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2-6 Human Rights: Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation




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This article is from the Bulgaria FAQ, by Dragomir R. Radev radev@tune.cs.columbia.edu with numerous contributions by others.

2-6 Human Rights: Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution provides for freedom of movement within the country and
the right to leave it, and these rights are not limited in practice,
with the exception of limited border zones off limits both to foreigners
and Bulgarians not resident therein. Every citizen has the right to
return to Bulgaria, may not be forcibly expatriated, and may not be
deprived of citizenship acquired by birth. A number of former political
emigrants were granted passports and returned to visit or live.

As provided under law, the Chief Prosecutor restricted foreign travel by
Lukanov (see Section 1.e.) and also by Ivan Slavkov, son-in-law of Todor
Zhivkov, due to outstanding investigations of them. Observers
criticized the lack of time limits on such inactive investigations and
questioned whether the travel restrictions were not being used
punitively.

The Government has provisions for granting asylum or refugee status in
accordance with the standards of the 1951 U.N. Convention and its 1967
Protocol relating to the status of refugees. Domestic and international
human rights organizations expressed concerns over the Government's
handling of asylum claims and reported that there may be cases in which
bona fide refugees are forced to return to countries where they fear
persecution. The Bureau for Territorial Asylum and Refugees asserts
that it gives a fair hearing to all persons seeking asylum or refugee
status but admits that there may be cases which do not come to its
attention before the applicant is returned to the country from which he
or she entered Bulgaria. The Bureau is still seeking to establish
registration and reception centers blocked in 1994 by skinheads and
local citizens groups and has identified some new sites for the centers.

 

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