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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Migrants at the border. The Polish Red Cross applied for admission to the area under the state of emergency

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The Polish Red Cross applied to the state authorities to grant access to people camped on the border with Belarus. However, the president of the Polish Red Cross made a reservation that “the assumption that they will be able to cross the line of border guards and meet refugees in Usnarz is completely pointless.”

Last week, a group of activists appeared at the headquarters of the Polish Red Cross in Warsaw, demanding that the Polish Red Cross to undertake extensive humanitarian actions for people migrating to Poland from Belarus. The protesters organized a two-day “warning strike” at the organization’s headquarters.


At the Wednesday press conference, the leaders of the Polish Red Cross referred to the postulates that the Polish Red Cross should engage in supporting people camped on the Polish-Belarusian border, as well as those who cross into Polish territory.

The Polish Red Cross is applying for admission to the area under the state of emergency

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President of the board, Jerzy Bisek, noted that the Polish Red Cross can only operate within the limits of the law and it is not possible to reach the nomads, as the Polish Red Cross cannot operate in the areas under the state of emergency – a three-kilometer belt along the Polish-Belarusian border.

– The assumption that we will be able to pass the line of border guards and meet the refugees in Usnarz is completely pointless. We do not have such a possibility – noted Mariusz Malewicz, member of the board of the Polish Red Cross.

President of the Polish Red Cross, Jerzy BisekPAP / Radek Pietruszka

Activists informed that they asked the president, prime minister, speaker of the Sejm and the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration on Wednesday to include in the regulation the possibility of allowing the Polish Red Cross to operate in the areas covered by the state of emergency.

Board members explained that the Polish Red Cross “only plays an auxiliary role” towards the government and has only money from targeted subsidies, which must be spent in a specific way, and funds from collections, therefore they do not have the resources to organize the proposed assistance consisting in organizing, among others, heated tents or medical points in the border area.

– We do not have the money that the protesters accuse us of having. We do not have free funds that we could use immediately and immediately, and these were the postulates, to spend – said Malevich. – We are trying to use the funds that we manage to collect in the best possible way and spend them towards refugees – he added.

The Polish Red Cross organizes collections for migrants

The chairman of the PCK board also emphasized that the Polish Red Cross remains in contact with its Belarusian counterpart, who managed to provide the nomads with the necessary articles. – We have received information today that the Red Cross has reached this group for the third time, donating blankets, sleeping bags, health care products, and also a prosaic thing, but please see what the situation is there: foils for covering tents, sleeping bags or other belongings – said a member of the PCK board, Michał Mikołajczyk.

Polish Red Cross ConferencePAP / Radek Pietruszka

He also informed that the Polish Red Cross is organizing collections for people entering Polish territory and organizing material support for those imprisoned by the Border Guard in temporary centers. He added that the Podlasie branch of the Polish Red Cross has also prepared food packages for those who cross the border.

According to information from the Border Guard, on the Polish-Belarusian border in Usnarz Górny in the province Podlasie is still a group of twenty people who want to get to the Polish side of the border. Polish officials say that these people change and receive basic articles from the Belarusian side.

The president signed an application to extend the state of emergency

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Border Guard, Sec. Anna Michalska reported that on Monday the Border Guard recorded 339 attempts to illegally cross the Polish-Belarusian border. From the beginning of September, the Border Guard recorded over 5,000. attempts to illegally move from Belarus to Poland.

A state of emergency has been in force since September 2 in the border zone with Belarus, i.e. in part of the Podlaskie and Lubelskie provinces. It covers 183 towns. It was introduced for 30 days under the ordinance of President Andrzej Duda, issued at the request of the Council of Ministers. On Tuesday, the government decided to ask the president to extend the state of emergency for 60 days. The president signed the application.

On Thursday, the Sejm will consider the application of the President of the Republic of Poland to grant consent to the extension of the state of emergency in part of the Podlaskie Voivodeship and part of the Lubelskie Voivodeship, then the vote will take place.

Main photo source: PAP / Radek Pietruszka

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