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Migrants in Michałów are asking for asylum. No applications for protection have been accepted. Expert comments.

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The recordings clearly show that a man who is a migrant is asking for asylum in our country. The Border Guard argues that these asylum declarations from Michałów were only for show. Patryk Rabiega about asylum, the principles of its granting and rights to it. Material of the magazine “Polska i Świat”.

– We want asylum. We want to stay in Poland. Asylum in Poland – says one of migrants staying in Michałów. The lawyers have no doubts – the moment the man says these words, the asylum procedure should begin.


However, applications for protection were not accepted from the migrants who camped in the Border Guard post in Michałów at the end of September. Instead, these people were deported to the border with Belarus.

The Border Guard is obliged to accept an application for asylum

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– Even textbooks for the Border Guard clearly say that the first stage of the asylum procedure is to express the will to apply for asylum, they do not have to be formulas or documents – notes Jacek Białas from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR). He admits that the current state of emergency does not override the application of national law, statutes or directives.

A migrant at the facility in Michałów applies for asylum in PolandTVN24

Then the legal machine starts and the next formal procedures are beyond the competences of the guards. – The Border Guard is obliged to accept such a request, it is not a body authorized to consider such a request – emphasizes Agnieszka Matejczuk from the Association for Legal Intervention. The border guard claims that these asylum declarations from Michałów were only for show. – It was completely different in the Border Guard rooms. The officers offered to accept the application, pulled out the documents, asked “asylum Poland?”, Heard that no, that “Asylum Berlin” – says 2nd Lt. Anna Michalska from the Border Guard. He admits at the same time that an interpreter speaking their language was not present.

Reports on access to the asylum procedure in Poland

Similar problems at the border – including the language barrier and difficulties in accessing lawyers – have already been alerted in recent years by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Office of the Human Rights Defender in their reports. “During the conversation, an officer of the Polish Border Guard makes a note – in Polish. The foreigner does not understand its content, does not know if it is consistent with what he said” – it was written in the report.

Tadeusz Kołodziej from the Ocalenie Foundation says that the Border Guard officers “present certain papers to foreigners, who do not understand what is in these papers”. – And their translator only assures that this is standard procedure. They are not aware of what they are signing – he adds.

They are often not aware of the fact that the interpretation of answers to questions about the purpose of their arrival may affect their further fate. “Often in the interview, questions are asked about the willingness to work in Poland, which by some officers is interpreted as proof of arriving for work. (…) A woman can talk about rape and that she needs medical help – and this will be written as ‘entry for medical purposes’ (no right to protection)’ – it was written in the HFHR report.

Problems with compliance with asylum procedures in Poland

According to experts in the field of migration law, little has changed over the years in compliance with asylum procedures. The current crisis on the border is not conducive to improvement. – It still happens that, for example, due to the low level of professionalism of the translator, the statements of foreigners are misinterpreted, which further causes problems – says Agnieszka Matejczuk.

– At the very beginning, a foreigner may not be able to say everything mentally, only later he opens up – says Jacek Białas. He emphasizes that “there is no research conducted by experts”, such as psychologists. Rangers argue that all aid, from food to medical, is provided to migrants. Last year, less than 3,000 people applied for international protection in Poland. 400 of them were awarded. This year, by the end of September, there were over 5,000 applications, and 900 foreigners were granted protection.

How many applications have never been submitted to officials, although, as in this case, according to lawyers, they should? It is not known.

Main photo source: TVN24

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