MINSK, 2 September (BelTA) – Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei commented on Poland's introduction of the state of emergency along the Belarusian border as he talked to reporters on 2 September, BelTA has learned.
“Nothing was introduced when floods happened in the past or when the pandemic engulfed entire Poland. But as soon as 32 refugees appeared near the border, Poland introduced a state of emergency. The refugees probably represent a huge threat for Poland,” the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs noted with irony.
Poland President Andrzej Duda has ordered a state of emergency along the Belarusian border due to the difficult situation with migrants.
BelTA reported earlier that representatives of Polish law enforcement agencies dropped a group of refugees on the Polish side of the border in the vicinity of the Belarusian border guard station Rusaki on 18 August. An attempt to move them into Belarus by force was made. The refugees – 32 citizens of Afghanistan, including five women – openly told representatives of Polish authorities about their intention to seek asylum and refused to cross the Belarusian border. As a protest they set up a makeshift camp in Poland's territory.
The State Border Committee of Belarus believes Poland should take all the necessary measures to resolve the situation, should let international human rights organizations and humanitarian organizations contact the refugees, and should process requests for refugee status or asylum.
Refugees from Afghanistan received humanitarian aid from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross on 1 September. Although the group is on the Polish side of the border, the State Border Committee of Belarus demonstrated good will and found it necessary to let representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross enter the border strip.
The refugees were grateful for the aid. One of the men said his name was Mohammed. In his words, the group of refugees is in very complicated conditions. The camp is located in a spongy lowland, everything turns to mud if it rains, and water gets inside the tents. “We are literally dying every day. There is no food, no clean water, it is very cold. I call upon all the governments of the world to hear us and help us. We cry every night,” he said. He stressed they receive no support from the Polish side. They had sent a request for asylum in Poland but no response has been received so far. The refugees have no idea how long the situation may last.