the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages, Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level and an Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, which criminalises the racist and xenophobic acts made through computer systems. This would be an important catalyst to align the seriously imperfect regarding minority rights internal legislation of the country with the international provisions. Given that the glorification of Nazi past has become commonplace in Bulgarian life (Lukov march, erection of monuments to the soldiers of Hitler’s bloc, desecration of antifascist and Soviet monuments), it seems appropriate to recommend Bulgaria to join the resolution directed against glorification of Nazism and certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which is annually adopted by the UN General Assembly.

    2. General recommendations for adjustments to the legal framework.

Bulgaria is recommended to adopt amendments to the Constitution and other legislative acts that regulate the use of minority languages, opportunities to study in native language, etc. It is also important to adopt the “framework” law on national minorities.

Furthermore, amendments should be made to the Criminal Code, which would make it possible to recognise racism and other manifestations of hate towards specific groups of the population as aggravating circumstances in the commission of crimes. It is also necessary to remove the legislative ban on public speeches in languages other than Bulgarian, as it violates the rights of ethnic minorities to participation in public and political life.

Discriminatory rulings of the Supreme Administrative Court from April 25 and June 1, which made legal protection from discrimination impossible, must be revised.

    3. General recommendations for the executive bodies in the field of law enforcement and human rights

Bulgaria should recognise the presence of Macedonian and Pomak ethnic minorities, and take steps towards the establishment of an education system in minority languages, including the Turkish minority. It is necessary to increase the efficiency of integration programmes for Roma and stop the practice of their eviction without providing alternative housing. Consideration should be given to the system of measures to eliminate discrimination of Roma population in medical and educational fields.

Given the rise of xenophobia in Bulgarian society, which is accompanied by the established facts of incitement of ethnic hatred and even extremist attacks against members of national minorities and antifascists, the government should demonstrate political will and start using the “dormant” anti-racist articles of the Criminal Code and the law enforcement must stop treating hate crime as common crime and stop its practice of not initiating criminal cases in this area.

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