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Asylum seekers in Wędrzyn (Poland) go on hunger strike

As reported by, 8 Afghan and 2 Syrian #asylumseekers residing in the #Wędrzyn#refugeecenter have started a hunger strike. They expressed their desperation in the face of a never-ending #detention and lack of advance in decisions about their status.

In Oct 2021, the Polish Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Commissioner for Human Rights conducted a control visit in the Detention Centre for Asylum Seekers in Wędrzyn and concluded that it doesn’t meet the standards of humane treatment of people held in custody. The razor wire makes it feel like a prison and there are daily explosions and gunfire from a military proving ground. Given that the residents often come from war-torn countries, such conditions could deepen their trauma.

The residents are often deprived of medical and psychological help, as well as contact with lawyers and NGOs, which makes information regarding asylum applications unattainable. There is often no warm water. These factors lead to violent clashes between the guards and the residents this November, with the officers using pepper spray.

Due to the appalling conditions A group of desperate residents of the centre decided to start a hunger strike, hoping that it will draw attention to their case.

Yusuf, a 24 year-old from #Egypt, attempted suicide 3 times in Wędrzyn. In Egypt, he was tortured for participating in anti-government protests. He has now been stuck in the detention centre for over 4 months without knowing what is happening with his application for international protection.

Omar, from #Somalia, has attempted to hang himself in Wędrzyn. During his journey to Europe, he was detained in both Libya and Nigeria and was again stopped in Poland. After his suicide attempt, Omar spent 3 weeks in a hospital, after which he was supposedly moved to another centre.

Lawyers and activists in contact with those in the centre confirm the inhumane treatment in Wędrzyn. We need to continue sharing accounts of what is happening and put pressure on authorities to treat asylum seekers with dignity. As we keep on hoping for improvements, we will keep you posted on the situation.

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