What is happening on the Polish-Belarusian border?

Polish | Belarusian | 20th September 2021 | Virtual Wire


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As we all know, after the recent events in Afghanistan - when the Taliban took control, many citizens decided to leave the country.

We can say that there is no other way out for the local population, especially women, who have difficulty living under the new rules, whose rights have been violated and who no longer want to live in fear in their own countries.

Therefore, Afghans who immigrated to different countries took refuge in some European countries and decided to live there. Of course, such a situation would not have gone unnoticed in many European countries. The Republic of Poland, which recently faced this problem, decided to take decisive measures. President Andrzej Duda has declared a state of emergency in two cities on the Belarusian border. It is the first time the country has used emergency measures since it abandoned the Soviet form of government in 1989.

The Polish parliament approved the declaration of a state of emergency on the Belarusian border amid increased immigration and the imminent Russian-led military exercises. This law prohibits large gatherings and limits movement for 30 days in areas bordering Poland with Belarus. Poland accuses Belarus of encouraging migrants to fly into the region with false promises of legal entry to the European Union. Belarus is not an EU member but borders three EU countries.

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Due to the increase in the number of illegal immigrants coming to the European Union via Belarus, Poland has decided to build a 150-kilometre wire fence wall on its border. According to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration of Poland, 2,100 people entered the territory of Poland illegally through the Belarusian border in August alone, while the government expects an increase in the number of illegal immigrants after the recent developments in Afghanistan.

Deputy Minister of Interior and Administration of Poland, Maciej Wasik, said in a statement that the area that is most vulnerable to the illegal border crossing between the two countries consists of 187 kilometres, and they decided to build a barbed wire wall for 150 kilometres. Recently, it has almost completed the construction of the 100 km long barbed wire fence.

The military began building the 3-meter-high structure a little over two weeks ago. Since then, 13 people have been arrested for trying to demolish the site, while opposition politicians, human rights defenders and religious leaders have camped at the border and visited the area to deliver aid and reach migrants.

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It was stated that since the rest of the border consists of rivers and swamps, it is not suitable for illegal passage. If we take into account the increasing traffic of immigrants in recent days, it was reported that a thousand Polish soldiers have started to work at the border, as well as the Polish border guards.

More than 30 illegal immigrants have been waiting to enter Poland for weeks in the border area of the village of Usnarz Gorny in northeastern Poland. There are also women and children among the immigrants, the majority of whom are Iraqis and Afghans. To be more specific, according to the Fundacja Ocalenie (Liberation Foundation), three women and a 15-year-old girl are among the migrants trapped in this region.

It was noted that the immigrants in question did not have any materials to protect themselves from cold weather and rain, such as tents and blankets. The Polish government has been heavily criticized for its treatment of stranded migrants. Efforts by activists to provide food were turned down, and they expressed serious concerns about people's health. Poland is also accused of ignoring people's verbal requests to apply for international protection. The European Court of Human Rights has since asked Poland to provide the group with aid such as food, water and temporary shelter.

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The state of emergency in Poland will cover around 200 towns within 3 km of the border, with measures lasting 30 days. Exact details of the measures were not disclosed, but Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said the implementation would have little impact on residents and would impose restrictions on outsiders. It is also worth mentioning that Lithuania has also said that it would complete a 508-km fence along its border with Belarus by September next year.

Now, it is clear that Afghan immigrants trapped on the Polish-Belarusian border are left to their fate. While the Polish army does not allow immigrants to enter the country, Belarusian border security also prevents them from returning. Some countries and people think that they are doing the right thing by not allowing immigrants to their country to protect their people, while others consider this an unacceptable and utterly horrible act against humanity.

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