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Fundamental rights

Fundamental rights are one of the basic components of every democratic society. The effective exercise of fundamental rights requires not only an adequate legal framework, but also an established institutional infrastructure and an active civil society. To contribute to the better protection of fundamental rights the Law Program initiated and worked actively for the establishment of the ombudsman institution in Bulgaria, drafting a concept paper and a draft law and developing the web-based Ombudsman Information Network. The Law Program has also monitored the level of ethnic discrimination in Bulgaria and the efforts of the government to ensure equal treatment of all ethnic groups in the country. The respect for the rights of specific vulnerable groups such as children, victims of crime, asylum seekers and prisoners are also in the focus of the Law Program’s activities.


all events

Civic Participation in Support of Vulnerable Groups
There are numerous interrelations between the different vulnerable groups, and the state and NGOs are called upon to cooperate constructively in improving their situation. This is the conclusion reached at the roundtable dedicated to the civic participation in support of vulnerable communities, organised by the Center for the Study of Democracy. The event was attended by representatives of state institutions, magistrates, lawyers, and NGOs working with prisoners, vulnerable groups of foreigners, and victims of trafficking and domestic violence. more »
Punishment versus treatment: the situation of drug users in prison
Bulgaria has no clear and consistent state policy on drug-using offenders. This is the main conclusion of the round table on the situation of drug users in prison organised by the Center for the Study of Democracy. The event, which aimed to present the Norwegian experience of working with drug users in prison, was attended by officials from the Directorate General "Execution of Penalties", prosecutors, judges, lawyers, academics and NGOs. more »
Bulgaria and UNGASS 2016
On 5 April 2016, Initiative for Health Foundation organised a public discussion on Bulgaria’s and the global drug policy in the framework of the forthcoming UN General Assembly’s special session on the world drug problem (UNGASS) from 19 to 21 April 2016. The public discussion brought together representatives of state institutions and non-government organisations working with drug users. more »
Civil Society in Support of Vulnerable Groups
Victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, persons in need of international protection and those deprived of liberty are among the vulnerable groups in need of the support of the civic sector in their relationships with institutions. Their problems were at the forefront of the discussion at the working meeting ‘Civil Society in Support of Vulnerable Groups’, organized on 25 February 2016 by the Center for the Study of Democracy. The main aim of the meeting was finalizing the concept on more effective participation of NGOs in the system of support of vulnerable groups, developed by CSD experts. Representatives of NGOs, involved in supporting the four vulnerable groups, took part in the event. more »


all publications

CSD Policy Brief No. 61: Drug users in prison: Norway’s experience and Bulgaria’s challenges
For all criminal offences related to drugs, even for possession of small quantities intended for personal use, the main sanction according to Bulgarian criminal law is imprisonment. Unlike in Norway, non-custodial penalties in Bulgaria such as probation have extremely limited scope of application for drug-related offences. At the same time, other alternatives to imprisonment are virtually non-existent. more »
Concept for more effective civic participation in support of vulnerable groups
The concept for more effective civic participation in support of four vulnerable groups aims to identify legislative changes, improvement of practices and policy development by decision makers and the civil society to facilitate vulnerable communities in their interaction with state institutions and establish effective support mechanisms. more »
Memoranda with recommendations to institutions, working with vulnerable groups
The initiative ‘Civic Organizations: a Guarantee for Equal Rights of Vulnerable Groups before the State’ encompasses four vulnerable groups: persons deprived of their liberty, victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, as well as persons in need of international protection and other vulnerable foreigners. Although very different, those communities encounter similar problems in their relations with institutions: insufficient human and financial resourcing, work practices not always meeting the needs of vulnerable groups. Thus, oftentimes those persons rely on civil society for improving their status, including through assistance before the respective competent authorities. more »
Drug Users in Prison: Norway's Experience and Bulgaria's Challenges
Publication looks over the situation of drug users in two European countries – Norway, known for its social and welfare-oriented state, and Bulgaria, which since the beginning of the transition from totalitarism to democracy lacks sustainable policies on prisons and drugs. The aim of this work is to comparatively present the penal policy towards drug users and the measures taken for convicted people addicted to narcotic substances, to identify those features which can be transferable and can assist Bulgarian authorities to improve the situation of drug users in and outside the prison. Finally, this research will try to propose concrete measures to be taken both within the penitentiary system and as crime prevention efforts among drug users. more »

   Law Program

(Promulgated in State Gazette No. 48 of May 23, 2003, in force since January 1, 2004)

Law on Local Self-Government and Local Administration