The new AIDA country report on Bulgaria documents recent legislative reforms and developments in relation to the asylum procedure, reception and detention, as well as integration.

Beyond a persisting practice of detention upon arrival, the new legal framework has led to increased detention of asylum seekers during the procedure. At the same time, 2016 was the third consecutive “zero integration” year in Bulgaria, despite the formal adoption of an integration policy at the very end of the year.

In total Bulgaria registered 19,418 asylum applications last year, mainly from Afghan, Syrians and Iraqi nationals. Yet Afghans have overwhelmingly seen their claims rejected, as they have been treated as a “manifestly unfounded” nationality by the State Agency for Refugees (SAR) in 2016. Only 2.5% of Afghan asylum seekers received a positive decision in Bulgaria.

In December 2016, the Human Rights Committee ruled against the readmission of a Syrian family from Denmark to Bulgaria, on the ground that their residence permit would not protect them from obstacles to accessing health care, or risks of destitution and hardship. At the same time, courts in countries including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Switzerland, as well as the Human Rights Committee, have halted Dublin transfers to Bulgaria between January and November 2016.

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