Mayor of Elin Pelin tells Syrian family with humanitarian status to leave

The mayor, Ivaylo Simeonov, of the Bulgarian town of Elin Pelin has told a Syrian family with a humanitarian status (for Bulgaria) to leave and is refusing to issue them ID documents. The Syrian family, who has arrived with their six years old sun in the country, stated that leaving the town is no option, because the same problems would occur somewhere else. The eldest son of the family, who already lived and worked three years in Bulgaria, had organized the accommodation in Elin Pelin. In the following days Bulgarian media echoed xenophobic, racist and anti-humanitarian statements from different persons, without opposing it.

Certainly, this case cannot be seen as an isolated one. Recently, the mayor of the village Shiroka Laka, stated that two unaccompanied Afghans should not live in a municipal institution. Afterwards the adolescents were not accepted in Haskovo and Plovdiv, too. Already in April 2014, 17 Syrian holders of humanitarian status, six children among them, were chased out of Rozovo. Their presence in the village sparked protests on the part of the local population and after three days protest, the Syrian families were chased out of the village.

In numerous cases in Bulgaria xenophobia and racism is very visible and not criticized by many people publicly. But, In the case of Elin Pelin, some locals organized a protest to show their solidarity with the Syrian family. Furthermore, they demanded an explanation from the mayor of the city for his behavior.

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