Bulgarian Roma Protest after Substandard Living Conditions Lead to Burning of Romani Girl

10 May 2003

On December 19, 2002, the Bulgarian national daily newspaper Trud reported that Roma from the Nadezhda settlement in Sliven, central Bulgaria, protested against recent cuts of electricity in the settlement. According to ERRC field research conducted during December 2002, electrical supplies had recently been cut to Romani settlements throughout Bulgaria for several hours at a time, every four or five hours. The measure had reportedly been undertaken by the National Electrical Company because of payment arrears by the Romani inhabitants. According to Trud, the protest was sparked by an incident involving a 10-year-old Romani girl, who was accidentally burned when her clothes caught on fire from a wood stove that was being used for heating in the absence of electricity. The girl's injuries were made worse by the fact that, because there had been no running water in the settlement for eight months, there was no available water to put the fire out immediately. According to ERRC research, the girl suffered 3rd degree burns to her body.

(ERRC, Trud)


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