US Department of State: Marginalization of Romani Minority Remains Bulgaria's Most Pressing Human Rights Problem
US Department of State:Marginalization of Romani Minority Remains Bulgaria's Most Pressing Human Rights Problem
Washington, April 14 (BTA) - The marginalization of and societal intolerance towards the Romani minority remained Bulgaria's most pressing human rights problem in 2015, according to the annual Human Rights Report released by the US Department of State on April 13.
The report says that continued deterioration of the media environment and increase in media's corporate and political dependence were also problematic in Bulgaria. Corruption continued to be a drag on the government's capabilities and undermined public and business confidence in the judiciary and other government institutions.
Another reported human rights problem was the unlawful killing of an Afghani migrant by a Bulgarian border police officer near the Bulgarian-Turkish border on October 15. The list also includes harsh conditions in prisons and detention facilities, police violence, and long delays in the judicial system.
There were reports of religious discrimination and harassment, the US Department of State says, mentioning anti-Muslim demonstrations. Other reported human rights problems in Bulgaria in 2015 included shortcomings in refugee integration processes and policies; election fraud; gender-based violence and discrimination against women; violence against children; increasing online anti-Semitism; trafficking in persons; discrimination against persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons; and social stigma against persons with HIV/AIDS. Child labor and discrimination against members of minorities in employment and occupation were also reported.
The Bulgarian government took steps to prosecute and punish officials in the security services and elsewhere who committed abuses, but their actions were insufficient, and impunity was a problem.
Observers characterized the Bulgarian parliamentary elections in October 2014 as complying "with the fundamental freedoms of expression, association, and assembly" but also noted pervasive allegations of vote buying and the use of racist, xenophobic, and inflammatory rhetoric throughout the election campaign. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces, the report says.