Tagarchief: Afghanistan

Astrid Essed insists: Red Cross, please give me information about your present [2022] involvement with the refugees, trapped between Poland and Belarus

The Massini family from Syria, father Muhammad (second left), mother Alaa (centre) and their two sons, with activists

The Massini family from Syria, father Muhammad (second left), mother Alaa (centre) and their two sons, with activists. Photograph: Wojtek Radwański/AFP/Getty Images
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/07/on-the-frozen-frontiers-of-europe-with-the-migrants-caught-in-a-lethal-game

Fallen tree in the Białowieża Forest

Bialowieza National Park in Poland0029.JPG
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5%82owie%C5%BCa_Forest

REFUGEES, TRAPPED BETWEEN POLAND AND BELARUS

War of Russia against Ukraine. War refugees in Ukraine. KYIV, UKRAINE - Mar. 05, 2022: War of Russia against Ukraine. Women, old people and children evacuated stock images

UKRAINIAN REFUGEES

ASTRID ESSED INSISTS: RED CROSS, PLEASE GIVE ME INFORMATION

ABOUT YOUR PRESENT [2022] INVOLVEMENT WITH REFUGEES, TRAPPED BETWEEN POLAND AND BELARUS

INTRODUCTION:

The attentive reader may have red my Letter to the International Red Cross

about their involvement with refugees, who are [sinds last year, 2021] trapped

between the borders of Poland and Belarus.

I especially wrote this letter, since I was, based on reliable information, under

the impression, that the Red Cross, however great their involvement

with the Poland-Belarus refugees in 2021 [for which I’ve complimented them],

may possibly have had less attention for the trapped refugees, due to the Ukraine crisis. 

See my Letter under note 1, below, in which I posed some questions

regarding the Red Cross involvement in 2022. 

To my pleasant surprise, the Committee of the Red Cross responded

my mail, despite their busy time schedule and their answer partly satisfied me,

regarding their showed involvement with those refugees.

However, the joint statement they sent me, regarding their involvement

was from november 2021 [2] and mentioned nothing about their PRESENT,

2022 involvement.

Reason for me to write the Red Cross again, to ask again about their involvement with the trapped refugees in 2022!

In the middle of all right attention to the Ukrainian refugees and their desperate

flight for the Russian invasion, other refugees, like those trapped in the middle

of the no man’s land somewhere between Poland and Belarus, must not

be forgotten.

I see it as my task to remind the International Red Cross to that.

Because even good organisations can make mistakes

First the notes

Then my first mail to the Red Cross [A]

Then the answer of the Red Cross [B]

Below the answer, my reaction to the answer to the Red

Cross, in text and mail [C]

ENJOY, READERS!

ASTRID ESSED

NOTES

[1]

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS, THE UKRAINIAN REFUGEES,

TRAPPED BETWEEN POLAND AND BELARUS, DO YOU TREAT THEM

WITH EQUAL ATTENTION, RED CROSS?

ASTRID ESSED

[2]


ICRC AND IFCR ON MIGRATION CRISIS AT THE BORDERS

BETWEEN BELARUS, POLAND, LITHUANIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES

18 NOVEMBER 2021

https://www.icrc.org/en/document/icrc-ifrc-migration-crisis-borders

A

FIRST ASTRID ESSED MAIL TO THE RED CROSS

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS, THE UKRAINIAN REFUGEES,

TRAPPED BETWEEN POLAND AND BELARUS, DO YOU TREAT THEM

WITH EQUAL ATTENTION, RED CROSS?

ASTRID ESSED

B

ANSWER OF THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS TO THE

FIRST ASTRID ESSED MAIL [SEE ABOVE, UNDER A]

On Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 07:50:49 PM GMT+2, GVA Inquiries Mailbox <inquiries@icrc.org> wrote:

Dear Astrid

Thank you for your sharing your concerns with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and apologies for the delayed answer. We are receiving hundreds of messages and doing our best to answer all of them.

