On Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Hussein criticized Bulgaria for its approach to the migrant issue, stressing that criminalizing migrants for entering and leaving Bulgaria irregularly is against international law and that jailing migrants is not a solution.
"Our legislation has been amended many times as a result of the requirements of the law of the European Union. Nevertheless, there is a need for further improvement, e.g. with respect to detention — current framework is too restrictive; with respect of introducing guarantees against arbitrariness in cases of administrative detention; with respect to fair trial in criminal proceedings of migrants — with introduction of effective legal defense and proper translation; with respect to guardianship of minors — currently we don't have a possibility for a short-term guardianship of minors who enter the country as migrants," Kanev said.
"We would have him elaborate in more detail about the allegations of physical abuse and theft by law enforcement officials at borders. We have similar concerns and this is an issue which merits more elaboration as it is related to serious crimes committed by government agents," Kanev said.
The chairman noted that the level of xenophobic hate speech in Bulgaria is higher than the average in the rest of Europe.
"The level of xenophobic hate speech in Bulgaria is much higher compared to other European countries. The situation with islamophobia is less serious but it is worsening," he said.
Along with other European countries, the Balkan nation is struggling to handle the massive refugee crisis as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee war and poverty in conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa.