Bulgaria: United Roma Union; whether they issue identity cards; method by which these cards are obtained and information required by the Union; whether the Union can authenticate an individual as Roma
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||12 September 2003|
|Citation / Document Symbol||BGR41891.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Bulgaria: United Roma Union; whether they issue identity cards; method by which these cards are obtained and information required by the Union; whether the Union can authenticate an individual as Roma, 12 September 2003, BGR41891.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/403dd1e48.html [accessed 25 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The United Roma Union (Obedinen Romski Sayuz, URU), variously referred to as the United Roma Federation (RFE/RL 20 Oct. 1992) and the Integrated Roma Union (CEDIME-SE Aug. 2000, 34), is an NGO based in Sliven (ibid.; UBFA 1998; CSBSC 9 June 1999). A European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) report also refers to a URU office in Haskovo (1999).
Numerous sources note that Vassil (Vasil ) Stoyanov Chaprasov (Chaprazov) is the organization's leader (Political Parties of Eastern Europe 2002, 815; OSI 2002, 77 n.10; UBFA 1998; CSBSC 9 June 1999; RFE/RL 20 Oct. 1992). A 1992 report indicated that Chaprasov, along with Georgi Parushev, formed the URU in Sofia on 17 October of that year (OSI 2001b, 17); however, a second source, also listing Chaprasov as the organization's head, pinpoints the group's date of formation as 1994 (UBFA 1998).
Political Parties of Eastern Europe describes the URU as an independent and non-political organization (2002, 815). Although its original intent before 1994 was to unify all Bulgarian Roma organizations, it failed to obtain sufficient support (OSI 2001b, 17-18). A later report indicated that the group's objective was to protect Roma rights, including their language, and provide assistance in solving Roma social problems such as their living conditions, education, unemployment and discrimination (CSBSC 9 June 1999). In addition, the URU published a monthly bilingual periodical called Drom Dromedar that has a circulation of 2,500 copies (OSI 2001a, 108).
The Research Directorate was unable to find references to URU identity cards among the sources consulted and available contact information for the URU was no longer in service.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Center for Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe - Southeast Europe (CEDIME-SE). August 2000. "Minorities in Southeast Europe: Roma of Bulgaria." (Greek Helsinki)
Center for the Study of Balkan Societies and Cultures, University of Graz, Austria (CSBSC). 9 June 1999. "Addresses of Organisations and Persons Active in Field."
European Roma Rights Center (ERRC). 1999. Roma Rights. No. 2. Ivan Ivanov. "Discrimination and the Romani Complex." http://www.errc.org/rr_nr2_1999/meet.shtml [Accessed 8 Sept. 2003]
Open Society Institute (OSI). 2002. "Minority Protection in Bulgaria." Monitoring the EU Accession Process: Minority Protection
_____. 2001a. "Minority Protection in Bulgaria." Monitoring the EU Accession Process: Minority Protection. (EUMAP)
_____. 2001b. Roma Education Initiative. Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov. "The Gypsy Minority in Bulgaria–Policy and Community Development." The Roma Education Resource Book, Volume 2.
Political Parties of Eastern Europe. 2002. Janusz Bugajski. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 20 October 1992. Newsline No. 202. Kjell Engelbrekt. "Bulgarian Gypsies Set Up National Lobby Organization."
Union of Bulgarian Foundations and Associations (UBFA). 1998. "United Roma Union."
Additional Sources Consulted
Guy Will ed. 2001. Between Past and Future: The Roma of Central and Eastern Europe. Hertfordshire: University of Hertfordshire Press
Marushiakova, Elena and Vesselin Popov. 1997. Gypsies (Roma) in Bulgaria. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Political Parties of the World (2002)
Several unsuccessful attempts to contact the United Roma Union.
Internet sites, including:
Balkan Human Rights List
Center for Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe - Southeast Europe (CEDIME-SE)
European Country of origin Information Network
Open Society Foundation-Sofia
Project on Ethnic Relations (PER)
Red House (Sofia)
Sliven City Website