AIDA Update Bulgaria: lengthier, deteriorating asylum procedures and gaps in reception conditions

The updated AIDA report on Bulgaria documents a worrying trend of gradual deterioration in asylum procedures throughout 2015. The duration of the asylum procedure has increased on average from 3 to 6 months and is still growing, while the State Agency of Refugees (SAR) was unable to secure interpretation services for asylum seekers during the examination of their claim, according to the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.

Moreover, material reception conditions in Bulgaria have witnessed equal signs of deterioration from the beginning of the year. The registration and documentation of asylum seekers, especially those who approach the authorities on their own without being apprehended, is curtailed by delays, while basic services are provided scarcely and unevenly. More worryingly, as of March 2015, financial allowances to asylum seekers (formerly at €33 per month) have been retroactively terminated, thereby stripping applicants from their right to assistance.

Finally, the report provides information on the ongoing problem of access to the territory, documenting incidents of push backs and ill-treatment at the border in the period between May and July 2015.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention across 20 countries.