Dear ladies and gentleman,

The Foundation for Access to Rights – FAR cordially invites you to a press conference that will present the findings from a field research on stateless persons and their administrative detention in Bulgaria, published in the report “Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention”. The research was conducted in collaboration with the European Network on Statelessness (ENS), of which FAR is a member.

Report Bulgaria

While arbitrary detention is a significant area of concern in general, the unique characteristics associated with stateless persons and those at risk of statelessness make them more likely to be detained arbitrarily, for unduly lengthy periods of time.

In this regard, Mr. Chris Nash, director of the European Network on Statelessness, states: „Failure by governments to put in place effective systems to identify stateless persons leaves some of the most vulnerable individuals in society exposed to repeated and lengthy detention. This report shows how individuals, despite their cooperation with authorities, fall between the cracks, finding themselves denied either the opportunity to return ‘home’, because no country will recognise them, or to re-build their lives in Bulgaria. In order to prevent arbitrary and protracted detention, it is critical that the Bulgarian authorities systematically identify whether a person is stateless before making a decision to detain, and linked to this, that officials make a realistic assessment about the prospects of removal. In practice, this requires Bulgaria to have in place a dedicated statelessness determination procedure, crucially one which is accessible to everyone on the territory – including to detainees and others without lawful residence..“

In 2012 Bulgaria acceded to the 1954 and 1961 Conventions on Statelessness. On 15 June 2016 the Bulgarian Parliament adopted at first reading a draft Law Amending and Supplementing the Law on Foreign Nationals in the Republic of Bulgaria, which for the first time introduces a statelessness determination procedure.

The press conference will be held on 18 November 2016, Friday, from 10:00 a.m, at  BTA National Press Club, boulevard “Tsarigradsko shose” 49. Dr. Valeria Ilareva, senior lawyer at FAR and head researcher of the study in Bulgaria, will lead the press conference.

For contacts: Denitsa Georgieva, Foundation for Access to Rights – FAR, tel.: 028793280, 0882068815; e-mail: office@farbg.eu

For English speaking journalists: please call ENS Head of Communications Jan Brulc on +44 7522 525673 or email jan.brulc@statelessness.eu

You are welcome!

Invitation to a Press Conference on Stateless Persons in Bulgaria