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Victory for LGBTI+ people in Bulgaria



The Criminal Code adopted more severe penalties for crimes,

related to sexual orientation


At today's session, the National Assembly adopted a law amending the Criminal Code, which provides for heavier penalties for crimes committed with the motive of sexual orientation of the victim. Among the crimes that will be punished more severely are:

  • Murder (art. 116, para. 1, item 11)

  • Bodily injury (Art. 131, para. 1, item 12)

  • Kidnapping (Art. 142(2)(9))

  • Unlawful deprivation of liberty (Art. 142a (3) (3))

  • Preaching or incitement to discrimination, violence or hatred through the mass media (art. 162, para. 1)

  • Use of violence against another or damage to his property (art. 162, para. 2)

  • Participation in a mob assembled to attack groups of the population, individual citizens or their property (art. 163, para. 1)

  • Intentionally preventing someone from entering employment or forcing someone to leave employment (Art. 172(1))

  • Public incitement to commit an offence by preaching to a multitude of people through distributing printed works or in any other similar manner (art. 320, para. 3)


This is a huge victory for the LGBTI movement in Bulgaria. It is a result of the tireless efforts of the LGBTI advocates in Bulgaria in the last 20 years.

What have we, LGBTI Deystvie, done over the years?

  • Since 2017, Deystvie has been documenting crimes against the LGBTI community and providing legal assistance to victims;

  • Since 2017, we have prosecuted and tracked cases of victims of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes;

  • Deystvie has been training police officers since 2019 in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and the Academy at the Ministry of Interior.. The number of police officers who have undergone training to counter crimes against LGBTI people exceeds 200;

  • In 2020, Deystvie released the largest study ever done on the criminal law of the Republic of Bulgaria - "Bulgarian Criminal Law and LGB People. An analysis of the existing framework and a strategy for change".

  • In 2020, together with the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Interior, we published the most comprehensive training manual for police officers - Policing LGBTI Hate Crime. Training for a professional police response"

  • In 2021, Deystvie submitted an opinion in the case of Hristina Stoyanova v. Bulgaria (App. No. 56070/18) before the ECtHR on the murder of Mihail Stoyanov;

  • In 2019 and 2020, Deystvie submitted two petitions to the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers to amend the Criminal Code of the Republic of Bulgaria;

  • In June 2023, together with the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, the Bilitis Foundation, the Glas Foundation and the international organisation All Out, we have submitted another petition with 25,000 signatures to amend the Criminal Code.

  • Since 2018, we have been participating in and organising roundtables on homophobic and transphobic hate crimes with a number of state institutions and international organisations;

  • In 2017, we participated in the first working group at the Ministry of Justice to amend the Criminal Code;

  • In June 2022, at the invitation of the Ministry of Justice, we took part in a working group for the amendment of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code and thus became part of the current amendments.

  • We have worked diligently with the Ministry of Justice and a number of MPs on the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code regarding hate crimes based on a person's sexual orientation and gender identity.

Our work matters! Our work makes a difference!

Thank you for being with us!

Support us to continue changing the environment for the LGBTI community in Bulgaria!



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