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The situation on the Polish-Belarusian border. Construction of a fence. Dr. Hanna Machińska, deputy Ombudsman, comments

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A group of foreigners have been living in Usnarz Górny on the Polish-Belarus border for several days. Dr. Hanna Machińska, deputy Ombudsman, spoke in “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24 about “inhuman treatment” of these people. – The conditions in which these people stay are in general defiance of the notion that we treat these people as people – she said. Referring to the construction of the fence on the Polish-Belarusian border, she asked “whether it should be a symbol of the state”. – Are we supposed to show that Poland, a democratic state, can only build wire fences? – she added.

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A group of foreigners have been living in Usnarz Górny on the Polish-Belarus border for several days. A spokeswoman for the Border Guard, Anna Michalska, said that the Belarusian service in a letter to the Border Guard confirmed that nomadic foreigners are in Belarus.

On Monday, the Ombudsman, Marcin Wiącek, sent a letter to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki regarding the situation of refugees at the border. It stated that refusing to accept applications for international protection from foreigners residing in the border area was a violation of the law. In turn, on Wednesday, Wiącek asked the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, Mariusz Kamiński, to oblige the Border Guard “to enable foreigners to access the refugee procedure, based on the applicable provisions of national law, as well as international obligations resulting from international agreements concluded by Poland.”

Deputy Commissioner: I would call it torture

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Deputy Ombudsman, Dr. Hanna Machińska, was asked about the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border in “Faktach po Faktach” on TVN24.

– I would call it “inhuman treatment”, I would also call it torture – she said. She indicated that representatives of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture visited these areas twice.

– Our colleagues had the opportunity to talk to these people, they approached the border. All these people expressed their readiness to submit applications for international protection, (…) my colleagues who returned from this visit were terrified by the conditions in which these people were staying – she continued.

– The conditions in which these people stay are in general insulting the notion that we treat these people as people – continued Machińska. – This is a drama, the twenty-first century, and we look at it with indifference – she added.

Machińska: I cannot imagine Poland breaking the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

The Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights also referred to the fact that The European Court of Human Rights issued interim measures and ordered Poland and Latvia to provide water, food, medical care and, if possible, temporary shelter to migrants camped on the border with Belarus. The ECtHR noted that this did not mean that they had to be admitted to the territory of Poland and Latvia.

She said that she could not imagine Poland breaking the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

Machińska on the construction of a fence on the border: is it supposed to be a symbol of our country?

Hanna Machińska also commented on the fact that on Wednesday the army started the construction of a fence on the Polish-Belarusian border in the region of Zubrzyca Wielka in the Podlaskie Voivodeship. Ultimately, the fence is to be approximately 180 kilometers long and secure the land section of the border.

– The image you are showing – is it supposed to be a symbol of the state, or is it supposed to be a symbol of incoming people (who are – ed.) In a dramatic situation, fleeing violence? Are we supposed to show that Poland, a democratic state, can only build wire mesh? – she asked.

– This is not a defense, we do not defend ourselves, we cannot create the impression that Poland is a fortress, there will be walls and entanglements around – she continued.

– This is the 21st century, people move, these are people who need support. It cannot be that the Polish authorities remain deaf to this great expectation – said the TVN24 interviewer.

Main photo source: TVN24



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