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

 

UNHCR: More Than 300 Die In Boat Tragedies On Mediterranean

The past few days have been the deadliest this year for people making irregular crossings on the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe More>>

UN: Egyptian Crossing Used To Bring Food Aid To Gaza
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) successfully crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip today, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days More>>

ALSO:

Extended Cease Fire: Gaza Celebrates!!!!

Images and video from Gaza.Scoop - Julie Webb Pullman in Gaza. Gazans took to the streets tonight to celebrate their victory in achieving the end of hostilities and the lifting of the illegal seven-year siege. Whatever tomorrow may bring, tonight was a time to rejoice! More>>

ALSO:


Iraq: Killing Of Dozens Of Sunni Worshippers In Eastern Iraq

22 August 2014 – Condemning in the strongest terms the reported attack on a mosque in eastern Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all Iraqi authorities to ensure that the attack is properly investigated and its perpetrators held to account. More>>

ALSO:

  • UN Watch - UN Urgent Session on Iraq, Demands "Concrete Outcomes"
  • UNICEF: Honours Life, Tireless Work Of Richard Attenborough

    Film producer and director Sir Richard Attenborough was introduced as the new Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on 28 October 1987. UN Photo/Milton Grant More>>

    UN: Flight Restrictions Hamper Ability To Battle Ebola

    UNICEF and partners visit a crowded market in Conakry, Guinea, to explain to vendors how they can protect themselves and their families from Ebola. Photo: UNICEF Guinea More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news