German court decision: Refugee will not be sent back to Bulgaria

Written by on November 9, 2016 in Europe - Comments Off on German court decision: Refugee will not be sent back to Bulgaria

A court in the German town of Kassel has ruled that an asylum procedure in a refugee’s case will be initiated in spite of the fact that the plaintiff got a refugee status in Bulgaria.

The 20-year-old man from Syria entered Bulgaria in November of 2014, where he was granted the status. But he decided to move on, reaching Germany in December of 2014. Due to his status in Bulgaria, which is where he had entered the European Union first, the German Authority for Migration and Refugees rejected his asylum application. The refugee then decided to sue the state.

The first court he took this case to, rejected the case, saying an asylum procedure could not be started, because of the plaintiff’s status in Bulgaria. A higher court now overturned that decision.

In his decision, the judge stated, a refugee could not be sent back to a country like Bulgaria, in which the living conditions for refugees do not match the minimal standard of the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights. Asylum procedures in Bulgaria had “systematic deficiencies”, refugees in the country were in danger of becoming homeless.

According to the German court, not even recognized refugees will get an accommodation in Bulgaria, unless at least one member of their family is a Bulgarian citizen. Without any apartment, refugees in Bulgaria did not have access to medical treatment either. Also, there was no support by the Bulgarian state, in that regard.

In addition the court said, recognized refugees in Bulgaria were not integrated into the job market, and there was no education for refugee children. Bulgaria had not adopted European guidelines for the protection of refugees into its national laws. Therefore, the refugee plaintiff was allowed to apply for asylum in Germany as well.

Recently, a refugee family got “church asylum” in Germany, when its members refused to be sent back to Bulgaria.

NGOs and the United Nations have criticized Bulgaria harshly, for its treatment of refugees.

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Imanuel Marcus, the founder of foreignersandfriends.com, is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe.