“On the EU frontlines of migrant reception in Bulgaria,” from IRIN:
The sun is setting at the Bulgarian border village of Golyam Devrent. A trio of locals has gathered outside a small store to drink beer. White stucco houses with terracotta-tiled roofs, many abandoned, turn golden in the autumn light.
This seemingly quiet village is now one of the busiest places for irregular border crossings from Turkey. Smugglers on the Turkish side drop people close to the border from where they set-off through dense forest and over a small mountain until they reach Bulgaria, and the European Union (EU).
Last week the Bulgarian authorities began preparing for construction of a five million leva (US$3.4 million border) fence near Golyam Devrent in order to prevent these crossings. The fence will cover 30km of the 280km border.
The new barrier is a reaction to the growing number of migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Bulgaria, most of them from Syria. But civil society groups, including the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, have criticized the construction of a fence: “Such an attempt to stop asylum seekers from entering the country is deeply inhumane”, they wrote in a recent report…