The Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for Migration and Pilgrimages spoke about the migrants reaching the Polish borders. “A humane and evangelical response to problems related to migrants and refugees can never be limited or suspended by any jurisdiction. Hospitality towards a stranger is one of the determinants of our faith” – writes Bishop Krzysztof Zadarko, chairman of the KEP.
A group of foreigners wanders in Usnarz Górny in the woods on the Polish-Belarusian border. They want to get to Poland and apply for international aid. The crossing to the Polish side is guarded by soldiers and Border Guard officers. On the other hand, from the Belarusian side, they are blocked from a possible retreat by the local services.
On Friday to migrants lawyers and a doctor, among others, tried to get in. They were not allowed into the group. – These people have a cold. Probably a few of these people already have pneumonia. I brought medications, antibiotics and, if possible, I would like to try to help – said the doctor.
The Minister of National Defense wrote on Friday that the “problem on the Polish-Belarusian border” is “a dirty game of Lukashenka and the Kremlin” (the leaders of Belarus and Russia – ed.). Maciej Wąsik, the deputy head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, previously claimedthat the nomadic migrants are mostly “young and strong” men, and that “there is no indication that they are in danger of doing something bad in their country.” He added that Poland’s task was to protect the borders of the country and the European Union and to care for the “safety of citizens”.
KEP Council on the situation of migrants in Usnarz Górny
On Sunday, the communiqué on this matter was issued by the Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.
“We are aware of the complexity of geopolitical conditions causing the current migration processes. We are convinced that those responsible for complying with the law will fully respect international obligations towards people seeking protection, including the right to submit an application for international protection” – wrote the chairman of the Council, Bishop Krzysztof Zadarko.
He noted that “governments obviously have the right to take action against illegal immigration, while respecting human rights.” “At the same time, one should bear in mind the fundamental difference that exists between refugees – who flee the country for political, religious, ethnic or other forms of persecution or war – and those who simply seek illegal entry into the country and those who leave only to improve your financial situation “- he explained.
The announcement stated that “the Christian’s task is to recognize and accept Christ in the stranger.” “Indifference is not an authentically Christian attitude. Let us ignite the imagination of mercy, which will allow us to join in helping those who need it, thus undertaking the mission of the Good Samaritan” – it was written.
The letter of John Paul II was also recalled, who in one of the Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees wrote that “the command contained in the words of Jesus: ‘I was a stranger and you accepted me’ remains fully in force in all circumstances and is a challenge to everyone’s conscience, who want to follow in his footsteps. ”
Bishop Zadarko: a special responsibility rests with politicians and the media
Zadarko appealed to “people of good will – regardless of their religion” for “solidarity with the war refugees who come to us, people who are persecuted or suffering from poverty”. He recalled the words of Pope Francis: “It is not only about migrants, it is about our humanity”.
As he emphasized, “in a situation of tension, particular responsibility rests with politicians and the media.”
“Representatives of all political forces, we ask that when looking for solutions to complicated migration problems, they should be guided above all by the attitudes of hospitality, respect for newcomers and the common good of Poles. Understandable concern for their own citizens cannot be a sufficient premise to justify closing borders to those seeking shelter” – we read in the message.
“Denying visitors their fundamental rights is turning away from your own history”
“Human drama cannot become an instrument for arousing xenophobic moods, especially those aroused in the name of a false patriotism that demeaning people coming from another region of the world, another culture or religion. It is inhuman and non-Christian to fear others,” it continued.
It was reminded here that “our ancestors were emigrants and refugees during the partitions, during World War II and during communism”, as well as “they experienced help from people of other cultures and religions”.
“Denying newcomers their fundamental rights is turning away from our own history and denying our Christian heritage,” concluded Bishop Zadarko. He also expressed his gratitude to the local communities, parishes and aid organizations that provided assistance to migrants and refugees.
Main photo source: PAP / Artur Reszko