We took note of your opinions and we highly value your feedback about our work. 

We work in over 100 contexts affected by armed conflict and violence. Our largest operations are in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia. In Ukraine, our work began in 2014 when the conflict started, and our presence in the country has grown since 24 February. 

As you mention in your message, the horror of the crisis in Ukraine shouldn’t make the world forget that people suffering continues in other parts of the world, where millions are still relying on humanitarian assistance to access their basic needs.   

We have followed the situation you mention closely and have supported the work that the National Red Cross Societies, their volunteers and other organizations are doing to help refugees. In 2021 we issued this joint press release: ICRC and IFRC on migration crisis at the borders between Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and other countries. In the statement, we expressed our alarm about the humanitarian tragedy unfolding and asked for unrestricted access for all organizations.

If you have specific questions about the situation of refugees, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) may be able to provide more information in this regard.

For more information about our work in Ukraine, please visit our website Humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Information for people affected by the conflict is available here.

We hope this has helped clarify your concerns

Sincerely yours, 

The ICRC team

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

19, avenue de la Paix, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland

www.icrc.org

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok

C

ASTRID ESSED REACTION TO THE ANSWER OF THE INTERNATIONAL

RED CROSS [SEE UNDER B]

ANSWER IN TEXT AND IN ORIGINAL MAIL

C1 

IN TEXT

TO:

THE ICRC TEAM

International Committee of the Red Cross

Subject:

Reaction to your mail dd 7 june and a repetition of my question

about the present [2022] Red Cross involvement regarding the situation

of the refugees, who are trapped between the borders of Poland and Belarus,

since your answer to me was referring to the situation of 2021 only.

See also my earlier mail to you on which you have responded

Dear Committee,

I appreciate your relatively quick reaction on my recent mail [27 may 2022],

knowing your very busy time schedule.

I also appreciate your concern, following my mail on 27 may, that the attention for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine should not overshadow your concern

for other humanitarian drama’s.

In my letter I especially mentioned the dramatic humanitarian needs of

those refugees, who are still trapped between the borders of Belarus and Poland.I quote from your mail:”

As you mention in your message, the horror of the crisis in Ukraine shouldn’t make the world forget that people suffering continues in other parts of the world, where millions are still relying on humanitarian assistance to access their basic needs. ”I had noticed that before, since I mentioned inmy mail to you the statement of mr F Rocca, presidentof the International Federation of Red Cross and Red CrescentSocieties, that there should be no difference in the receptionand protection of refugees, whether they are Ukrainians orcoming from other countries [1]
And in my former mail, I’ve also referred to the Good Work, done by the American Red Cross and the Finnish Red Cross  and doubtless other sections of the Red Cross regarding the refugees, trapped between Poland and Belarus [2] and I complimented you with that.
As reaction on my mail to you, you referred to your Joint PressRelease of 2021, titled: ”ICRC and IFCR on migration crisisat the borders between Belarus, Lithuania and other countries” [3]I was impressed, as by the Work of the American Red Cross andthe Finnish Red Cross and I fully supported your statement,especially this part [I quote you]”

All migrants, irrespective of their legal status, should have effective access to humanitarian assistance and medical assistance, as well as to protection. Whether this is international protection, or a voluntary return to their home countries, migrants’ rights should be respected at all times and authorities should avoid separating family members and putting at risk their lives and physical integrity.” [4]

True humanity and something the EU leaders should

reflect on.

HOWEVER:

[And reason for my reaction on your answer to me]

That is NOT what I asked you for.

Since you referred to the situation in 2021 and I am

anxious to know about PRESENT the situation, the

situation in 2022, of the

refugees, trapped between Poland and Belarus [and

as I now understand, also Lithuania]

Perhaps I didn’t make that clear in my first mail to you?

