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The state of 32 asylum seekers at the Polish-Belarusian border

About three weeks ago, 32 #asylumseekers from #Afghanistan have been stuck in ‘no man’s land’ between the Polish and Belarusian borders in #UsnarzGórny. While the asylum seekers have requested ‘international protection’ in #Poland, the appeals were blatantly ignored by the Polish border guards; a direct violation of the 1951 Geneva Convention Protocol. The Polish authorities claim that the asylum seekers are not actually on Polish land thus they cannot provide any support to them.

Several NGO workers, journalists, translators, medics, lawyers, politicians and activists are currently at Usnarz Górny, however, direct contact with the asylum seekers has been impossible, owing to the 300m barrier that was being created by the Polish border guards. Any form of communication took place over speakerphones, which most of the time, was interrupted by the border guards by turning on their engines and sirens to block people from passing information to each other.

NGOs have not been permitted to provide food, shelter, sleeping bags, medicines and warm clothes. There are no toilets or showering facilities. Activists and politicians attempting to deliver food or medicines were met with threats of smuggling charges. Many asylum seekers as of today are sick owing to the harsher weather conditions are getting worse with no proper medical attention. While the European Court of #humanrights requested "that the Polish authorities provide all the applicants with food, water, clothing, adequate medical care and, if possible, temporary shelter” there is still no action taken by the Polish government.

Poland has started to build a barbed-wire fence on the border and as of yesterday, the President #Duda declared a state of emergency in this region at the request of the government. Now, with the ongoing #pushbacks, the authorities can limit the right to gather, protest and also restrict communications, including the #press and #socialmedia.

The situation is far from stable and we oppose this #inhumane and #dehumanising treatment of asylum seekers.

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