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Unequal treatment of refugees within the Polish legal system

Since the beginning of the #Russian aggression on #Ukraine, over 3 million refugees have arrived in #Poland. Even though much of the immediate humanitarian aid has been provided by NGOs and volunteers, central and local governments have both answered quickly to this sudden influx of #refugees. Policies and laws regarding the legalisation of stay and work were adapted, including the process of obtaining Polish identification numbers or allowing highly skilled workers like doctors and academics to get employment following the same rules as Poles.⁣

The #Belarusian community in Poland, who solidarize with Ukrainians, have highlighted that many Belarusians still continue to flee repression in their country. The Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, together with the Belarusian Solidarity Center in Warsaw, thus collaborated with the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs on a new policy, which ensures issuing of visas and legalising stay for Belarusians in Poland.⁣

However, the ease with which the Polish government introduces legal changes for those escaping the brutality carried out by the Russian and Belarusian regimes, highlights just how little is done for refugees from other countries.⁣

Independent news channels and activists keep reporting about refugees from the countries such as #Syria or #Iraq, who are stuck at the Polish-Belarusian border. Without a safe way to enter Poland, they endure life threatening conditions in the border forests. A small number of those who manage to enter and seek asylum are kept in closed camps – or as many activists call them – refugee prisons, for prolonged periods of time.⁣

This unequal treatment of refugees by the Polish legal system is a direct consequence of the unofficially published Polish Migration Policy document from 2019, which differentiates between refugees based on factors such as the level of education, their country of origin or association with organisations that are deemed “radical”.⁣

ALL those fleeing for a safer life are deserving of protection, regardless of where they come from, their education levels or profession!

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