Bulgaria: Submission to the UN Human Rights Council for Bulgaria’s Universal Periodic Review
Thursday, May 6, 2010 9:20 AM


Cheryl Thomas, Director                                Genoveva Tisheva, Executive Director

Women’s Human Rights Program                   Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation

The Advocates for Human Rights                    5 Evlogi Georgiev, Blv
650 Third Avenue South, Suite 1240                Sofia 1142, Bulgaria

Minneapolis, MN 55402 USA                          Tel./Fax: (02)-963-5357

Phone: (001)- 612-341-3302 ext. 102               Email: office@bgrf.org

Email: cthomas@advrights.org


Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation and The Advocates for Human Rights Make Joint Submission to the UN Human Rights Council for Bulgaria’s Universal Periodic Review

Minneapolis/Sofia (April 21, 2010) This November, Bulgaria will be reviewed for the first time by the UN Human Rights Council at the Ninth Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UN Human Rights Council will review all 192 UN Member States by 2011, and then each state periodically every four years after their initial examination. The review allows the UN the opportunity to examine Bulgaria’s compliance with its human rights obligations within the country. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can participate in the process by submitting information on the country’s human rights situation.

The Advocates for Human Rights and the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation have submitted a report on Bulgaria’s compliance with its human rights obligations in the context of domestic violence. The Advocates has worked in partnership with the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF) since 1994, publishing a human rights report on domestic violence in Bulgaria in 1996, training court monitors in 2004, consulting on drafting and passing the 2005 Law against Domestic Violence, and training police and judges on effective implementation of the new law. It is because of this longstanding partnership and commitment to women’s human rights that The Advocates and BGRF have made a joint submission to the Ninth Session of the Universal Periodic Review for Bulgaria.

The UPR submission describes the Bulgarian government’s measures taken to protect victims of domestic violence and punish perpetrators, as well as areas for improvement. The adoption of the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence (LPADV) and its subsequent amendments marked an important step in ensuring the right of victims to equal protection of the law. One cannot, however, change an attitude simply by changing the laws. Regular trainings of police, judges, prosecutors and social services are necessary to ensure effective implementation of the LPADV and protection of domestic violence victims. NGO trainings of police, as well as collaborations with and initiatives by the Ministry of the Interior, have facilitated a positive police response in protecting victims. While judicial implementation has revealed both positive and negative practices, new judicial rotations onto the bench indicate that trainings for new judges must be continued on a regular basis. The Directorate for Social Assistance’s use of the LPADV to protect victims and remove perpetrators from the home has been lacking, as the directorate relies on the Child Protection Act to protect children. Also, its history of removing children from a non-violent victim indicates a strong need for training on domestic violence. Finally, the Bulgarian Government must make a real commitment to funding the NGOs and advocates that conduct the monitoring and training on domestic violence. An annual line item allocation is commendable, but the funds disbursed must be of a realistic amount that will sustain their important work against domestic violence.  

To read the entire submission, please click here.