- Title: Criticism mounts on Poland for treatment of migrants trapped on Belarus border
- Date: 23rd August 2021
- Summary: NEAR USNARZ GORNY, POLAND (AUGUST 23, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TRANSLATOR, MAHDIEH GOLAMI, LOOKING THROUGH BINOCULARS NEAR POLAND-BELARUS BORDER POLICE OFFICERS PATROLLING NEAR BORDER POLICE VEHICLES PARKED NEAR BORDER VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS STANDING NEAR TRUCK VARIOUS OF POLISH AND BELARUSIAN BORDER STONES AND RAZOR WIRE BARRIER ON BORDER GOLAMI COMMUNICATING WITH MIGRANTS, LOOKING THROUGH BINOCULARS (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) TRANSLATOR HELPING THE OCALENIE FOUNDATION, MAHDIEH GOLAMI, SAYING: "I do not understand why, as a translator, I cannot talk to them, ask them what they need, how they feel. I could even stop talking and just write, they could respond in writing, too, but we need to be closer. Now, we are kept so far apart that I have a huge problem to communicate with them. They cannot hear me. As soon as I start to say something, the soldiers turn on engines and it makes it very difficult. The noise is disruptive." GOLAMI USING BINOCULARS (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) TRANSLATOR HELPING THE OCALENIE FOUNDATION, MAHDIEH GOLAMI, SAYING: "They (migrants) need blankets, food and medicine." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE OCALENIE FOUNDATION, PIOTR BYSTRIANIN, SAYING: "People were asking the border guards for protection and the border guards were pushing them back from the border. That means they were in contact and that means that they should give them the possibility to apply for protection. It is very easy. There is nothing to discuss here." GOLAMI SPRAYING SIGN TO COMMUNICATE WITH MIGRANTS PEOPLE HOLDING SIGNS TO COMMUNICATE WITH MIGRANTS VARIOUS OF POLICE OFFICERS STANDING ON GUARD RAZOR WIRE AND BORDER STONES ON POLAND-BELARUS BORDER SIGN READING (Polish): "COUNTRY BORDER CROSSING PROHIBITED" SIGN INFORMING THAT AREA IS MONITORED BY CAMERAS VARIOUS OF POLISH AND BELARUSIAN BORDER STONES
- Embargoed: 6th September 2021 18:13
- Keywords: Belarus Poland Warsaw migrants crossing border from Belarus migrants stuck on Poland-Belarus border migration
- Location: NEAR USNARZ GORNY, POLAND
- City: NEAR USNARZ GORNY, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Topics: Europe,Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001ERI49Q1
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Poland's government has come under criticism from human rights advocates over the plight of a group of migrants trapped for two weeks in the open between Polish and Belarusian border guards near the village of Usnarz Gorny in north-eastern Poland.
The stranded group is now made up of 24 people, according to the Polish border guard, but originally numbered more than 50.
Mahdieh Gholami, a translator working for the Ocalenie Foundation, which helps refugees, said that Polish troops were hampering her efforts to communicate with the migrants just across the border.
"As soon as I start to say something, the soldiers turn on engines and it makes it very difficult," she told Reuters on Monday (August 23).
She added the migrants need blankets, food and medicine.
Some lawyers and NGOs accuse Warsaw of treating the stranded migrants inhumanely by blocking their entry.
The Polish Human Rights Ombudsman said the Border Guard had violated the Geneva Convention by not accepting verbal declarations from some of the migrants that they wanted to apply for international protection in Poland.
"People were asking the border guards for protection and the border guards were pushing them back," said Piotr Bystrianin from the Ocalenie Foundation.
Bystrianin said that because the migrants were in contact with the guards, they should have been given the possibility to apply for protection.
Poland says allowing the migrants to enter Polish territory would encourage further illegal migration and would also play into Lukashenko's hands.
Earlier on Monday, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszcak said the country would double the troop numbers at the border and build a 2.5-metre-(8.2-foot)-high fence to stop a flow of migrants.
(Production: Kacper Pempel, Karolina Bohacova, Anna Dabrowska)
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