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European Court of Human Rights Finds Bulgarian Government Violated Human Rights

29 July 2004

On March 11, 2004, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found the Bulgarian Govern-ment in violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the case of G.B. v. Bulgaria. G.B. is a Bulgarian national of Romani origin. On December 8, 1989, he was convicted for murder and sentenced to death. His sentence was upheld on appeal on July 28, 1990. Following a maratorium on executions introduced by Bulgarian parliament in July 1990, on December 10, 1998, the death penalty was abolished. The applicant's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

G.B. complained about his detention in Sofia Prison, where he was alone in his cell for almost 23 hours a day. He was not allowed to join other categories of prisoners and his food was served in his cell. He was allowed only two visits a month and human contact was severely limited. G.B. stated that he was a victim of the "death row phenomenon", where he faced fear of a possible resumption of executions. Furthermore, the applicant alleged that his detention amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Articles 3 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In its judgement of March 11, 2004, the Court noted that there was medical evidence that G.B. suffered from psychological problems. The Court also observed that the applicant was subjected to a special regime in Sofia Prison which was very stringent and involved scarce human contact, and that though this itself is not inhuman treatment or punishment, that all forms of solitary confinement without appropriate contact are likely to have detrimental effect on the prisoner's social and mental abilities and faculties. The Court deemed that G.B. faced strict custodial regime, which caused him suffering above and beyond the unavoidable level inherent to deprivation of liberty. The Court ruling made it clear that fundamental human rights and freedoms belong to everyone, including individuals convicted for some of the most serious crimes, such as murder. (ERRC)

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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