While the whole of Poland is in the sweat of its brow helping people fleeing Russia-attacked Ukraine, a humanitarian crisis continues on the Polish-Belarusian border, with people dying. After a winter of calm, the scale of the drama is beginning to rise again.
In March 2022, we had more interventions than during the whole of January and February 2022. Activists are finding people with disabilities, children on the autism spectrum, babies, children, women and men in the forests. We meet people who, for up to five months, have been forcibly pushed once by the Belarusian and once by the Polish side.
The accounts from the Belarusian side are chilling: beatings, rapes, thefts, threats. The ban on entry into the border area on the Polish side, which has been extended until the end of June 2022, is all the more shocking. Humanitarian and human rights organisations as well as the media are still not allowed to enter the border forests (apart from exceptions in the form of entries for journalists, completely controlled by the authorities).
The last few days have also brought the first court ruling, declaring pushbacks illegal. This is yet another precedent, following court decisions to discontinue fines for entry into the zone on life-saving grounds, which may affect the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border….
We will describe all this in detail in our report on lawlessness on the border, which we will put in your hands at the end of April.
Report and our work on Polish-Belarusian border benefits from a grant under the Active Citizens Fund – Regional Programme from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, through the EEA Grants.