Mikowaj Petrzak, a lawyer and representative of people living on the Polish-Belarus border, spoke on TVN24 on Sunday about the situation at the border crossing. “There is torture,” he said. He also referred to the amendments made to the decree signed by the Minister of Interior and Administration. – This solution contradicts the Geneva Convention – values.
On Saturday morning, in the town of Usners Gorny, border guards and the army moved the cordon hundreds of meters from the border with Belarus, where dozens of foreigners have been staying for several days. Migrants – according to the Polish authorities – on the Belarusian side, want to get to Poland and apply for international protection. Border Patrol officers and gunmen do not allow journalists to pass. The place where the foreigners were was tightly covered by the permanent cars of the army and border guards.
I got there on a Saturday afternoon Senate Vice President Gabriela Morawska StanicaWhich border guards did not allow through the cordon. In the afternoon, a doctor came to Osnarz Gurney, who, among others, works at the Czarna Piaostuka clinic in Podlasie County. They were also not accepted as immigrants.
The authorities in Minsk are accused of deliberately moving migrants from Iraq and Afghanistan across the borders with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, which are also the borders of the Schengen area, in order to put pressure on the European Union. It is related to the sanctions imposed by the European Union on the Belarusian regime.
Lawyer: These people face degrading and inhuman treatment
Mikowaj Petrzak, a lawyer and representative of people camping on the Polish-Belarus border, commented on the situation. – I evaluate the matter from the perspective of these people and the legality of the behavior of the Polish authorities towards them. I can say for sure that the Polish authorities violated the law. The lawyer said that they are violating the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, violating Polish laws and, most importantly, violating public morals.
Today many of us will go to church, spend time with our families at the table, and have lunch together, in safe conditions, with a roof over our heads, enjoying safety and comfort. And hundreds of meters from the homes where Polish citizens lived, people who could not hide from the rain had been sitting in the fresh air for 14 days and could not keep warm, despite the fact that the nights were getting colder. They do not always have access to food, water, and medical aid. Even when they have food and water, they are afraid to eat and drink because they are not allowed to use the sanitation facilities. Women are ashamed to take care of their physiological needs in the presence of armed men around them. The lawyer said that the situation is terrible and I have no doubt that these people are facing cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment, and in some cases, their husbands should call them: We are dealing with torture.
In his opinion, “we are dealing with unlawful detention by border guards, deprivation of liberty, but most of all the failure of the Polish authorities, and more specifically border guards officers, to fulfill their obligations under international law.”
Lawyer specialized in organizing the Ministry of Interior and Administration: Contrary to the Geneva Convention
Peterzak stressed that international law clearly states that “people who seek assistance as refugees and seek so-called international protection must not be returned.” – It does not matter whether they enter the territory of the state legally or illegally. If they cite the need for such assistance (…) then we should let them in and start the procedure in which the Polish state verifies whether these persons are really refugees or not, what status they should be given. Only then, after carrying out the entire procedure, may the Polish state expel such persons. But he said he has absolutely no right not to let them in and take them back from the border, and that’s what we’re dealing with.
– There are requests to give them international protection. They made these requests from the start, because they could do so verbally. They did this in the presence of cameras, in the presence of the media, in the presence of NGOs, and these requests are being ignored. He said that this is of course illegal.
He added that there are attempts to punish “this disgraceful behavior of the Polish state” in the form of a regulation issued by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration. It included, inter alia, a statement on the return of persons detected “at the border crossing point where cross-border traffic and outside the territorial crossing point of the border crossing point has been suspended or restricted”.
– This solution contradicts the Geneva Convention. This contravenes the basic principles of refugee status under international law. I would argue that this is unconstitutional and should not be used. The Geneva Convention cannot be abolished by ministerial decree. This is legal absurdity, Peterzak assesses. He described the regulation as a “desperate attempt to justify the shameful behavior of Polish state officials who are legally obligated to accept those who cross the border, even outside the designated border crossing when they indicate refugee status.”
Main image source: Artur Rechko / Pap
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