World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


In Bulgaria, Living Conditions For Asylum-Seekers Improves

In Bulgaria, Living Conditions For Asylum-Seekers Improves, But Gaps Remain - Un Agency

New York, Apr 15 2014 3:00PM

The United Nations refugee agency <"http://www.unhcr.org/534cfae69.html">applauded today the “significant efforts” made recently by the Bulgarian authorities and their partners to improve living conditions for asylum seekers in the country.

While planning to lift its January call to temporarily suspend the transfer of refugees from European countries back to Bulgaria (under the Dublin Regulation), the UN Office of the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) stresses that “serious gaps” in the system remain, and warns against transferring individuals or groups considered most vulnerable.

In the past three months, UNHCR noted improved conditions particularly in the Harmanli centre, a former military base near the Turkish border where refugees were living in tents just four months ago.

“Today, asylum-seekers living in the centres receive daily hot meals, are accommodated in renovated buildings or accommodation in the process of being renovated, with heating, and have access to health care,” said UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming at a press briefing in Geneva, adding that “with more staff, all asylum-seekers have been registered and progress is being made on asylum decisions.”

However, the UN agency says that accommodation and sanitary conditions in two Sofia centres, Vrazdebhna and Voenna Rampa, remain insufficient. “UNHCR is also concerned about the lack of identification, referral and support to individuals with specific needs; the barriers children face in accessing formal education; and the lack of a sustainable integration programme,” said Ms. Fleming.

Reiterating concerns expressed in January, the UN agency warned against measures implemented since Novembre 2013 by the Bulgarian authorities to restrict access to the territory along the Turkish border. “These have resulted in a marked decrease in the number of arrivals since December 2013, and could be preventing people in need of international protection from entering and requesting asylum in Bulgaria,” stressed Ms. Fleming.

According to UNHCR, an increasing number of individuals have allegedly been forcibly expelled from Bulgarian territory without being able to apply for asylum, which has resulted in family separations in some cases. UNHCR has received several reports of these alleged "push-backs" from Bulgaria concerning nationals of Syria, Afghanistan and Sudan, as well as Palestinians from Syria.

In 2013, 7,144 people sought asylum in Bulgaria, a sharp increase from an annual average of 1,000 asylum-seekers in the past decade. The recent influx, mostly due to the Syrian conflict, has put significant pressure on an ill-prepared system. Currently Bulgaria is hosting some 5,500 asylum-seekers. About 63 per cent are from Syria, with approximately 2,000 people from Afghanistan.

“UNHCR remains committed to working closely with the Bulgarian authorities, and other partners to address existing gaps and to continue the consolidation of the progress achieved,” said Ms. Fleming.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gaza.Scoop: Another Israeli Attack On A Hospital

Israeli tanks attacked Al Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah, killing five patients and doctors, and injuring more than 70. More>>

ALSO:

MH17: Black Boxes Recovered by Malaysian Government

'Following the agreement Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders, Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH17's black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis. More>>

ALSO:


Gaza Update On 15th Day Of The Israeli Offensive

Dozens of Palestinian Civilians Killed or Wounded as Israeli Forces Attack Apartment Buildings, Mosques, Hospitals and Schools; White Phosphorous Bombs and Flechette Shells Fired by Israeli Forces in Border Areas... More>>

Al Jazeera: Egypt Verdict Defies Logic And Any Semblance Of Justice

Following today’s verdict in Cairo, Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said: “Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. More>>

Papua New Guinea: Indonesian Troops Fire On PNG Soldiers Along Border

Indonesian troops have opened fire on a PNG Defence Force border patrol, increasing further tension at the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border. The flare-up at the border compelled the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration to summon the Indonesian ... More>>

World News: Internet Well On Way To 3 Billion Users - UN Telecom Agency

Releasing new statistics today, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced that by end 2014, there will be nearly three billion Internet users – two-thirds of them from the developing world – with mobile-broadband ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news