Fwd: HRP Conference: "Recent Mechanisms and Principles for Protection against Discrimination on Ethnic Basis and Bulgarian Legislation"


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Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2001 16:02:52 +0200 (EET)
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Subject: Fwd: HRP Conference: "Recent Mechanisms and Principles for Protection against Discrimination on Ethnic Basis and Bulgarian Legislation"

From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

Original sender: Greek Helsinki Monitor
<balkanhr-owner@yahoogroups.com>

Fwd: HRP Conference: "Recent Mechanisms and Principles for
Protection against Discrimination on Ethnic Basis and Bulgarian
Legislation"

 
On February 22 - 23, 2001, in Sofia, human rights and minority
non-governmental organisations, legal experts and Bulgarian
authorities discussed the compliance of Bulgarian legislation with
European anti-discrimination standards and the basic principles of
combatting racial discrimination to be incorporated in a future
Bulgarian anti-discrimination law. The conference "Recent Mechanisms
and Principles for Protection against Discrimination on Ethnic Basis
and Bulgarian Legislation", was convened by the Human Rights Project
in cooperation with the governmental National Council for the Ethnic
and Demographic Issues and the European Roma Rights Center, Budapest,
in the framework of the Stability Pact initiatives and with the
support of the German government and the Council of Europe.
 
The conference agenda focused on European tools for combatting
discrimination, notably the Council of the European Union Directive
2000/43 "Implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons
irrespective of racial or ethnic origin" (Race Directive) and Protocol
12 of the European Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms.

Legal experts from the Council of Europe, the Migration Policy Group
(Brussels) and the European Roma Rights Center (Budapest) discussed
the mechanisms for combatting discrimination on ethnic basis as laid
down in these documents. They also highlighted recent recommendations
of European bodies regarding the adoption of comprehensive
anti-discrimination legislation in Bulgaria and the establishment of a
specialised body for combatting discrimination on the grounds of
ethnic origin. It was noted that the existing provisions prohibiting
discrimination on grounds of ethnicity in various Bulgarian laws do
not offer effective means for the principle of equal treatment to be
applied. Further, the participants concluded that Bulgarian
legislation which is currently in force, fails to comply with two
basic principles set forth in the Race Directive, namely the shifting
of the burden of proof in cases of prima facie discrimination from the
plaintiff to the respondent and the prohibition of indirect
discrimination. It was pointed out that given the fact that the Race
Directive is part of the Acqui Communautaire of the European
Community, Bulgarian authorities should consider adoption of specific
legislation to meet the requirements of the Race Directive as part of
Bulgaria's progress towards EU accession.
 
By way of conclusion, the participants admitted that it is of crucial
importance to continue the debate on the anti-discrimination
legislation, involving the largest possible public, in order to
enhance awareness and ensure effective implementation of the
legislation to be adopted. The representatives of the authorities
committed themselves to ensure involvement of legal and human rights
experts in the drafting of the anti-discrimination law and then submit
it to further debate among interested parties.


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