PAZARDJIK. Information day on the project “Specialized services for children from Roma communities in conflict or contact with the law” of the IGA Crime Prevention Fund. Within the framework of the event, the sociologist-analyst Tihomir Bezlov and other experts on the project talked with representatives of all interested institutions from Pazardzhik – the chairman of the Pazardzhik District Court Hristo Georgiev, the district prosecutor Radoslav Bakardzhiev, Tsvetelina Arapova – director of the RD “Social Assistance”, Nicoleta Uzunova – Head of the “Child Protection” Department at the RDSP, Biserka Traikova – Secretary of the Local Commission for Combating Antisocial Behavior of Minors and Minors, Deputy Director of the PG for Textiles and Hairdressing Istirka Topurkova, representatives of the “Protection Police” and Children’s pedagogical room at the Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Andrey Momchilov, an expert on the project, recalled the work on a similar project a few years ago, which created the Center for Children’s Rights. Thus, from October 2022, IGA implements the current project (financed by the Justice Program of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, and IGA’s partners are the foundations “Roma”-Lom, “Roma”-Plovdiv and Save a Child – Norway), which must to introduce and develop
an effective integrated approach aimed at improving the status and opportunities of children
in contact with the law in three Roma communities in Bulgaria – Pazardjik, Plovdiv and Lom. “Here we are not talking about any flagrant violations of children’s rights, rather about the neglect of certain rights, insufficiently good provision of opportunities to exercise their rights, poor provision of information, insufficient hearing of children, even within procedures , provided by the law”, said Momchilov and illustrated with his previous research, according to which only in 10-15% of the cases on an average year, children are heard in court, even though the cases concern them.
So far, practice shows that in Pazardzhik most cases are for children at risk of dropping out of school. There is almost no motivation (except for future hairdressers and drivers), but there are many incomplete families. There are more and more cases when the child is raised by grandparents.
Tihomir Bezlov provoked a discussion
with the presentation of specific results of the study in the three Roma communities and an analysis of the potential for conducting a consultative process in the three regions. It turned out that there are significant differences in the problems in different cities, but there are also trends that are similar. Such as the depopulation of the Turkish and Roma communities, which in Pazardzhik is above the average for the country – about 50% (the reason is permanent settlement abroad). Or the increase in the income of Roma households in general. And reasons that are similar – for example, the outflow of children from school. Thus, more and more children fall into the “highly marginalized” column and come into conflict with the law.