Number of refugees in detention is increasing

In September 2021 a total of 1,626, so called, third-country nationals were detained in Bulgaria, according published statistics from the Ministry of Interior. 154 people were detained at the entrance to the external state border of Bulgaria and 128 people at the exit while a number of 1,344 was detained in the interior of the country. By the end of September 2021 the number of detainees was 999. Most of the detained people are of Afghan nationality. Since many years the route through Bulgaria is well known for Afghan nationals, but Bulgaria did not generally suspend the deportation to Afghanistan.

Detention Center in Lyubimets 2018

Within the period of January-September 2021, a total of 6,560 „third-country nationals“ was detained. The total capacity of the detention centers for migrants in Bulgaria is 1060 places, namely Lyubimets (300+360 places in containers) und Busmantsi (400 places) The, so called,  transit centre in Pastrogor (360 places) at the Bulgarian-Turkish border near Lyubimets can be used as a closed facility, as well, if needed. necessary.

By the end of October 2021, a delegation from the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) carried out its visit to Bulgaria (24- 30 October). The SPT said that it is „particularly concerned about child migrants held in detention. Some of them are unaccompanied by their parents, they are the most vulnerable group and live under very difficult conditions.“ The delegation stressed out that a high number of asylum seekers is detained in Bulgaria and that they „should be promptly and fully informed“ about what is happening to them. The whole report is still not published. Another report published by, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the end of June 2021 mentioned already similar practices.

Meanwhile the push-backs seem to go on. The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) had “recorded 1,064 indirect pushbacks (preventing individuals from crossing into Bulgaria) and 323 direct pushbacks (returns from inside the territory) over the first eight months of 2021, affecting 13,363 people“. On October the 2nd, the head of the Bulgarian border police, Ivan Stojanow, told the Bulgarian television broadcaster BTV that around 20,000 people had been „prevented“ from crossing the Bulgarian-Turkish border since the beginning of the year.

In its report for October 2021 the organization Borderviolence Monitoring monitored several Push-Backs of the Bulgarian border police. By the beginning of November a number of 40 military vehicles and 350 military units were sent to the border to repair the fence and to carry out joint patrols with the Bulgarian police.

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