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The story of Firaz at the Polish-Belarusian border

People often ask, "Why can't #refugees go back to their country?". Even though there is no simple answer for this, the general rule of thumb is that refugees, #asylumseekers, and #displaced#migrants often face danger, #persecution, or #death on return. This is the case with Firaz. Born in #Damascus of #Palestinian origin, he arrived in #Belarus in October 2021, hoping to enter #Poland.

Firaz was forced to leave #Syria not only because of the ongoing war but also because he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. He witnessed a woman being raped and tried to save her. The perpetrator, however, turned out to be part of an elite Armored Division intended to protect the #Asad regime. Soon after, Firaz's house was broken into, his phone repair shop was demolished, and his family received regular threats. To protect his family and save his life, he fled the country.

He reached out to #GrupaGranica in January 2022. Activists immediately prepared warm soup, food, dry clothes, and a sleeping bag and left for the dark forest. He was found lying on the floor, trembling because of the temperature and unable to move with an injured leg. Firaz was afraid of being pushed back to Belarus. He asked for protection and medical aid in Poland. The border guards picked up Firaz. The next day he was interrogated, and the application was started for international protection.

Two days later, Grupa Granica met Fariz in court, handcuffed and with difficulties walking due to injuries caused by Belarusian border police. Despite his bad physical and mental state, the judge ordered Firaz to be placed in a closed #detention center.

We already know the inhumane conditions of those centers. They include razor wire around the fence and daily sounds of explosions from the nearby military proving ground. Asylum seekers cannot be placed in closed detention centers where their traumas are deepened for several months. Their cases need to be treated faster, and they are to be given protection from the #EU.


Jarmiła Rybicka from the Granica Group talks about the intervention helping refugees and migrants lost in the border forests.

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