Then I will do it now and repeat my questions:Based on the Statement of Amnesty Internationalon 11th of april 2022, the situation of thosetrapped between the Poland-Belarus border is direSee their statement: 

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

AND the Amnesty report ”POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS”  [5]

MY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RED CROSS INVOLVEMENT

WITH THE MENTIONED REFUGEES IN 2022:

My questions refer to the PRESENT, 2022 ICRC involvement with

the refugees, who are trapped between the Poland-Belarus border,

as mentioned in my first mail [6]

I REPEAT:

 I had the impression, that on this moment, the main attention

of the International Cross goes to the Ukrainian refugees [7] and that the

trapped refugees between Poland and Belarus are somewhat forgotten.

When I am wrong, please send me the information about

your involvement in the no one land between those borders on this

moment, 2022.

When I am NOT wrong, please explain to me, why the International

Red Cross shows less attention to those refugees:

Are you being hindered in your activities, something volunteers have experienced in the past months? [8]

And if that’s so, what did you do, as an International Organisation, to

address to this situation?

Did you write to the Polish and Belarussian authorities?

Did you gave press conferences about this?

Did you try to visit the Polish detention centres, where, according to the

information of Amnesty International, the border refugees are being

mistreated and denied their right to asylum? [9]

If not, why not?

Because you are hindered in your activities?

And again the question:

If you are hindered in your activities, what did you do to protest and get access anyway, as

is your right and obligation as the International Red Cross?

Those are my questions, in short

I would appreciate your reaction, but if you are pressed with time,

the only thing I want is to recall the dire situation those refugees

are in and to urge your humanitarian involvement with them, also

now, in 2022, since their situation doesn’t seem to be more humane now.

Thank you for your involvement

Kind greetings

Astrid Essed

Amsterdam 

The Netherlands

NOTES

[1]

IFRC PRESIDENT: ETHNICITY AND NATIONALITY SHOULD NOT

BE DECIDING FACTORS IN SAVING LIVES

16 MAY 2022

PRESS RELEASE

https://www.ifrc.org/press-release/ifrc-president-ethnicity-and-nationality-should-not-be-deciding-factors-saving-lives

New York / Geneva, 16 May 2022 – President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Francesco Rocca calls on states to step up to their responsibility to save lives, no matter where people are from, ahead of the first review of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

Mr Rocca says: “When I was in Marrakech for the adoption of the GCM I made a statement that the world’s approach to migration is painfully broken – but that the GCM can fix it. As we begin the first review of the progress made since then, I am sad to say that this has not been the case so far. Not enough changes to policies and practices to ensure safe and dignified migration have taken place, and many more lives have been lost due to that failure to act.”

On the world’s deadliest sea migration route, the central Mediterranean, the number of deaths has in fact increased since the GCM was signed. The Ocean Viking ship, operated by SOS Mediterranée with IFRC providing humanitarian services on board, saves people in distress on this route.

“We need to carry out this work as state-coordinated search and rescue is absent in the area,” says Mr Rocca. “Our teams have already saved 1,260 people in the nine months we’ve been operating.”

The Ocean Viking is one of the 330 Humanitarian Service Points (HSPs) in 45 countries that supports the ambitions of the GCM, providing assistance and protection to people on the move irrespective of status and without fear of reprisal. The Romanian Red Cross implements HSPs in Bucharest to support people fleeing Ukraine, providing information, food, water, hygiene items and financial assistance, while the Hungarian Red Cross has been operating a HSP at the Keleti railway station 24/7 to welcome people arriving from Ukraine by train with information, food, hygiene items and baby care products.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colombian Red Cross Society has implemented HSPs at the border with Venezuela, offering essential services like healthcare, while Libyan Red Crescent volunteers have provided support to migrants and displaced people, operating HSPs that provided access to information, food, and other necessities, as well as restoring family links services.

At the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), the IFRC is calling for individual and collective efforts on search and rescue; ensuring access to essential services for migrants regardless of status; scaling up support to people affected of climate related displacement; and the inclusion of migrants in all aspects of society and decision making.

