Bulgaria’s government has approved changes to the statute of the national refugee agency that pave the way for the introduction of a restricted movement regime at some of the migrant and refugee accommodation facilities.


Under the draft regulations that are to be followed by legal amendments, migrants who violate the law will be sent to “restricted” types of accommodation centers, which currently do not operate for migrants and refugees in Bulgaria.


The existing Bulgarian Asylum and Refugees Act provides for free movement of all migrants across the country. Amendments, if adopted, may introduce the notion of “areas” (spanning kilometers from the facilities) accessible to camp residents.     


The development comes after Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova announced the government considered a move to restrict movement into or out of some centers in light of incidents that involve migrants.


A day after a mass brawl in the Harmanli camp, in southeastern Bulgaria, State Agency for Refugees (DAB) head Petya Parvanova also announced tha changes were being considered.


Government’s officials maintain the amendments will not infringe on migrants’ basic rights.