The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is concerned about the aftermath of the Harmanli scandal in the Bulgarian town of the same name. UNHCR spokesman William Spindler urged the Bulgarian government not to deport asylum seekers on national security grounds just because of a protest. Instead, the authorities should decongest the Harmanli refugee camp, improve the living conditions and work with the refugees and local communities, to ease tensions, Spindler said in his statement.
He stated, concerns about the conditions and overcrowding had not been addressed by the Bulgarian government, but these aspects had fueled the frustration and tensions among residents. The camp was “seriously overcrowded, since it is hosting 3100 asylum seekers, of whom one third are children, when its official capacity is 2710.” Also, the sanitary conditions were concerning, the UNHCR official said. There was intermittent warm water supply only.
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