Saturday, November 27

Border with Belarus: Poland’s parliament approves plan for border installation

As of: 10/29/2021 5:54 p.m.

Poland’s parliament has given the go-ahead for the construction of a fortified structure on the border with Belarus. This is intended to curb illegal entries from the neighboring country. Previously, there had been an increasing number of reports of pushbacks.

The Polish parliament has approved the construction of a fortified structure on the border with Belarus. The national conservative government reacted to the influx of refugees at the EU’s external border with the project, which cost around 353 million euros. Polish President Andrzej Duda is expected to enact the law in the next few days by signing it.

The border barrier should extend over a length of more than 100 kilometers along the eastern EU external border. Since August, thousands of people seeking protection – mostly from the Middle East and Africa – have tried to cross the Polish border from Belarus. Warsaw had already stationed thousands of soldiers at the border in the past few weeks, erected a barbed wire fence and declared a state of emergency in the border area.

Amnesty criticizes Poland for pushbacks

The human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) has meanwhile criticized the fact that refugees in the border area are being pushed back by Polish officials. Such pushbacks are contrary to international law and should not be accepted, explained asylum expert Franziska Vilmar from AI Germany. Rather, those seeking protection have the right to an asylum procedure “regardless of how they came to the European Union”.

The protection of the European external border should not lead to it being closed to refugees, said Vilmar. “That is why fences and walls or the demand to close the German-Polish border are not a solution.” The people who have been holding out in catastrophic conditions in the border area for weeks should finally be brought to the fore in the debate.

“The responsibility clearly lies in Minsk”

Amnesty had previously reported illegal pushbacks in the Polish-Belarusian border area. Poland is repeatedly pushing back those seeking protection at the EU’s external border trying to get into the European Union via Belarus. In response to EU sanctions, the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko declared in the spring that he would no longer stop migrants heading for the European Union. Poland – as well as Lithuania and Latvia – reacted by increasing the security of the border with Belarus.

The EU accuses Lukashenko of literally smuggling people from crisis areas. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had described him as the “head of a state smuggling ring”. A spokeswoman for the Federal Foreign Office said that help must be given to the people at the border. At the same time, the need of refugees should not be used as a means of political pressure. “The responsibility for resolving this crisis clearly rests with Minsk,” she said, referring to the Belarusian government. Jordan says it has already blocked numerous charter flights with migrants to Belarus.

A spokeswoman for the German government said the government was behind the European Commission’s promise to financially support the EU states Poland, Latvia and Lithuania in protecting their borders.

Federal police reported almost 4,900 migrants in October

More and more refugees find their way to Germany on the new escape route. In the first four weeks of October, the federal police registered 4,889 migrants after unauthorized entry via Belarus and Poland. That was more than twice as many as in September. For the year as a whole, the Federal Police put the number of unauthorized entries on the Belarus route at 7,300.

The federal police on the German-Polish border has been exposed to high migratory pressure since August. “There are currently no signs of an easing of the situation,” said the authority.

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