News 2010

Back Bulgaria: Commissioner Hammarberg calls for more respect of minority rights

Strasbourg, 04/11/2010 - Letter - The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, published today a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, on human rights of national and religious minorities.

Commissioner Hammarberg highlights the need for the Bulgarian authorities to improve the living conditions of Roma and invites them to assess the effectiveness of Roma-related action plans on a regular basis. The Commissioner also requests information on the current living conditions of the Roma community that he visited in the Republika district of Sofia in November 2009.

Referring to the repeated refusal to register the results of elections during National Muslim Conferences, as well as the decision of the Supreme Court of Cassation of last May to remove the Chief Mufti who had been elected during these Conferences, the Commissioner stresses the need to guarantee the right to freedom of religion to all minorities.

Moreover, Commissioner Hammarberg urges the Bulgarian authorities to ensure that the rights and freedoms of the Macedonian minority are fully and effectively respected, in particular freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

Finally, the Commissioner recalls that "free self-identification with a minority is a major principle in which democratic pluralistic societies should be grounded and should be effectively applied to all minority groups, be they national, religious or linguistic.";

Read the letter to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria
Read the Prime Minister's reply