Migration through Belarus: Poland introduces new border law

Migration through Belarus: Poland introduces new border law

DThe Polish House of Representatives, the Sejm, on Wednesday passed a new “Law on the Protection of the State Border”. Among other things, this means that the access restrictions in the border area with Belarus, which were in force since early September, could be extended. Due to the unauthorized entry of many migrants, a state of emergency was imposed on a nearly three-kilometre wide strip along the Belarus border, which, according to the constitution, cannot be in force for more than three months. Entering this border strip was strictly prohibited for journalists and representatives of humanitarian organizations were largely forbidden.

Gerhard Gnouk

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in Warsaw.

The new law provides that the Minister of the Interior may, by future ordinance, impose such restrictions on the Polish EU’s external border if “public safety and order” or the safety of state employees is at risk and, furthermore, the fulfillment of international treaties. Guaranteed by Poland. Exceptions should be made for journalists, among other things, if border guards allow them to work “for a certain period of time and according to certain rules”.

Lukashenko strikes hard on Lithuania

In the event of a violation, a fine will be imposed as before, which, as in previous practice, was approximately equal to 100 euros. Humanitarian workers could in principle also obtain permits, but this is not specifically mentioned in the law. The House of Lords, the Senate dominated by the opposition, proposed amendments to the bill, but these were rejected. Warsaw’s two opposition lawmakers have now opened an office in the border strip. Through their presence, they seek to contribute to the solution of the “humanitarian crisis at the border”.

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Belarusian dictator alexander lukashenko It meanwhile invaded Lithuania, which is also affected by the migration crisis. Lukashenko said that the Lithuanian “villains” went as far as “murdering” the migrants. “Yesterday they brought a body to our border, tonight another body was found,” Lukashenko said on Monday. Lithuania’s border guards responded on Tuesday: “We categorically reject this propaganda and consider such communication from our neighboring country to be absurd.” A small mission of 40 officers will continue to operate in Lithuania from 1 December.

In both countries, but also on the German-Polish border, the number of migrants entering through Belarus has declined. Polish authorities said Monday that 134 attempts by migrants to cross the border illegally were stopped. Meanwhile, Poland has begun deporting migrants who are not entitled to asylum to their home countries on small-scale scheduled flights.

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