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We make it our mission to work with advocates in civil society, business and government to address inequalities of power, seek remedy for abuse, and ensure protection of people and planet.

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Phil Bloomer, Executive Director

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Responding department: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Human Rights Directorate; Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, European Affairs and International Cooperation Directorate

Has your government taken any initiatives to reduce companies’ negative impacts on human rights that you consider particularly successful?

Bulgaria is a State Party on every international treaties on human rights. In 2009 Bulgaria passed a National Strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility. Since then Bulgaria follows the European common policy on CSR in the context of Business and Human Rights. Bulgaria is not a big country with population of less than 7 million people and has no many public or private international enterprises that operates on areas in risk of human rights abuses. Therefore Bulgaria implements the human rights and fundamental principles adhering the international and domestic law tenets.

What department or departments have significant responsibility for business and human rights within your government?

There is no specific body which is to be responsible for the issues concerning Business and Human Rights. At the time being the accountability on B&HR is divided by MFA and MLSP. One of the steps ahead is that among the recommendations on the last CSR strategy is the setting up of specific body which would deal with B&HR issues.

Has your government undertaken new business & human rights initiatives or strengthened existing ones since the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles in June 2011?


Has your government adopted a National Action Plan on business and human rights as encouraged by the UN Human Rights Council and UN Working Group on business & human rights, or will it do so in the future?

Bulgaria has not adopted a National Action Plan yet. The NAP is under consideration. However MFA and MLSP have not taken decision about the place of the future NAP. The question is should the Nap be integrated within the new CSR strategy or it has to be independent paper passed by the government.  

If your government has adopted a National Action Plan or is planning on adopting one, please highlight whether it makes reference to international human rights standards and whether it was developed in consultation with affected stakeholders.

The future NAP will endorse all the international principles in the area of B&HR and it  will be adopted after public consultations with all stakeholders

Access to remedy: What steps have been taken to develop new judicial or administrative remedies or to reduce barriers to existing remedies for victims?

Even one Bulgarian international enterprise is not a defendant among any cases concerning human rights abuses worldwide. Our expertise is focussed on domestic cases of human rights abuses and until now the victims use the common measures of remedy as judicial mechanisms, non – judicial mechanisms in case of intolerance as well as international committees established by the international human rights treaties such as Committee against All Form of Discrimination Against Women, Human Rights Committee, etc.

Access to remedy: What steps have been taken to develop new non-judicial remedies, improve existing mechanisms, and reduce barriers for victims?

In 2014 Bulgaria established National Mechanism on Human Rights which is a inter government body uniting all human rights stake holders including NGOs. This independent body will deal with HR&B issues as well as means of redress and remedy.

Access to remedy: For companies headquartered in your country or their subsidiaries, has your government taken steps to enhance accountability for human rights impacts abroad?

This question does not apply.

Which factors impede your government’s ability to take action on business and human rights?

Significant factor:

  • Concern about deterring foreign investment
  •  Other: Lack of international companies operating abroad and involved in human rights abuses

Not a factor:

  • Lack of resources for enforcement, monitoring and prosecution
  • Opposition or lack of consensus within government
  • Opposition by economic interest groups or business associations
  • Other opposition by influential people or groups outside government
  • Lack of understanding or awareness of business & human rights in government
  • Challenges of coordinating across government departments