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Bulgarian Disregard For the Istanbul Convention


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/04/27

Bulgaria in-progress violation of European treaty devoted to prevention of violence against women. The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), a human rights group, described it.

The Bulgarian authorities withdrew from the Istanbul Convention. The convention is an important part of the movements to prevent violence against women.

In particular, the first legally-binding document was the Istanbul convention. For the ruling GERB to back away from the ratification of it, it indicates a path.

A path the country may be heading down in a deliberate way. It was not ratified because of opposition from the allies and religious organizations.

These include the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. A BHC coordinator, Dilyana Angelova, said, “The Convention guarantees the highest standards for the prevention of violence against women and its rejection is a serious regression in the field of women’s rights.”

This amounted to a “total disregard for the serious and systematic attacks on women.” Angelova said.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov described Bulgaria as progressive and open-minded. Especially with its time as chair of the EU, EU Council meetings to be chaired until June 30.

Borissov referenced lack of political party support, such as the junior coalition partner. The junior coalition partner called United Patriots. It is a nationalist party.

The BHC continued in its critique. It referenced the hard tactics of media freedom suppression and prevention of dissent. Tactics extended to monitoring of critics, online harassment, and the sowing of mistrust.

All facilitated via propaganda. As BHC’s Yana Buhrer Tanvanier noted, “Last year we witnessed a drastic deterioration in freedom of expression, media censorship and unprecedented political pressure.”

Journalists have been personally threatened or attacked. Also, the government allocation of EU funding showed a lack of transparency.

Bulgaria, in Reports Without Borders, dropped to 111th out of 180th place. That is the placement on the world press freedom index.


Channel NewsAsia. (2018, April 25). Rights group criticises Bulgaria for regression in women’s rights. Retrieved from


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