“The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis has shown what is possible when humanity and dignity comes first, when there is global solidarity and the will to assist and protect the most vulnerable,” says Mr Rocca. “This must be extended to everyone in need, wherever they come from. Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives.”

[2]

AMERICAN RED CROSS

THOUSANDS AT BELARUS BORDER IN NEED

OF HUMANITARIAN AID

https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2021/thousands-at-belarus-border-in-need-of-humanitarian-aid.html

November 15, 2021

The Red Cross is urgently providing relief efforts as thousands of people risk their lives in freezing conditions along the Belarus-Poland border. At least 10 people have died and an estimated 2,000 people are living in makeshift camps near the border between Belarus and neighboring countries Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urges unhindered access to the border be provided to help the men, women and children risking their lives for a safer future. 

Belarus Red Cross has been coordinating aid from partners since last week, distributing food, water, blankets and warm clothes. Staff and volunteers are involved in a continuous response to the situation, sorting and distributing packages, as well as helping authorities set up heating tents for women and children. Assistance was also provided for three children who were hospitalized.

“We are concerned about the increasingly serious situation on the Poland-Belarus border, after large groups of migrants arrived there on November 8. We call for access for the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations so that all people in need, at the border and other locations, can receive medical treatment, humanitarian assistance and protection services,” said Andreas von Weissenberg, IFRC Europe’s head of Disasters, Climate and Crises.

“While Belarus Red Cross has thankfully been given some access to provide vital life-saving aid to people enduring hunger and freezing conditions, we need that access to be regular and also get access on the other side of the border. People need to be treated humanely,” von Weissenberg said.

The Polish Red Cross has been responding to this crisis for several weeks, delivering blankets, sleeping bags and clothes. Local branches are supporting migrants in provinces near the border with food, water and hygiene kits, as well as providing first aid and helping people trace family members.

Lithuanian Red Cross teams have also been supporting migrants close to the border with water, hygiene kits, footwear and clothing, as well as toys for children. In five large reception centers, volunteers provide food and other humanitarian aid, offer psychological support and legal assistance and help people reconnect with their loved ones by providing mobile phones and SIM cards.

IFRC is in the process of providing the Belarus Red Cross, Polish Red Cross and Lithuanian Red Cross with emergency funding to support the migrants with food, clothes, hygiene items, first aid and family reunification services.

“Humanitarian organizations must be granted unconditional and safe access to all people in need, irrespective of their legal status. People are crossing the border with just the clothes on their backs. They need food, medicine, hygiene items, clothing, and protective equipment against COVID-19. We must be allowed to deliver critical assistance and we want to see a peaceful, humane and rights-based solution to the situation,” von Weissenberg concluded. 

THE FINISH RED CROSS

THE RED CROSS IS HELPING MIGRANTS STRUGGLING IN

DANGEROUS CONDITIONS AT THE EU’S EASTERN BORDER

24 NOVEMBER 2021

https://www.redcross.fi/news/2021/the-red-cross-is-helping-migrants-struggling-in-dangerous-conditions-at-the-eus-eastern-border/

The situation of migrants trying to enter the EU at the border of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus is alarming. Thousands of migrants have been stuck on the border region since early autumn. The situation of people sleeping without shelter is expected to worsen as the winter approaches.

The Belarusian, Polish and Lithuanian Red Cross organisations are helping migrants at the borders by distributing food, clean water, hygiene supplies, clothes and blankets and by offering essential health care.

The health of the people sleeping rough is at continuous risk. At least 10 people are known to have died. Among them, a 14-year-old boy who died of hypothermia.

“There are hundreds of children at the border, many of whom have been separated from their families. The are also pregnant women and disabled people among the migrants. Their situation is worsening by the hour as the crisis drags on and nights become colder,” says the Director of International Operations at the Finnish Red Cross Tiina Saarikoski.

