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The Role of Business in Solving Refugees Problems

April 19, 2005
The Role of Business in Solving Refugees Problems

"Business plays a very important role in solving the problems refugees in Bulgaria are facing. After all refugees are part of the environment we are doing our business in," said BBLF Chairman Maxim Behar at the 10th Round Table on 'Bulgaria's EU Accession, Harmonisation of the European Asylum System, and International Protection of Refugees', that took place on 19 April. "The market in Bulgaria is now ready to take action and engage refugees in business activities. Now is the best time to launch a discussion between the political authorities, business and NGOs, so that in 3-4 years we can enjoy a truly functioning co-operation producing knowledge, expertise, sources and new opportunities. Bulgarian business is willing to walk this road. Some five years ago, talking about this with businesses was impossible in Bulgaria was impossible. Now things have changed radically and refugees should make use of that development," said Mr. Behar in conclusion. He also handed as a present to Mr. Lachezar Toshev, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Religions, the first Bulgarian copy of the BBLF 2005 Responsible Business Directory.


One of the objectives of the 10th Round Table, organised by UNHCR in Bulgaria, the State Refugees Agency with the Council of Ministers and the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Religions, was to acquaint businesses with the possibilities refugees provide for diversification of the working environment in Bulgaria, the ways in which they could be useful to business in Bulgaria, as well as to seek new opportunities to help refugees yield their own income.


Mr. Bill Drysdale, BBLF Honorary Member, who was also present at the Round Table, urged refugees and the organisations dealing with their problems, to address business in Bulgaria and BBLF members in particular with their issues, and seek solutions in co-operation with them.


The UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Bulgaria has been a BBLF member for almost a year. UNHCR Resident Representative in Bulgaria Ms. Luise Druke has actively sought and found support from BBLF members on a number of projects and occasions.

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