WJC @ UNHRC 46: Fostering Jewish life in Bulgaria
Thank you, Madame President.
I am Julia Dandolova, Director of the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom,” and I am honored to make this statement on behalf of the World Jewish Congress. We would like to congratulate Bulgaria on the Third Cycle of its Universal Periodic review and wish it great success as it constantly strives to guarantee the full enjoyment of all human rights for its citizens.
Before all else, let me stress that Jews have lived in Bulgaria for centuries and we do not face any limitations to our ability to exercise our religion and traditions. Antisemitism unfortunately remains an issue, especially online, and we are working closely with the government to jointly fight this scourge. In 2017, the Bulgarian Government adopted the IHRA definition of Antisemitism, and more recently nine leading higher education institutions in the country did so as well.
In addition, the government has appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Georg Georgiev as National Coordinator on combating antisemitism. We work very closely with Mr. Georgiev and the relevant ministries and state authorities, as well as with civil society organizations, to coordinate policies and actions for preventing and countering all manifestations of antisemitism.
As a result of this close cooperation and coordination, we were able to successfully ban the annual Lukov March in 2021, which honour pro-Nazi World War Two general Christo Lukov.
Lastly, as stated in the report, September 2018 marked the signing of the Manifesto “Together against Hate Speech” by the Mayor of Sofia, the National Coordinator and the president of “Shalom.”
In conclusion, we would like to express our strong commitment to continue working with the Bulgarian government in our joint effort to eliminate antisemitism and racism from the country, by implementing educational policies, legislation, in particular regarding antisemitic and fascist propaganda online, and countering radical neo-Nazi and other extremist groups.