Bulgaria has detained 1124 migrants and refugees since the start of 2016 – IOM

From the start of 2016 to March 16, Bulgarian authorities apprehended a total of 1124 migrants and refugees entering the country irregularly from the land borders with Turkey, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a weekly report on March 17.

The most prominent nationalities in descending order were Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, Pakistanis and Iranians.

About 80 per cent were apprehended on irregular land borders, while only 20 per cent were apprehended at border checkpoints, IOM said.

In addition, 12 migrants and refugees were apprehended inside the country between the reporting period of March 10 to March 16.

IOM said that, unlike other Balkan states, Bulgaria does not have a policy to facilitate the migration flow to Western Europe.

Therefore, numbers from Bulgaria are not of registered arrivals but rather of apprehensions by the Bulgarian authorities of irregular migrants on entry, within the country, and on exit.

This makes dating the exact entry of arrivals difficult, as someone apprehended in 2016 might have entered the country in 2015.

Migrants and refugees are accommodated in six transit and reception facilities which are run by the State Agency for Refugees, with total capacity for 5130 people.

The centres are in Banya (reception centre), Pastrogor (transit centre), Sofia (reception centre Sofia, Vrazhdebna centre, Voenna Rampa centre) and Harmanli.

Currently in all six centres run by the State Agency for Refugees, there are 590 migrants and refugees accommodated with the majority being Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi nationals.

One centre is in Elhovo and is under the authority of the Bulgarian Border Police.

Apart from the aforementioned centres, there are also two detention centres run by the Ministry of Interior, one in Lubimets and one in Sofia (Immigration Detention Centre) with a total capacity of 940 and currently accommodating 285 migrants and refugees, IOM said.

(Photo: Ben Melrose/V Photo Agency)



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292