“All states are obliged to ensure that humanitarian aid gets through to its target. People have the right to necessary protection, care and safety, regardless of whether they are granted the right to stay in the country or not.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross helps migrants establish contact with their family members. 

The Finnish Red Cross maintains preparedness for large-scale migration as part of its continuous readiness. As agreed with the authorities, the Red Cross is permanently prepared to establish and maintain reception centres and temporary accommodation units at the request of the authorities.

The Finnish Red Cross has not received official requests in relation to the situation in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. 
 
“The most important thing right now is to deliver necessary aid to the migrants in unsafe conditions and allow humanitarian operators to provide aid,” Saarikoski emphasises. 

[3]

ICRC AND IFCR ON MIGRATION CRISIS AT THE BORDERS

BETWEEN BELARUS, POLAND, LITHUANIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES

18 NOVEMBER 2021

https://www.icrc.org/en/document/icrc-ifrc-migration-crisis-borders

Unrestricted and safe humanitarian access urgently needed to save lives and alleviate suffering.

STATEMENT18 NOVEMBER 2021

Budapest/Geneva – November 18, 2021 — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are alarmed by the humanitarian tragedy unfolding at the borders between Belarus, Poland and Lithuania. At least 10 people are known to have died, including a 14-year-old boy due to hypothermia. The situation is set to worsen with the most serious winter weather yet to arrive.

IFRC has allocated more than 1 million Swiss Francs to Belarus Red Cross, Polish Red Cross and Lithuanian Red Cross, whose volunteers and staff are assisting thousands of vulnerable people with food, water, blankets and vital medical assistance. ICRC is complementing the response, providing support and additional technical expertise to Red Cross partners, notably to keep migrants in contact with their relatives and other protection-related issues.

Birgitte Ebbesen, IFRC Regional Director for Europe said, “There are extremely vulnerable people at the border, including people with disabilities, pregnant women, and hundreds of children – many of them without a parent or family member. They have been sleeping rough in freezing conditions for many days now.”

“Our volunteers have been able to provide some assistance, but many are still hungry and cold. These are mothers, sisters, sons and daughters, people whose lives matter, and they should be protected and treated with compassion and dignity.”

Martin Schüepp, ICRC Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia said: “To protect people’s lives, health and dignity, as well as ease suffering and prevent further tragedy, all Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners and other humanitarian organisations need immediate, unrestricted access to all migrants, including at borders.”

“The ICRC is providing support and additional technical expertise to our Red Cross partners, on reuniting people with separated family members and other protection-related issues.”

All migrants, irrespective of their legal status, should have effective access to humanitarian assistance and medical assistance, as well as to protection. Whether this is international protection, or a voluntary return to their home countries, migrants’ rights should be respected at all times and authorities should avoid separating family members and putting at risk their lives and physical integrity.

[4]

”All migrants, irrespective of their legal status, should have effective access to humanitarian assistance and medical assistance, as well as to protection. Whether this is international protection, or a voluntary return to their home countries, migrants’ rights should be respected at all times and authorities should avoid separating family members and putting at risk their lives and physical integrity.”

ICRC AND IFCR ON MIGRATION CRISIS AT THE BORDERS

BETWEEN BELARUS, POLAND, LITHUANIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES

18 NOVEMBER 2021

https://www.icrc.org/en/document/icrc-ifrc-migration-crisis-borders

SEE FOR FULL TEXT, NOTE 3

[5]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

11 APRIL 2022

Poland/Belarus: New evidence of abuses highlights ‘hypocrisy’ of unequal treatment of asylum-seekers 

  • Authorities violating rights of asylum-seekers, including strip searches and other degrading treatment, in overcrowded detention centres
  • Some people forcibly sedated during return
  • Pushbacks and arbitrary detention in stark contrast with welcome shown to those fleeing Ukraine
  • Spokespeople available

The Polish authorities have arbitrarily detained nearly two thousand asylum-seekers who crossed into the country from Belarus in 2021, and subjected many of them to abuse, including strip searches in unsanitary, overcrowded facilities, and in some cases even to forcible sedation and tasering, Amnesty International said today.

