UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Bulgaria (CEDAW 10-03-2020)

The Committee considered the eighth periodic report of Bulgaria (CEDAW/C/BGR/8) at its 1761st and 1762nd meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.1761 and CEDAW/C/SR.1762), held on 19 February 2020.

Concluding observations

E. Principal areas of concern and recommendations


  1. The Committee notes with concern:

(a) Reports of gender-based violence committed against women during delivery and a lack of oversight procedures and mechanisms for ensuring adequate standards of care in maternity wings of hospitals;

(b) The high number of early pregnancies, the absence of mandatory age-appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights in school curricula and the lack of training provided to teachers in that field;

(c) The limited access of women and girls to affordable modern contraceptives, in particular in rural areas, and the barriers that adolescent girls face in gaining access to information on sexual and reproductive health services;

(d) Reports of largely irreversible medical surgery performed on intersex women.

  1. Recalling its general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on women and health and target 3.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, with the aim of ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, as well as its previous recommendation (CEDAW/C/BGR/CO/4–7, para. 36), the Committee recommends that the State party:                                        

(a) Criminalize obstetric violence and other forms of violence during delivery and ensure adequate and accessible standards of care in all maternity wings of hospitals;                                        

(b) Take adequate measures to carry out a national survey on reproductive health, implement the 2020 national health strategy and the national action plan for the period 2015–2020 and introduce mandatory age-appropriate and inclusive education on sexual and reproductive health and rights in school curricula, including on modern forms of contraception, the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and the risks of unsafe abortion;                                        

(c) Intensify the implementation of health programmes, including inclusive awareness-raising programmes, to ensure the availability of affordable modern contraceptives to all women and girls, including those belonging to disadvantaged groups and in rural areas;                                        

(d) Establish appropriate safeguards to ensure adequate standards of care, including accessibility and respect for women’s autonomy and requirements for the free, prior and informed consent of all women, and introduce complaints mechanisms for women who suffered ill-treatment during delivery;                                     

(e) Develop and implement a rights-based health-care protocol for intersex women and ensure that intersex women are not subjected to surgery or treatment without their free, informed and prior consent.

Women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination

  1. The Committee is concerned that women and girls with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons continue to face intersecting forms of discrimination and gender-based violence.
  2. The Committee recommends that the State party urgently implement targeted measures to achieve substantive equality for women and girls in all stages of life who face intersecting forms of discrimination, such as women and girls with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons.
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