SIEMIANÓWKA / OSLO (VG) The people who paid so dearly to come to Europe, only to end up in a political dispute between Alexander Lukashenko and the European Union, are now risking being sent home to an uncertain fate.
On Monday, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, stated that Work is underway to send immigrants back to their home countries And he does not want conflict with Poland. These are new ringtones from Lukashenko, who threatened just a few days ago Cut off gas pipelines to the European Union.
In recent weeks, thousands of migrants from countries such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen have been on the Belarus-Poland border, after being lured to Belarus by “tours” to the European Union and dreaming of a better life.
Instead, what they got was a forested area with no heating, food and water, and security forces on both sides of the border that ensured they could practically no longer go anywhere.
At least ten people were said to have died.
It’s a positive sign if Lukashenko wants to take responsibility for resolving the situation, by giving migrants and refugees the chance to return home if they so desire, Martin Poulsen, former head of human rights organization Ruffow, tells VG.
So it is important that this happen in an appropriate way. I’m a little worried about that. He was not accustomed to respecting basic human rights. Paulsen adds: “I have a bit of a bad taste in my mouth given how these people are treated.
At the same time as Lukashenko cut a turn, EU foreign ministers held a meeting to discuss New penalties against Belarus.
What exactly the sanctions will include, and how Lukashenko might react to this, is currently unknown.
The situation is very tense. Poland last week increased its force to 15,000 soldiers on the border. Russia launched a military exercise on the Belarusian side in the border area, with the participation of combat aircraft and paratroopers.
On the Polish side, British engineering forces are on their way to help reinforce the border fence.
The country’s Minister of the Interior, Marius Kamensky, arrives Monday Poland will start building its controversial border wall with Belarus early this year. The project was approved by the National Assembly in October.
– I’m afraid it might escalate further, if someone shoots there might be a war. The situation here has become a threat to my family, Robert Błażej (40) tells VG.
He offered him a thousand dollars
In the small border town of Semyanovka, the population suddenly rose. About a thousand soldiers captured the small village bordering Belarus.
It’s a lot more noisy than before, but it feels safe, says Piotr (43).
– I certainly think that some refugees are in need, but I think a large part of them will benefit from the situation and penetrate to Europe, says Peter.
He and his wife Magda, 42, have been living near the refugee crisis for several weeks. A few weeks ago, a man in his twenties appeared from Iraq. He had offered Peter a thousand dollars to drive him to Germany, but he refused. Then he presented a Belarusian visa, which was valid for three months.
– It’s completely frozen. He needed water, but we didn’t have it. I had rolls – I gave him three and he ate them right away.
Finally came the border guards who took the man in his twenties.
compulsion of fear
Belarus expert Martin Poulsen is concerned that Belarus, Poland, Norway and the European Union understand that there may be both migrants and refugees among the people at the Polish-Belarus border.
For both categories, bringing you home will have a cost, Paulsen says.
– Here there may be people fleeing from a situation in their homeland which is dangerous for them to return to, and there may be migrants looking for a better life. These are the people who paid tens of thousands of coronas to get there. If forcibly returned, they bear a heavy financial burden.
It is committed to respecting the fundamental rights of every human being, in accordance with international conventions.
– I fear that they will be brought back by force, when they sacrificed so much to get to where they are today.
The right to seek asylum is a fundamental right for all and is enshrined in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948.
Once they reach that place, they still have that right. It’s a basic thing to take care of, no matter how they got there. You can’t put this problem back into the tube and pretend it didn’t happen, Paulsen tells VG.
EU summit opens door to Europe’s border fences
Since the beginning of October, VG has reported the situation on the border between Poland and Belarus. Here are some reports:
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