Additionally, after a hiatus during winter, more asylum-seekers are now trying to enter Poland from Belarus, where they are unable to access further funds due to international sanctions and risk harassment or apprehension by Belarusian police due their irregular immigration status. At the Polish border they face razor wire fences and repeated pushbacks by border guards sometimes up to 20-30 times.

“This violent and degrading treatment stands in stark contrast to the warm welcome Poland is offering to displaced people arriving from Ukraine. The behaviour of the Polish authorities smacks of racism and hypocrisy. Poland must urgently extend its admirable compassion for those entering the country from Ukraine to all those crossing its borders to seek safety.”

Arbitrary detention and abysmal detention conditions

Polish border guards have systematically rounded up and violently pushed back people crossing from Belarus, sometimes threatening them with guns. The vast majority of those who have been fortunate enough to avoid being pushed back to Belarus and to apply for asylum in Poland are forced into automatic detention, without a proper assessment of their individual situation and the impact detention would have on their physical and mental health. They are often held for prolonged and indefinite periods of time in overcrowded centres that offer little privacy and only limited access to sanitary facilities, doctors, psychologists, or legal assistance.

Almost all of the people Amnesty International interviewed said they were  traumatized after fleeing areas of conflict and being trapped for months on the Belarusian-Polish border. They also suffered from serious psychological problems, including anxiety, insomnia, depression and frequent suicidal thoughts, undoubtedly exacerbated by their unnecessary metres. For most, psychological support was unavailable.

Retraumatized inside a military base

Many of the people who Amnesty spoke to had been in Wędrzyn detention centre, which holds up to 600 people. Overcrowding is particularly acute in this facility, where up to 24 men are detained in rooms measuring just eight square metres.

In 2021, the Polish authorities decreased the minimum required space for foreign detainees from three square meters per person to just two. The Council of Europe minimum standard for personal living space in prisons and detention centres is four square meters per person.

People held in Wędrzyn recounted how guards greeted new detainees  by saying “welcome to Guantánamo”. Many of them were victims of torture in their home countries before enduring harrowing experiences both in Belarus and on the border of Poland. The detention centre in Wędrzyn forms part of an active military base. The facility’s barbed wire walls — and the persistent sound of armoured vehicles, helicopters and gunfire from military exercises in the area — only serves to retraumatize them.

In Lesznowola Detention Centre, detainees said that guards’ treatment left them feeling dehumanized. The staff called detainees by their case numbers instead of using their names and meted out excessive punishments, including isolation, for simple requests, such as asking for a towel or more food.

Nearly all those interviewed reported consistently disrespectful and verbally abusive behaviour, racist remarks and other practices that indicated psychological ill-treatment. 

Men who Amnesty International interviewed uniformly  complained about the manner in which body searches were  conducted. When people were  transferred from one detention centre to another, they were forced to undergo a strip search at each facility, even though they were in state custody at all times. In Wędrzyn, people recounted abusive searches. For example, all newly admitted foreigners are kept together in a room, required to remove all of their clothes and ordered to perform squats longer than necessary for a legitimate check.

Violent forcible returns

Amnesty International interviewed several people who were forcibly returned as well as some who avoided return and remain in detention in Poland. Many said the Polish border guards who conducted the returns coerced them into signing documents in Polish that they suspected included incriminating information in order to justify their returns. They also said that, in some cases, border guards used excessive force, such as tasers, restrained people with handcuffs, and even sedated those being returned. 

Authorities attempted to forcibly return Yezda, a 30-year old Kurdish woman , with her husband and three small children. After being told that the family would be returned to Iraq, Yezda panicked and screamed and pleaded with the guards not to take them. She threatened to take her life and became extremely agitated. “I knew I could not go back to Iraq and I was ready to die in Poland. While I was crying like that, two guards restrained me and my husband, tied our hands behind our backs, and a doctor gave us an injection that made us very weak and sleepy. My head was not clear, but I could hear my children, who were in the room with us, crying and screaming.”

