We are shocked and appalled about the situation on the eastern Polish (Shengen!) border. Thousands of refugees trying to cross the border are being stopped, pushed back, beaten.

Again, lives of civilians are being played by world leaders. This happened in Greece, Turkey, Morocco, and it happens now in Eastern Europe.

“Concerns over Poland’s treatment of migrants stranded on its border with Belarus are mounting after Warsaw this week ignored domestic and international criticism to extend a state of emergency and sought to portray them as dangerous deviants. The European commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, met the Polish interior minister, Mariusz Kamiński, in Warsaw on Thursday night but won no concessions on the bloc’s request for monitors from the EU’s Frontex border force to be allowed into the zone, despite growing fears for the migrants’ safety after the deaths of at least five people. Poland has sent thousands of troops to the border, built a razor-wire fence along part of its length, and on Thursday extended its state of emergency, which bars journalists and aid workers from accessing the 3km-deep strip, by a further 60 days. (…)” source / read more: Guardian.com 

“Amnesty International on Thursday accused Poland of illegally pushing back asylum-seekers into Belarus. According to the human rights NGO, Polish authorities pushed back a group of 32 Afghan asylum-seekers — including a 15-year-old girl — in late August. They had first entered the country on August 8.It said that satellite imagery and photographs showed that the group was on the Polish side of the border on August 18, but that they were “moved overnight” to the Belarusian side. (…)” | source / more: euronews.com 

“Polish border guards have begun to send text messages to migrants who are trying to cross from Belarus to Poland. In the text, they warn migrants that the border is closed and they should return to Minsk. Migrants have also been in touch with Polish NGOs, pleading with Poland to “have mercy” and take them in. “The Polish border is sealed. Belarusian authorities told you lies. Go back to Minsk!” reads the text of the mobile phone messages (SMS) that Polish border guards are now sending to migrants hoping to cross the border from Belarus into EU state Poland. (…)” | Source / more: infomigrants.net 

Amnesty report >>>

“According to data made public by the Polish Interior Ministry, between August 1 and 18, some 2,100 migrants tried to enter Poland via Belarus, out of whom 1,342 were “prevented from entering”. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, speaking on August 24 in Kuznice, a border point 30 kilometres away from Usnarz Gorny, said almost 3,000 migrants in total had attempted to enter the country so far. Of these, about 700 were now in closed refugee centres, Morawiecki said, leaving the others unaccounted for. Morawiecki also claimed the vast majority were from Iraq, in spite of media, NGO and locals’ accounts indicating a much wider group of countries of origin, including Afghanistan. “They are on the Belarusian side and Belarus is fully responsible for them according to international law,” Morawiecki claimed during the press conference. On August 20, the Polish government published an “implementing act”, which is not a proper law but an act amending a previous COVID-related law, that says it can return to the border any migrant caught in the vicinity of the border inside Poland. The act made no mention of the right to claim asylum. “Unfortunately, we have evidence that the Polish government is conducting pushbacks against many refugees,” Sterczewski, the MP from Civic Coalition, told BIRN in Usnarz Gorny. (…)” | Source / more: balkaninsight >>>

“In recent months, groups of asylum-seekers and migrants have been transiting through Belarus, to seek asylum in neighbouring EU Member States – Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. Reports of cross-border pushbacks and lack of adequate asylum access for those seeking international protections, shelter and assistance, have been relayed to UNHCR and IOM, who have been closely following the situation.  Noting that “groups of people have become stranded for weeks, unable to access any form of assistance, asylum or basic services”, the agencies said that many had been left in dire situations, exposed to the elements, and vulnerable to deadly hypothermia. “Some were rescued from swamps”, the statement added. (…)” | sources / more: news.un.org/

Polish activists, politicians, lawyers and NGOs were declined to help an even get near the border as Polish government adopted a state of emergency (prolonged now till winter). However, activists are risking and still helping refugees in the forests on the eastern border.


What can you do?

Sign a petitions:

IMMEDIATELY SUSPEND ALL DUBLIN TRANSFERS OF ASYLUM SEEKERS TO POLAND / by International Humanitarian Initiative Foundationhttps://www.openpetition.de/petition/online/immediately-suspend-all-dublin-transfers-of-asylum-seekers-to-poland

POLAND – Let volunteers and medics help Afghans seeking asylum | https://www.change.org/p/poland-let-volunteers-and-medics-help-afghan-refugees


Photos from the “Unsere Grenzen / Nasze granice” demo which we organised on 23.9.2021

Photos: Soja Photography