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Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission and Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to prepare reports on Bulgaria

Strasbourg, 29.11.2013 - A delegation of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and a delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities conducted a joint visit to Bulgaria from 10 to 15 November 2013 as the first step in the preparation of respective monitoring reports. During the visit, ECRIs delegation gathered information on legislation, hate speech, violence, integration policies, LGBT issues and other topics. The Advisory Committee delegation collected information on the implementation of the recommendations it had made to the authorities in its previous Opinions and discussed new issues that had emerged since.

The delegations held meetings in Sofia and Kardzhali with representatives of the government, parliament, independent bodies and other authorities, as well as international organisations, NGOs and members of vulnerable groups. The Advisory Committee visited a Roma settlement in the Sofia area.

Following this visit, ECRI will adopt a report to be published in 2014 in which it will make a fresh set of recommendations on measures to be taken by the authorities to address racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance in the country. Among these, two will be revisited in two years’ time as part of an interim follow-up procedure.

The Advisory Committee will adopt its third Opinion on Bulgaria in 2014. Following this, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will adopt a Resolution containing conclusions and recommendations addressed to Bulgaria on the implementation of the Framework Convention.

In its 2009 report, ECRI highlighted concerns about the very limited application of the Criminal Code provisions concerning racist crime; the lack of human and financial resources to implement programmes aimed at improving the situation of Roma; the continued practice of placing Roma children with no specific disability in special schools; and manifestations of intolerance and incitement to racial, ethnic or religious hatred in the press and on television as well as in political discourse.

In its 2010 Opinion, the Advisory Committee found that problems remained regarding: the personal scope of application of the Framework Convention; broadcasting in minority languages and the use of minority languages in public life; and co-operation with organisations representing national minorities. In addition, it observed discrimination and widespread prejudice against Roma and as yet unsatisfactory results of programmes aiming to improve their social inclusion.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as “race”, national/ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination); it prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States. For more information on ECRI: www.coe.int/ecri

The Advisory Committee is the independent expert committee responsible for evaluating the implementation of the Framework Convention in State Parties and advising the Committee of Ministers. The results of this evaluation consist in detailed country-specific opinions adopted following a monitoring procedure. This procedure involves the examination of State Reports and other sources of information as well as meetings on the spot with governmental interlocutors, national minority representatives and other relevant actors. For more information on the FCNM: www.coe.int/minorities

Link to ECRI’s fourth report on Bulgaria

Link to the Second ACFC Opinion on Bulgaria

ECRI Press contact: Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28, stefano.valenti@coe.int
FCNM Press contact: Sarah Burton, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 53 75, sarah.burton@coe.int

Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 39 11