Ambulance Refuses to Enter Romani Neighbourhood in Bulgaria
29 July 2004
On April 4, 2004, Ms Brigita Hristova of Novi Pazar testified to the ERRC that at around 11:00 PM on March 29, 2004, Mr Mitko Asenov, a Romani man from the Romani neighbourhood in the northeastern Bulgarian town of Novi Pazar, called an ambulance when his 3-year-old daughter Emiliya Mitkova fell seriously ill, but it did not arrive. After some time, Mr Asenov brought Emiliya, who was experiencing a high fe-ver and stomach pains, to the hospital in a car he borrowed from a neighbour's guest. According to Ms. Hristova, doctors at the hos-pital told Mr Asenov and his wife Zyulbie Asenova, that they might have lost Emiliya had they arrived later.Anumber of Roma with whom the ERRC spoke in Novi Pazar stated that ambulance operators refuse to service their neighbour-hood, even in cases of emergency.
Article 24(1) of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Bulgaria in 1991, states, "States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoy-ment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and re-habilitation of health. States Par-ties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care serv-ices." Article 10(2) of the Bulgar-ian Act on the Protection of the Child prohibits limitations on the right to protection based on, inter alia, race, nationality and ethnic origin. (ERRC)