Due to the migration crisis, Dunja Mijatovic, Commissioner of the Council of Europe for Human Rights, came to the Polish-Belarusian border on Tuesday. She met local authorities and representatives of non-governmental organizations. She will continue her visit tomorrow. As she reported, then she will meet in Warsaw with representatives of the Polish authorities.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, stated that the reason why she is in Poland is the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border.
– The situation is clearly extremely complex and problematic. We see the enormous suffering of the people who are suspended there. It is absolutely unacceptable what Belarus is doing and how people are manipulated, she said.
Mijatovic about the activists of the NGO on the border: they are the ones who save the face of Europe
– At the same time, I think we have to go away for a while and think about what is happening at the border of Europe, why these people are on hold, what we can do to stop this extremely dangerous situation – she added.
She emphasized that she had met with representatives of non-governmental organizations that provide aid on the Polish-Belarusian border. – They are the ones who save the face of Europe – said Mijatovic. She pointed out that, like journalists, they are not allowed to enter the area under the state of emergency. – It is difficult for me to understand why in the 21st century, when journalists in a situation of war can be at the point of conflict, they cannot be here. It should be possible for humanitarian and international organizations as well, including the United Nations and others who are doing their important work, she said.
“In order to de-escalate, we must stop using hate speech”
“We have to find a way to de-escalate, ensure that we really focus on stopping this suffering,” she added. – Geopolitical games can go on, but in order to de-escalate, we must stop using hate speech. Rhetoric, which does not help here in Poland, in Europe and the rest of the world – said Mijatovic.
The Commissioner assessed that the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border was “an alarm, a call to change the narrative”. “At this stage, I can only thank you for your work, for trying to report what is happening here,” she told journalists. “I really wish you could act on the border,” she added.
Mijatovic said she would issue a recommendation that she would pass on to 47 members of the Council of Europe as an assessment of her visit. – We have to save lives and that is the basic message – she concluded.
Tvn24.pl report: The crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border
Meeting with local government representatives and volunteers of non-governmental organizations
Earlier, the TVN24 reporter Przemysław Kaleta reported that Mijatovic met, among others, with representatives of local authorities, including the mayor and deputy mayor of Michałów. She also talked to volunteers from foundations and non-governmental organizations that provide humanitarian aid.
As Kaleta said, “the commissioner listened to the situation at the very border, what the crisis is facing, and how NGOs are helping or trying to help.” Among her interlocutors were volunteers of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity.
– The Commissioner (us – editor) thanked us very much. These are things that are unanimous with the idea of a common Europe. That is why it is here (Mijatovic – ed.) To take a look, to give his assessment of the standards of human rights on the Polish-Belarusian border, said the head of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, Jerzy Owsiak.
As he added, “everyone must take it into account, at every latitude”. – If there are situations where we have to act in accordance with conventions, with the law, we have to take into account that people who control it, who want to help and observe it, he added.
On Monday, Mijatovic met with the human rights ombudsman
She admitted that it was “difficult to say” what she expected from the visit. – The situation is very complex, as the Commissioner for Human Rights I want to be of help to the Polish authorities, member states of the Council of Europe and to people – she said. She noted that it is extremely important for her to talk and meet people.
When asked if she thought human rights were respected on the Polish-Belarusian border, she replied: “no, not really.”
The Commissioner, on the other hand, said that the commissioner had come for a four-day “humanitarian visit, the purpose of which is to observe the protection of human dignity and humanitarian protection of people who are on Polish territory.”
Wiącek said that he had talked with Mijatovice about the activities he is taking as the Ombudsman in this regard and about regular visits to the border with the participation of the employees of the Ombudsman’s office. When asked what effect this visit could bring, he said that “the Commissioner came to see with her own eyes what was happening and the result will be the formulation of a position, opinion, recommendation”.
Main photo source: TVN24