By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Germany has demanded the “humane” treatment of migrants at the European Union’s external border with Belarus. The appeal comes days after Worthy News and other outlets highlights the plight of migrants fleeing war persecution and poverty who are trapped near Poland.
The appeal comes days after Worthy News and other outlets highlighted the plight of migrants fleeing war, persecution, and poverty who are trapped near Poland.
These people hope to cross into countries such as Poland, a member of the European Union. They then aim to continue their journey towards more prosperous and more welcoming western EU countries such as Germany.
However, human rights investigators and migrants in the area have condemned Poland’s treatment of migrants. They say migrants fleeing war, persecution, and poverty are pushed back towards Belarus despite worsening weather conditions. Several migrants are known to have died in recent weeks due to sometimes freezing temperatures and exhaustion.
The 27-nation bloc has accused Belarus of inviting and encouraging migrants to enter the nearby European Union illegally to pressure the EU. Minsk is furious that Brussels placed sanctions on the government of authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko because of his perceived crackdown on dissent.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that he condemned Lukashenko for he called “instrumentalizing refugees.” But Steffen Seibert also made clear that countries such as Poland should treat arriving migrants humanely. “The Belarusian ruler Lukashenko exploits refugees and migrants, and that is completely unacceptable. And at the same time, effective border protection must always respect humanity and applicable law,” he stressed.
“From the point of view of the Federal Government, it is primarily important that the people who are now on the border, those seeking protection, that they quickly receive the necessary support. Especially now with falling temperatures, so that they can get clothing, food, the necessary medication. So humane solutions for these people have to be found quickly,” Seibert added.
However, he said he realized that “of course, they must also be following European and national law at the entrance and with European values.”
Seibert recalled that outgoing Chancellor Merkel had discussed the issue with Poland’s prime minister in Warsaw last month.
Since July, thousands of migrants have crossed into Poland from Belarus.
The country has already laid more than 150 kilometers of barbed wire along its border to stop them.
Poland and nearby Latvia and Lithuania also declared a state of emergency, with Lithuania in the process of building a four-meter-high metal fence along its border with Belarus.
Advocacy group Amnesty International says it is illegal to force migrants back who are trying to claim asylum. But Poland has denied wrongdoing.
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, a European legislator for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party, calls the migrants “fake asylum seekers.”
“They are brought by specially chartered planes from Baghdad and some other places and not from Afghanistan, by the way,” he claimed. “They pay for their trip $10,000 to $15.000 to smugglers. They are put into four-star hotels in Minsk. Then they are transported to the border by Belarussian services and dressed into green Belarusian uniforms,” Saryusz-Wolski added.
“It is a hybrid war. Poland is not allowing them in fulfilling their obligations under Polish and EU law and not pushing them back as falsely claimed by Amnesty International,” the legislator said.
But while the political wrangling continues, the situation is getting increasingly difficult for migrants who remain on the EU’s outer borders, trapped between hope and fear.
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