Bulgaria declares state of emergency and suspends all asylum-related procedures

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Bulgaria declared a state of emergency on the 13th of March 2020. The country suspended all asylum-related procedures. Exceptional of this rule are the renewal of asylum documents and the registration of asylum seekers transferred from pre-removal detention facilities.

The UNCHR published in an article that, during the Covid-19 period, refugees in Bulgaria suffer from „stress and uncertainty, movement restrictions, difficulty in obtaining basic hygiene products and medicines, as well as hampered access to services including health and psychosocial support.“ It also stressed out that „during this unprecedented time of isolation, the loss of employment opportunities, incomes and shelter have exacerbated the situation, increasing the risk not only to becoming ill but also to other risks such as gender-based violence.“

Update: The lockdown was officially lifted on 13 May 2020, but it was not before the beginning of June 2020 that determination procedures resumed at all instances.

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