European Rights Court Urges Poland, Latvia to Help Migrants at Belarus Border

26/08/2021

The European Court of Human Rights has asked Poland and Latvia to help dozens of migrants trapped at their respective borders with Belarus.
 
Neither country is allowing the migrants in, and both Poland and the Baltic states have accused Belarus of using the migrants as a political tool for revenge, specifically over European Union sanctions imposed after the Belarusian government cracked down on protesters claiming an August 2020 presidential election was rigged.
 
Polish refugee charity Ocalenie Foundation said the migrants had no drinking water and had not eaten since Tuesday, Reuters reported.
 
According to the court, Polish and Latvian authorities should “provide all the applicants with food, water, clothing, adequate medical care and, if possible, temporary shelter.”
 
The court also clarified “that this measure should not be understood as requiring that Poland or Latvia let the applicants enter their territories.”
 
Some 3,000 migrants, some of them from Iraq and Afghanistan, have attempted to enter Poland from Belarus this month, The Associated Press reported. Poland is denying them entry, and it said Monday it would build a fence to keep them out.
 
The Polish government says it has provided tents, blankets and power generators to the migrants, who remain on Belarusian territory.
 
On Tuesday, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, called for Poland to provide medical and legal support to the migrants.
 
Poland’s prime minister said Tuesday that Belarus is purposely urging migrants from the Middle East to enter Poland to destabilize the European Union.
 
“Our eastern neighbor is trying systematically, and in an organized way, to destabilize the political situation,” Mateusz Morawiecki said during a visit to the eastern town of Kuznica.After the EU had imposed its sanctions, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko warned member countries that Belarus will no longer prevent unauthorized migrants from crossing into EU territories, Reuters news agency has reported.
 Some information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.
 

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