The situation of migrants on the Polish-Belarusian border was addressed at a press conference by Janina Ochojska, MEP, founder of the Polish Humanitarian Action. She assessed that “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.
– Observing what is happening in the case of refugees in Poland, I must say that this situation has never been so difficult – assessed Janina Ochojska. She added that “all the problems faced by NGOs do not result from the people themselves who are migrants, but from the legal and administrative circumstances that today completely prevent the organization from accessing people who need help”.
Janina Ochojska: We, Poles, are responsible for this
– 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, emphasized Ochojska.
She said that “justifying yourself (Alyaksandr – ed.) On Lukashenka is covering up your own ineptitude, inability and reluctance”. – Even if Lukashenka unlawfully commits acts that can even be considered criminal, it does not excuse us from not helping people who need this help – she assessed. – These people are dying at the border. The question is how many dead bodies are still needed to change the attitude towards these people – she said.
Janina Ochojska: This is a huge humanitarian crisis
Ochojska emphasized that “these are not illegal people”. – The stay of these people in Poland can be legalized very quickly by recognizing their request for international protection – she added.
– We are dealing with a huge humanitarian crisis and if the state does not react to it, the willingness of non-governmental organizations and the effort will be useless – she emphasized. – The power of non-governmental organizations is enormous and we can solve many problems, people would not have to die at the border, but organizations must have resources, they must have opportunities – Ochojska emphasized.
– Let’s not separate ourselves with a wall. We have procedures to be able to decide which people can stay with us – she added.
– I would appeal to the government to try to establish some kind of dialogue with organizations. Organizations can even be helpful in the process of accepting refugees and then integrating them, Ochojska said.
Elmi Abdi: if you don’t want to let these people into Poland, let someone help them
Elmi Abdi, president of the Foundation for Somalia, also took the floor. – My journeys to Europe and Poland lasted five years. I was at the border where these people are now. I have tried more than once, not twice, not three times to cross it illegally – said Elmi Abdi, president of the Foundation for Somalia. He added that the only option he had was to cross the border illegally. Eventually, he managed to get to Poland in 1996.
– I feel sorry for the people who are there. I am very sorry that there must have been a tragedy that people died there – he said.
Abdi said that he has been in Poland for 25 years, but he would not be here if he had not met friendly Poles at the very beginning of his stay in Poland who decided to help him.
– I am now very surprised and very sad because I recently read a poll that 80 percent of Poles do not want refugees to come to Poland – he admitted. – A refugee, every person who comes or leaves the country has his own burden. It is enough to ask what the reason was – he said.
He said that “he agrees with the government that he cares for the security of Poland”, but as he added, that is what procedures are for.
– I appeal to the government, to the prime minister, to all those who make decisions. If you don’t want to let these people into Poland, at least let someone help them. He gave something to eat, warm clothes – he emphasized.
The situation on the Polish-Belarusian border
On Sunday, the Border Guard informed that the bodies of people who had crossed the border had been found in the border zone. Chief Commander of the Border Guard, Maj. Gen. Tomasz Praga said on Monday that the bodies of three migrants were found on the Polish side, and as far as the Polish Border Guard is known, the body of one person – a woman – was found on the Belarusian side.
A state of emergency has been in force since September 2 in the border zone with Belarus 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 government.
Among other things, the media are not allowed to work in the area covered by the state of emergency. All information from this area is communicated to the public by official agents.
Government officials justified the need to introduce a state of emergency with the situation on the border with Belarus, where Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime is waging a “hybrid war” with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, and with the Russian Zapad military exercises.
Since the beginning of September, the Border Guard has recorded almost 4.5 thousand attempts to illegally cross the Polish border with Belarus.
Main photo source: TVN24