Overwhelmed by an influx of mostly Syrian immigrants, Bulgaria has taken steps to secure its EU border – including building a 30-kilometre barbed-wire fence, standing three meters high and fortified with razor wire coils. The fence was completed this week and covers the least visible section of Bulgaria’s 275-kilometre border with Turkey. It aims to stem a flow of refugees that saw more than 11,000 people enter the country illegally last year – 10 times the annual figure before the Syrian conflict.
However, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and UNHCR have all condemned the rejection of asylum seekers, stating that all EU States must “ensure access to their territory [and] fair and efficient asylum procedures”. The fence has also been attacked by prominent international refugee scholar James Hathaway, who stated in a tweet that the fence, given the intent with which it was build, is tantamount to illegal refoulement.