New hunger strike, push-backs and death in the border region

According to information received from asylum seekers, there has been a hunger strike in the detention facility in Lyubimets for the last few days. Nearly 100 people, including women and children, have taken part in the protest action. The reasons behind the strike, according to this information, lie in the bad living and sanitary conditions in the camp, where the toilets are unbearably filthy. People want to leave the camp. Hammad [1] a participant in the strike, said: „Please tell the media that we don’t want to claim asylum here, because Bulgaria is a very poor country.“ On 18th September the strikers stopped the protest, because the authorities promised that the conditions will improve. „If things won’t get better, then we will continue“, Hammad added. At the moment there are about 400 people detained in Lyubimets.

Meanwhile push-backs at the Bulgarian-Turkish border continue. Human Rights Watch reported several incidents in August and September 2014. On 17th September, Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (BMB) was informed of another push back that happened the same day. According to information, received by a family member of the syrian asylum seekers who attempted to come into Bulgaria, the two families with children had reached Malko Tarnovo in Bulgaria. While on their way to the police station, where they intended to state they were seeking asylum, a police car stopped them, and the officers took their phones and some of their money. The families were then asked to leave Bulgaria. When they refused, the police threatened them and sent them back to Turkey.

Update: In November, 4 asylum-seekers from Syria and Iraq died while trying to cross the border to Serbia. All of them were registered by the State Ageny for Refugees (SAR) and waited for their status. Some days later, another Syrian refugee was found close to the border of Malko Tarnovo.

[1] Name changed by BMB.

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