Discrimination in Access to Public Services in Bulgaria

According to a February 28, 2002, press release by the Sofia-based non-governmental organisation Human Rights Project (HRP), in January and February 2002, HRP received many reports from all over Bulgaria of Roma being denied access to restaurants, bars and cafés. On January 26, 2002, for example, HRP received a complaint from the town of Samokov in south-western Bulgaria that Roma had been refused service in several bars and cafés. Subsequent HRP investigation revealed that in a bar called Perla near the bus station, Roma attempting to have lunch were informed by staff that the café would be closed for a lunch break. Later the same day, in a confectioners shop named Luchano, Roma were allegedly turned away at the door with the explanation that only people with membership cards could enter. Finally, HRP visited a bar called Nichi, which refused service to Roma under the pretext that all of the tables in the place had allegedly been reserved. HRP reported in their press release that, when asked by HRP representatives to explain such behaviour, staff members of the aforementioned bars and restaurants stated that their employers had ordered them not to allow Roma inside the establishments. HRP also reported receiving similar information from the towns of Shumen, Vidin and Peshtera. Based on its research, HRP reports that it appears the number of discrimination cases against Roma in Bulgaria has increased in the recent past. Additional information on discrimination and other human rights abuses against Roma in Bulgaria is available on the ERRC Internet website at: www.errc.org

(Human Rights Project)

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