Volunteers involved in providing humanitarian aid to people on the Polish-Belarusian border are counting on change in the post-election reality. – We appeal to politicians: immediately stop deportations to the Belarusian forest – says Piotr Czaban from the Podlasie Voluntary Humanitarian Emergency Service. – We need to stop the practice of push-backs and everything that involves endangering the lives and health of people who have crossed the border – there is no doubt about it, Krzysztof Gawkowski from the Left. – But first we have to take power. And this will take time, he adds.
Despite the construction of a barrier, there is still unrest on the Polish-Belarusian border, and dozens of migrants are pushed to Poland by Belarusian services every day. Those who manage to avoid Polish guards roam the forests of Podlasie. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to survive this practice. Earlier this week, the body of a foreigner was found near the tracks in the village of Dobrowoda. Another died in the presence of border guards.
“More than 50 people have died during the humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. Each of them had a family, plans, their own story,” volunteers write on social media.
Appeal to those in power: “Let’s restore Poland’s dignity”
At the same time, they appeal to the newly elected politicians, previously democratic opposition, to take action as soon as possible to end the humanitarian crisis at the border.
Piotr Czaban addresses Donald Tusk, Szymon Hołownia, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz and Włodzimierz Czarzasty directly on social media.
– Let’s end this guerrilla movement on the border. Let us restore the rights enshrined in the Geneva Convention. Let’s organize systemic humanitarian aid, says the activist in the published recording. – We would like to have our own lives, we would like the state to finally respect human rights. So that people in the forest will not be transported to Belarus. Do something to make Poland normal also near the border with Belarus. Don’t leave us here alone. We are waiting for your decisions. Let’s restore Poland’s dignity, stop humiliating and discriminating against those who are fleeing war and poverty, he appeals.
“Push-backs must end”
Politicians who may soon form a government agree that the push-back policy must be ended as soon as possible. – We need to stop the practice of push-backs and everything that involves endangering the lives and health of people who have crossed the border – says Krzysztof Gawkowski.
– But first, we need to accept the government. Until we adopt the government, and there is no indication that it will happen quickly, nothing can be changed, not even a regulation that is illegal. I believe that the president will not come to his senses, that there will be no situation where there will be a quick government consisting of the opposition. This will all take time. I suppose that we can only talk about mid-December and then we will actually be able to talk about a new government consisting of a parliamentary majority of 248 seats. And then, of course, we will make appropriate decisions regarding the border – he announces.
Klaudia Jachira, an MP from the Civic Coalition, who was involved in helping on the Polish-Belarusian border and, together with MP Urszula Zielińska, ran a parliamentary office in Hajnówka, adds that breaking the law against migrants will soon end.
– I see what is happening at the border, there are more deaths. I also saw posts from volunteers, including: from the Granica Group. I’m always sad, but I feel like this is the end of it. We have a clear position as a Civic Coalition, especially as the Greens, and we focus on compliance with the law that should apply. After all, we are in the European Union, we have an obligation to respect human rights and international agreements. Therefore, asylum applications must be considered and granted to those who are entitled to it. – says Klaudia Jachira in an interview with “Wprost”.
– If someone is not entitled to asylum, there are appropriate procedures rather than being thrown abroad, into the forest, often to death. We also want normal, European conditions to prevail in centers for foreigners, so that migrants are not treated in such a way that they are forced to go on hunger strikes, he adds.
Migration policy. What will the opposition government do?
Jachira emphasizes that in this situation, no new systemic solution is needed, but a return to compliance with the law, which, in her opinion, has been repeatedly violated by the PiS government for two years.
– This entire regulation on push-backs is inconsistent with both the Polish constitution and international law. Now we are in limbo. Until we, as a democratic party, are given the opportunity to form a government, our hands are tied, and unfortunately it may take until mid-December. For now, we are waiting for the president to decide who will appoint the person who will form the government, and then we, as the parliamentary majority, will be able to take specific steps, emphasizes Jachira.
– In fact, now all we need to do is withdraw the regulation of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, which is inconsistent with the constitution and international law. We cannot and will no longer allow people to die in Polish forests in the 21st century, because it has nothing to do with the rule of law and it must be changed as soon as possible. I think it will also improve security, because now there is an uncontrolled flow of migrants at the border and, in addition, visa trade. PiS exposed Poles to danger and sentenced migrants to death in the forest. This will all end soon, says the KO MP.
Krzysztof Gawkowski announces that the new government, once constituted, should act in two ways.
– First of all, we should carry out the tasks that we are supposed to do in accordance with international agreements, that is, take care of people who cross the border, check them and only then send them back if there are any indications. However, if there are indications for asylum, it must also be granted, announces Gawkowski. – At the same time, we should sensitize the Border Guard not to allow situations that could result in a health crisis for migrants or even death.