A group of migrants who found themselves on the territory of Poland was sent back to the border with Belarus. Among these people were women and children. – The push-back procedure is based on the fact that they are taken to the border line, thrown out in the middle of the forest, regardless of the weather conditions – explained Joanna Klimowicz, a journalist from “Gazeta Wyborcza” from Białystok. According to the Director General of the Polish UNICEF, Marek Krupiński, “Poland is breaking the convention it was the author of and signed it herself”.
On Tuesday, journalists of “Gazeta Wyborcza” described the events that took place the day before in front of the Border Guard post in Michałów in Podlasie. As they reported, there were over 20 migrants there, including women and eight children. “They refused to enter the building, lying on the sidewalk, despairing,” it was described.
READ MORE. What happened to the children from Michałów
On Wednesday, Katarzyna Zdanowicz, a spokeswoman for the Podlasie Border Guard Unit, said in an interview with TVN24 reporter Marta Abramczyk that “the procedure was applied to migrants in accordance with the regulation”. When asked if this meant that they had been taken back to the border, Zdanowicz replied: – Yes, they were brought to the border line and now they are in Belarus. The spokeswoman confirmed that there were women and children among the migrants.
Marek Krupiński, Director General of the Polish National Committee of UNICEF, and Joanna Klimowicz, a journalist from “Gazeta Wyborcza” from Białystok, commented on the matter in “Fakty po Faktach”.
The situation of migrants at the border. “Inhuman Ping Pong”
– The push-back procedure is that they are [migranci-red.] they are taken to the border line, thrown in the middle of the forest, regardless of the weather conditions (…) and pushed towards Belarus. There they meet Belarusian border guards who use the same procedure, pushing them to Poland – explained Joanna Klimowicz. As she added, “this is a vicious circle.”
– They say it’s inhuman ping pong. They are victims of this system, both on one side and on the other side of the border. I am convinced that this was the case with this group from Michałów – she assessed.
When asked about what happens to people who come from the border to Polish hospitals, Klimowicz explained that “if their health condition improves slightly, they are also returned to the border”. “So they end up in these inhumane conditions on the border from hospitals,” she added.
When asked what the work in the zone under the state of emergency looks like, Klimowicz replied that it was very difficult. – First of all, it is extremely frustrating and this frustration in us journalists who work on the border is growing. We are helpless. We are not able to verify the information because we cannot enter this zone – she said.
– Such cases happen every day. If the border guard mentions 430 people returned to the border, there are over 400 cases of such families. These aren’t just lonely young men who go across borders. These are families with little children. In the group from Michałów, the youngest was not one year old – she noted. She assessed that these people deserve protection and follow international procedures that are designed to “help these people, and then verify who they are, what they came for and whether they are entitled to refugee status”.
Director of the Polish UNICEF: we will demand an explanation
Marek Krupiński announced that a report is being prepared, which is to be sent to the desk of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. – We will demand an explanation, because what is happening is a scandal. Poland is breaking the convention which it itself was the author and signed by itself. We have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child – he stressed.
– I have no words of indignation at the situation that is happening and at the heartlessness of decision-makers. We have been observing such ping pong for several days – he said.
When asked about UNICEF’s assessment of the situation on the border, Krupiński said that “so far, the news is scant, because there is incredible information chaos”. – We obtain information about the fatalities from reliable sources. This is damnable. In a few years we will be shown guilty – he added.
– We are fed with propaganda and information about which we have doubts. We find it hard to believe the images and information we have heard. (…) There is a terrible image of our country outside. On the one hand, the border must be protected, but on the other hand, one should have a sense of humanity – said the TVN24 guest.
Main photo source: Agnieszka Sadowska / Agencja Gazeta