Keywords: Roma in Bulgaria
Ladies and gentlemen,
Recently, in the Bulgarian society there has been a tendency for the discrimination of the non-Roma population of the Republic of Bulgaria, e.g. people are being treated in a different way, most often unfavorable and discriminatory, on the basis of their race, ethnicity, background and social status in favour of the Roma population.
Chapter 1 of The Bulgarian Constitution states that:
"§ 6 (1) All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
(2) All citizens are equal in front of the law. Limitations of their rights or privileges based on race, nationality, ethnicity, sex, origin, religion, education, beliefs, party affiliation, personal and social status or property status shall not be tolerated."
Today, in the Bulgarian society there are plenty of examples for the violation of the above quoted law. As such, we quote the following:
1. The case in the residential district Zaharna Fabrika, Sofia, where as a result of battery Prof. Stanimir Kaloyanov was killed and so far the perpetrators have not faced any responsibility for their actions due to their Roma origin, having in mind that the residents of the district know who these individuals are. The Bulgarian institutions refuse to guarantee a fair trial and security for the residents of the district in the future, and in the recurrent events, e.g. assaults and harassment. The authorities do not provide transparency of the results of the investigation. In a similar manner, the state and its institutions refuse to protect the train commuters in Bulgaria when individuals of Roma origin throw stones at the trains on a daily basis. The latter individuals do not face any sanctions and the police do not try to limit or terminate their actions, having in mind that they are recurrent. It is also common that individuals of Roma origin encroach upon agricultural property and, as a result, the owners of the property are left with nothing to live on. The perpetrators are rarely caught and even less frequently – punished. The examples above show that the law has been violated and this gives us reason to claim that the citizens of Bulgaria are not equal in front of the law.
2. The Bulgarian state provides free apartments to individuals of Roma origin and does not provide such to non-Roma citizens of Bulgaria. This is a violation of The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, which forbids privileges based on ethnicity.
3. The Bulgarian state provides all sorts of aid to individuals of Roma origin and does not provide such to non-Roma citizens of Bulgaria, having in mind that in both cases the individuals are extremely poor. This is a violation of The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, which forbids privileges based on ethnicity.
4. Unequal treatment of the rights of Bulgarian citizens on the basis of their origin by the following Bulgarian institutions: Elektrorazpredelenie EAD (the Electric Company), the public transport companies, the Police of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Court System, etc. A well-known fact from our everyday life is that when Bulgarians do not pay their bills to Elektrorazpredelenie EAD within deadline, the company immediately cuts their electricity, based on their non-Roma origin, and does not cut their electricity, based on their Roma origin, regardless of the fact that the Roma community have millions of leva debt to Elektrorazpredelenie EAD dating back 15 years and they do not even try to pay that debt on the ground of being unemployed and at the same time they often refuse jobs offered to them by the employment offices. This is a violation of The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, which forbids any privileges and inequalities based on ethnicity.
5. The citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria are not equal when they apply for universities, even though The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria explicitly forbids that. For example, article 22 paragraph 3 in the admission requirements book of the Technical University of Varna states that 5 places are reserved for the admission of students of Roma origin.
6. State institutions, organizations and media propagate ethnic hatred and aggression in Bulgaria by claiming that the Roma minority is being discriminated by the majority, having in mind that racial and ethnic discrimination and their propagation are indictable by the constitution. There is no adequate state policy towards the Roma minority and this instigates racism and hatred towards the Roma minority. The tacit toleration of the situation, which sometimes receives large publicity, creates a dangerous precedent in Bulgaria, where there has never been racism. On the contrary, our country has provided refuge for ethnically persecuted Armenians and has saved the Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust. And now, unconsidered acts are making us face a future ethnic conflict. The Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian institutions have to take urgent measures to prevent that, instead of instigating ethnic hatred. The inequality of the citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria is a result of the discriminatory policy of the Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian institutions against all Bulgarian citizens except the Roma. This is a violation of The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The undersigned plead for EQUALITY and NON-DISCRIMINATION. We insist that the Bulgarian authorities abide by the law quoted above and not violate the rights of the Bulgarians and of the non-Roma citizens of Bulgaria in favour of the Roma. We state that in case the authorities fail to abide by that law, we are ready to seek assistance from international organizations and courts, to organize protests and demonstrations and boycott Bulgaria and it institutions, goods and services and as an extreme measure we ourselves will make sure that The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria is not violated.
We state explicitly that the current petition is not bound to any political party and we do not wish that any political party recognizes it and uses it for its own purposes. The petitions is a result of the discontent of citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria who think that their rights have been violated. The text of the petition was composed by the following non-political members:
Veselina Ivanova Katsarova, translator
Desislava Dimitrova Stoeva, journalist
Valentin Georgiev Gurkov, associate professor at The National Sports Academy
Veselin Iliev Vasilev, accountant
Georgi Ognyanov Naumov, computer programmer
Ivanka Lukova Chervenkova, civil engineer
Roma Violence in Bulgaria - mirchev.blog.bg