In the face of migrants who found themselves at the Border Guard building in Michałów, “the procedure was applied in accordance with the ordinance,” said Katarzyna Zdanowicz, a spokeswoman for the Podlasie Border Guard Unit, in an interview with TVN24 reporter Marta Abramczyk. She added that the group, which included women and children, had been sent back to the border and “now they are in Belarus”.
On Tuesday, the journalists of “Gazeta Wyborcza” described the events that had taken 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 are people from Iraq and Turkish Kurds. “They refused to enter the building, lying on the sidewalk, despairing,” it was described.
“They sat down on the ground, embraced, grabbed their shoulders, hugged the children. They folded their hands as if they were praying. They chanted: ‘Poland!’ With no intention of moving from here” – we read in the article. “Such a vicious circle does not work” – appealed the migrants, quoted by “GW”, who did not want to be pushed between the Belarusian and Polish border services.
Activists from the Granica Group tried to contact the migrants, but the dialogue was supposed to be hampered by Border Guard officers. As reported by “Wyborcza”, the Border Guard did not want to accept food and diapers for children provided by volunteers. The guards claimed that hot meals were prepared for migrants in the Border Guard building in Michałów.
What happened to the migrants 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. But she could not say where they came from, how many there are and what age they are.
On Monday, Zdanowicz informed that the Border Guard was “analyzing the whole situation”. – After verifying whether any of the people need medical help, where they are from, or have documents with them, we will take appropriate steps – she announced. At that time, it did not specify what activities it was about.
“Humanitarian crisis” at the border strip
The state of emergency in the border zone with Belarus, i.e. in part of the Podlaskie and Lubelskie provinces, is in force from September 2 to October 2 and covers 183 localities. The government has already announced that it wants to extend the state of emergency for another 60 days. President Duda has already announced that apply to the Sejm for an extension of the state of emergency.
During this time, journalists have no access to the area of the state of emergency and cannot report on events in the area. Representatives of aid organizations, medics and lawyers are also not allowed to stay there. They are appealing to let them help migrants.
The European Court of Human Rights decided that Poland must provide migrants staying at the Polish-Belarusian border with food, clothes, medical care, and access to contact with lawyers. Two attorneys, a legal advisor and an interpreter despite this were not admitted to migrants on Tuesday.
Janina Ochojska, the founder of the Polish Humanitarian Organization, signaled last week that at the border “we are dealing with a huge humanitarian crisis”. – I would like us all to understand that what is happening on this border will bear our responsibility. We are responsible for it. We, Polish citizens, she said. She emphasized that the migrants staying there are not “illegal people”.
Main photo source: Agnieszka Sadowska / Agencja Gazeta