With chants like “shame” and “no one is illegal”, Polish mothers in particular demonstrated yesterday in the border region to Belarus against the mistreatment of refugees – especially refugee children. “We cannot stand idly by when children remain for weeks in the cold, damp and dark forests of Polish soil,” the event organizers said on Facebook.
Since August, thousands of people, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, have tried to enter the European Union from Belarus. Therefore, Poland placed 6,000 soldiers at the border and imposed a state of emergency preventing journalists and aid organizations from reaching the border. According to the refugee agency of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants have been stuck at the border for weeks “under worsening conditions”. As winter approaches, it is feared that the situation will deteriorate further.
Former First Ladies protesting
Three former Polish first ladies supported demands for a humane approach to immigrants and refugees. PAP reported yesterday that Jolanta Kwasniewska and Anna Komorowska personally participated in a protest in front of the local border guard headquarters in the eastern city of Michalow. Danuta Walesa, wife of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa, backed the appeal from afar.
Governments in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland accuse Belarus’s governor, Alexander Lukashenko, of moving refugees from crisis regions to the EU’s external borders in an orderly fashion. Lukashenko announced at the end of May that Minsk would not prevent migrants from continuing to travel to the European Union – in response to tough Western sanctions against his country. Since then, reports of attempts to cross the border illegally at the EU’s external border with Belarus have increased.
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