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Detained asylum seekers in Leznowola camp in Poland go on hunger strike

On April 19th, five of the #Syrian#refugees from #Lesznowola in #Poland went on a #hungerstrike to protest against their unfounded, prolonged stay at the facility. One Pole also joined the strike in #solidarity from outside of the camp.

In their letter to the Office for Foreigners and the manager of the center, the group of refugees reported feeling intense psychological pressure and exhaustion due to being treated as criminals „since [they] entered the Polish territory, as [they] had no choice but to cross illegally and had no intention on inflicting harm on anyoneˇ. Moreover, the confinement within the center only adds to the trauma the group has previously experienced.

The group also stated that they have sent requests to various public institutions regarding their case, to which they received no reply. The purpose of the protest is to transfer them to an open camp, where, as they say, “[they] can feel free for the first time in [their] lives”.

During the protest the condition of the participants has visibly deteriorated. Despite that, they did not receive appropriate help from the officials at the camp. One person was hospitalised, but was released at their own request to continue the protest.

A few days after the hunger strike started the official account of the Polish Border Guards has published a Twitter thread describing the camp in Lesznowola and speaking highly of its many facilities, which create an environment appropriate for refugees. However, Grupa Granica, deemded the facility a „prison”, stressing that it is against Polish law to hold people who have suffered torture in closed facilities

On the 27th of April a group of people gathered in front of the closed camp to protest in solidarity with the refugees on hunger strike.

A day later talks were held between the officials of the camp, lawyers and protesters - which have been assured of their transfer to the open facility by the end of the following week and will receive full medical and psychological support. This promise has allowed refugees to end their hunger strike after 10 days.

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