Supporting BHC and rule of law in Bulgaria

The attack on democratic civic organizations is an assault on the Constitution, statehood and rule of law in Bulgaria. It is inadmissible for representatives of the state power and the prosecutor's office to participate in it. This is the view of the BlueLink Foundation regarding the escalating pressure against the independence of the Bulgarian court, which led to the request for closing of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), submitted on 30.09.2019.

Our statement was referred to by the Board of the EU-Russia Civic Council, who expressed public concern about what is happening in Bulgaria today. The forum quotes BlueLink’s Excutive Editor and Co-founder Dr. Pavel Antonov, who said:

The request of far-right politicians to ban the BHC is just another step in an unprecedented attack against rule of law and separation of power, undertaken over the past days by the ruling establishment in order to secure the election of Ivan Geshev as next Chief Prosecutor and remove any remaining independent judiciary. While the request itself is clearly groundless, it sets a greater level of attack and manipulation against critical civil society which upholds European democratic values.”.

More than 80 civil society organizations, including BlueLink, have taken a similar stand. On October 2, 2019 they united against attempts by political parties and their leaders to pressure civil society in an open letter to the media. "Such public attacks are unacceptable, they undermine public confidence in the non-governmental sector and are used for political purposes that are not in the public interest," their position reads.

The signatories of the letter emphasise that Bulgaria’s Constitution guarantees the right of association to citizens so that they can participate fully in public life. It states that:

The non-governmental sector is a key driver of civil society. Civic organizations have goals and values ​​that serve citizens and enable them to contribute to public development, but also to protect civil rights and legitimate interests, even if they oppose institutions, political parties, businesses. Their existence is at the very core of democracy.

Attempting to channel negative public energy towards civil society organizations who defend human rights and build the institutions’ capacity for doing the same is a dangerous trend. It raises distrust in the civic sector and has a chilling effect on it. The activity of the civic sector is, in fact, the sign that civil society exists in Bulgaria, and is part of open public debate that helps the functioning of democracy and rule of law.

All actions against BHC comprise intimidation and harassment and cause great stress to the team, the targeted organisation stressed in an online statement, thanking for the solidarity and support by civil society representatives.


Another important thing

In order to keep supporting the strtategic use of information and telecommunication technologies and the internet by civil society, for the sake of nature protection, common European values and democracy, we need to be independent. You can support us by making a donation to the BlueLink Foundation. Learn more about BlueLink's mission, vision and activities here.