Bulgaria: Frequency of intermarriage between Roma and non-Romani Bulgarians; whether it is more common for a Romani man to marry outside the Romani community than it is for a Romani woman (1999 - March 2005)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||7 March 2005|
|Citation / Document Symbol||BGR43404.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Bulgaria: Frequency of intermarriage between Roma and non-Romani Bulgarians; whether it is more common for a Romani man to marry outside the Romani community than it is for a Romani woman (1999 - March 2005), 7 March 2005, BGR43404.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df60a925.html [accessed 23 August 2014]|
This Response replaces BGR34106.E of 3 April 2000.
According to the results of a survey published in a 20 December 2002 report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Roma in Central and Eastern Europe, 19 per cent of Romani respondents in Bulgaria were married to a member of the majority ethnicity. Corroboration of this figure could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
In 2 March 2005 correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Director of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) indicated that intermarriage between Roma and non-Roma is a rare phenomenon in Bulgaria due to the discrimination towards Roma. The Director also said that marriage between Roma and ethnic Bulgarians is less common when compared with the incidence of marriage between Roma and members of other ethnic groups (BHC 2 Mar. 2005).
The Director further added that marriage between Roma and ethnic Bulgarians generally involves a Roma man and an ethnic Bulgarian woman because about half of Bulgaria's Roma are Muslim, and according to the Director, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man (ibid.). The Director also stated that intermarriage between Roma women and Muslim men who are not ethnic Bulgarians does occur in Bulgaria (ibid.).
In a 21 March 2000 telephone interview, the Executive Director of the Human Rights Project stated that intermarriage among Roma is not very common in Bulgaria. This information was corroborated by the Chair of the Minority Studies Society Studii Romani and the Chair of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee in two telephone interviews (27 Mar. 2000; 28 Mar. 2000). The latter added that a Romani man was more likely to marry outside the Romani community than a Romani woman, especially among the Muslim Roma (BHC 28 Mar. 2000). He made references to cases of Romani men married to Bulgarian women, and to a lesser extent, of Romani men to Bulgarian Turkish women (ibid.).
The Chair of the Minority Studies Society Studii Romani also stressed how difficult generalizations were in this regard, given the heterogeneity of the Bulgarian Romani minority (27 Mar. 2000). However, she stated that intermarriages were more likely in educated circles (Minority Studies Society 27 Mar. 2000).
Quoted in an 8 April 1998 article, the head of department at the Bulgarian Culture Ministry, who is also Secretary of the working group on Romani problems with the Council of Minister's National Council on Ethnic and Population Affairs, Antonii Gulubov, highlighted the small number of intermarriages in Bulgaria by stating that fewer than 50,000 out of 2.3 million families were mixed, that is with spouses from different ethnic groups (BTA 8 Apr. 1998).
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 for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC). 2 March 2005. Correspondence from the Director.
_____. 28 March 2000. Telephone interview with the Chair.
BTA News Agency [Sofia, in English]. 8 April 1998. "Bulgarian Government Sets Up Working Group on Romanies." (BBC Worldwide Monitoring 8 Apr. 1998/NEXIS)
Human Rights Project, Sofia. 21 March 2000. Telephone interview with the Executive Director.
Minority Studies Society Studii Romani, Sofia. 27 March 2000. Telephone interview with the Chair.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 20 December 2002. The Roma in Central and Eastern Europe: Avoiding the Dependency Trap.
Additional Sources Consulted
The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), in Budapest, did not respond to a letter requesting information within time constraints.
The Romani Baht Foundation, in Sofia, did not respond to a letter requesting information.
Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), BBC, European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Sofia Echo, United States Department of State.