50 People vs.
the Polish Government

A situation on the Polish-Belarus border and how the government is breaking basic human rights.

Zofia Borowczyk

*Disclaimer: This post was written by the author of the post in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of United Nations Association Youth Platform (UNAYP).*

For over three weeks, a group of 50 refugees from Afghanistan is held on the Polish-Belarus border, being denied access to seek asylum in Poland. According to the principle of non-refoulement, the international community is committed to protecting asylum seekers. The human rights of the refugees are thus denied. They are treated like criminals even when they are desperately seeking help.

 

The problem lies not in the illegal crossing of the EU border but inhuman actions. The immigrants are denied access to basic necessities including water, food, medical care and legal representation. Under EU law, they are only allowed to cross the borders at border crossing stations, which the immigrants have not accessed. However, according to Polish law, although Border Patrol is obligated to record illegal crossings, it is not allowed to treat them without basic human rights, as stated in the Human Rights Act.

 

The situation is complicated and hard to resolve. However, we should not forget that it requires interference from an international agency, none of which have shown support for this matter. The UN and EU strictly say that access to asylum should be provided, which the Polish government refuses. The immigrants are already on Polish soil, and the law should therefore cover situations like this, but the national bodies are determined to let those 50 people die rather than accessing Poland. These Afghans have been waiting for over a week, are heavily sick and need immediate medical attention. The right-wing Polish government is trying to disrespect their right by deteriorating basic human decency.

 

The most depressing note is that no international agency has tried resolving this issue nor supporting the immigrants. No support has been provided to the asylum seekers even though the European Union has publically criticised that the Polish government is acting disgracefully and unlawfully. They have only raised concerns, no actions have been taken. It is disturbing to see that we cannot put our pride behind and support our friends from abroad, who have gone through so much to reach the EU.

 

The Taliban takeover is causing many people to leave their homes, searching for a better future, which is why acting together and supporting others should be the highlight of international politics. Politicians should lay down their pride and show basic human decency towards the underprivileged. It is crucial now more than ever that we support each other. Struggles take place around the world every day, but international conflicts and pride prevent us from solving them. Looking at this situation, it is easy to say Poland has lost their way. The Polish government calls themselves religious, whilst hypocritically standing in favor of anti-immigrant policies. They simply are saying that they stand against humanity, in contrast to the Bible that asks to ‘help the poor and treat, as our won family’. It is unfortunate to see that people who claim themselves as Christians stand against everything the Bible says and act in pursuit of their own goals and gains.

 

The 50 Afghans at the Polish borders should be allowed to seek asylum. It is their basic human rights promised according to International and Polish law, even though they crossed the border illegally. Not every individual is fortunate enough to have their human rights guaranteed where they are living. People staying in countries where governments are protecting their rights under the Human Rights Act should cherish them and never allow them to be broken.