The Vice-President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Suica sent a letter on behalf of the European Commission to the National Network for Children and all over 70 organizations on their appeal to protect the rights of children in Bulgaria in connection with the proposed amendments to the Law for protection of the child from IMRO.
On 10th of December, 2020, the National Network for Children together with 70 civil society organizations in Bulgaria sent an alarm signal to 13 European and international institutions regarding the attack on children’s rights in the proposals of IMRO for amendments to the Child Protection Act. The gross violation of children’s rights and the opposition of some parents against other parents violates a number of international acts, as well as Bulgarian law. There are already a number of negative opinions on the proposed bill from the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Ministry of Justice, UNICEF, the Supreme Bar Council, the State Agency for Child Protection and others.
„While the European Commission, as a matter of policy, does not comment on draft laws, I would like to emphasize that EU action on the rights of the child is guided by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is applicable to EU institutions, and to Member States in the implementation of EU law. All EU policies that have an impact on children should be designed in line with the best interests of the child. EU action in this area is also guided by international human rights standards, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that all EU Member States have ratified“, wrote in response Mrs. Dubravka Suica.
The letter states the need for a comprehensive and integrated approach to child protection to ensure that the systems meet the needs of all children – „This year, the Commission will adopt an EU Strategy on the rights of the child, which will encourage EU Member States to adopt or reinforce strategies and targeted policies on the rights of the child, and will put forward actions to reinforce integrated child protection systems across the European Union.“ – it is also stated in the letter of Dubravka Suicaa. For the second year in a row, Bulgaria does not have a Strategy for the Child, which was withdrawn by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov as a result of disinformation and propaganda attacks by the IMRO and other extreme religious organizations in the country.
“The lack of a National Strategy for the Child is contrary to the Child Protection Act and hinders the implementation of state policies in the field of children’s health, education, justice and child protection. This year we will have a Strategy for the child at European level, but such is lacking in Bulgaria, which puts our children at a disadvantage compared to children throughout the European Union, “said Georgi Bogdanov – Executive Director of the National Network for Children.