Asylum seekers should not be sent back to Bulgaria in light of new evidence of severe ill-treatment of Syrians

New statements of Syrian asylum seekers obtained by PRO ASYL document their severe degrading and inhuman treatment while in Bulgaria. This new evidence has prompted PRO ASYL to call on Germany not to send any asylum seekers to Bulgaria under the Dublin Regulation.

The reports show that Syrian families are detained for several days in cold cells without access to food or water. People in refugee camps complain of food shortages, poor hygiene, police violence and corruption, and overcrowding. According to the statements, the lack of adequate medical care has in some cases resulted in the death of asylum seekers and incidents of racist attacks go un-challenged by Bulgarian police.

Mrs H. K., one of the asylum seekers said ‘I wish I’d died in Syria instead of landed in Bulgaria’. One family told that they were detained for three days with three other families – 20 people in total – in a barred cell in a temperature of less than 10 degrees. They all had to sleep on a bare concrete floor with no blankets even for the children.

The German government is currently preparing a high number of deportations to Bulgaria. In the first quarter of 2014, the German government has asked Bulgaria to accept responsibility for 629 asylum seekers under the Dublin Regulation. Since the beginning of 2014, more than 2,500 asylum seekers have left Bulgaria for elsewhere in the EU.

In April 2014, ECRE and Amnesty International both reiterated their call for all Member States to not send asylum seekers to Bulgaria under the Dublin Regulation.

For further information

Bulgaria: Brutal Push Backs at the Turkish border, 25 April 2014

ECRE Weekly Bulletin, Bulgaria in violently pushing back migrants to Turkey – Human Rights Watch documents over 40 incidents of push backs involving 500 people, 30 April 2014

ECRE Weekly Bulletin, Interview: Iliana Savova, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: “The Bulgarian Government chose not to react against the possible arrival of Syrian refugees”, 11 April 2014

Video: Mohamad in Bulgaria – #HelpSyriasRefugees, March 2014

 Bulgaria: Brutal Push Backs at the Turkish border (25.04.14)