Preserving and Promoting the Cultural Identity of Ethnic Communities, and Disadvantaged Individuals and Groups

Where
Bulgaria
When
2020
Who
Ministry of Culture
Ministry of Education and Science
National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Issues under the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria
Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, etc.
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 

A guiding principle in the state cultural policy of the Republic of Bulgaria is to guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms, which are expressed by information awareness, communication, and free choice of cultural expression forms.

The citizens' fundamental rights and freedoms are ensured in the country's Constitution and cultural legislation. In this sense, the Ministry of Culture's policies abide by the principles of equality and respect for all cultures; equal access to cultural heritage and to the diversity of cultural expression forms; protection of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.
The Republic of Bulgaria guarantees the right of persons from ethnic communities to disseminate and transmit their traditional cultural expression forms, as well as their right to have free access to those forms (Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Culture Protection and Development Act). In this respect, linguistic diversity is especially protected as an important exchange factor (the Bulgarian Culture Protection and Development Act).

The Bulgarian Cultural Heritage Act contains provisions on the role of the state, municipalities and individuals in ensuring equal access to cultural assets, which are also a form of cultural expression. This Act stipulates the right of access to cultural assets as providing physical or intellectual access to those assets without them being damaged or compromised.

Culture is an important part of the National Development Programme: Bulgaria 2020, and is included among the priorities for human capital development and regional development through harnessing local potential.

The national policy in this area aims to promote participation in cultural life and access to cultural works for all; especially people with special needs, as well as to create conditions for the social and cultural integration of smaller ethnic communities.

The Ministry of Culture supports the activities of the various ethnic communities and cooperates with their organisations or cultural institutions operating in the field of cultural integration through its programmes listed herein:
- development of professional and non-professional artwork,
- cultural heritage protection,
- publishing,
- developing the network of theatres, museums and galleries, libraries and community centres throughout the country.

The country's cultural policy places a special emphasis on enabling members of smaller ethnic communities to exercise their cultural rights. This is implemented by supporting the activities of their NGOs.

Another instrument that creates favourable conditions for using cultural rights is the country's network of cultural institutes for preserving and developing the specific culture of ethnic communities. These are the various festivals, celebrations, contests, exhibitions, book presentations and their publishing, etc., supported by programmes of the Ministry of Culture.

Projects aimed at involving and including people with special needs in the cultural life of their respective settlement are also being supported.

Arts and culture training is also a means of expressing and promoting cultural diversity, and it facilitates the access to cultural rights. It takes place in the general education school system and in the system of national arts and culture schools, where students from smaller ethnic communities are also being educated.

A programme for protecting children with evident talents has been developed, which includes special measures to support talented children, including children from ethnic communities and children with special needs. The essence of the programme is to provide scholarships to students from public and municipal schools in the fields of culture, education and sport in order to encourage their development.

Community centres are the most widespread cultural institutions in the country that receive state support. These cultural habitats, spread throughout the country, often in remote locations and settlements with small a population, play an important role in preserving the specific culture of ethnic communities.

What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 

Promoting cultural diversity and equal participation in cultural life. Facilitated access to cultural rights, especially for people and groups with special needs. Projects supported by the Ministry of Culture contribute to the social and cultural integration of smaller ethnic communities. Providing scholarships to talented children, including children from ethnic communities and disabled children.

Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Name of partnerType of entity
Cultural institutes in the country, community centres, CSOs
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Has the implementation of the policy/measure been evaluated?: 
YES
If yes, what are the main conclusions/recommendations?: 

Regular reports of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Positive assessment for the policy.

Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Multi-domain