“We were asked to go through the airport security and the guards told us to behave on the plane. But I refused to go. I remember noticing that I didn’t even have any shoes on, as in the chaos at the camp, they slipped of my feet. My head was not clear, and I couldn’t see my husband or the children, but I remember that they forced me on the plane that was full of people. I was still crying and pleading with the police not to take us.” Yezda said that she broke her foot as she fought the guards who tried to put her on the plane. Yezda and her family were returned to Warsaw after the airline refused to take them to Iraq. They remain in a camp in Poland for now.

Volunteers and activists have been barred from accessing the border of Poland and Belarus, and some have even faced prosecution for trying to help people cross the border. In March, activists who had helped people both on Poland’s borders with Ukraine and with Belarus were detained for providing life-saving assistance to refugees and migrants on the Belarussian border, and now face potentially serious charges.

Stranded at the border

On 20 March, the Belarusian authorities reportedly evicted close to 700 refugees and migrants, including many families with young children and people suffering from severe illnesses and disabilities, from the warehouse in the Belarusian village of Bruzgi which had accommodated several thousand people in 2021.

People who were evicted from the warehouse suddenly found themselves stranded in the forest, trying to survive in sub-zero temperatures without shelter, food, water or access to medical care. Many remain in the forest and experience daily abuse from the Belarusian border guards, who use dogs and violence to force people to cross the border into Poland.

“Hundreds of people fleeing conflict in the Middle East and other parts of the world remain stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland. The Polish government must immediately stop pushbacks. They are illegal no matter how the government tries to justify them. The international community – including the EU – must demand that those trapped on Poland’s border with Belarus be afforded the same access to EU territory as any other group seeking refuge in Europe,” said Jelena Sesar.

END OF THE ARTICLE

REPORT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS

11 APRIL 2022

The rapid relief effort at the border, exceptional generosity of civil society and willingness of Polish authorities to receive people fleeing from Ukraine contrast starkly with the Polish government’s hostility toward refugees and migrants who have arrived in the country via Belarus since July 2021. Hundreds of people who crossed from Belarus have been arbitrarily detained in Poland in appalling conditions and without access to a fair asylum proceeding. Many have been forcibly returned to their countries of origin, some under sedation. In addition, hundreds of people remain stranded inside Belarus and face increasingly desperate conditions.

END OF THIS PIECE

FULL REPORT

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS

11 APRIL 2022

https://www.amnesty.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/EUR3754602022ENGLISH.pdf

[6]

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS, THE UKRAINIAN REFUGEES

AND THE REFUGEES, TRAPPED BETWEEN POLAND AND BELARUS/

DO YOU TREAT THEM WITH EQUAL ATTENTION, RED CROSS?

ASTRID ESSED

[7]

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS 

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN UKRAINE AND NEIGHBOURING

COUNTRIES

https://www.icrc.org/en/humanitarian-crisis-ukraine

IFRC SCALES UP CASH ASSISTANCE TO PEOPLE IMPACTED

BY CONFLICT IN UKRAINE

23 MAY 2022

https://www.ifrc.org/article/ifrc-scales-cash-assistance-people-impacted-conflict-ukraine

Three months into the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has distributed financial assistance totalling more than 4.3 million Swiss francs to thousands of people on the move.

IFRC Head of Emergency Operations for the Ukraine response, Anne Katherine Moore, said:

“The longer the conflict continues, the greater the needs become. The cost of basic necessities, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, is rising. Increases in the cost of fuel and apartment rentals are also being reported. Millions of people have lost their jobs and their savings are dwindling. Through a new mobile app, we have been able to ramp up our support to help people facing these financial challenges.”

The new technology makes it possible for the IFRC and responding National Societies to reach people at scale and to deliver cash assistance digitally. Successfully introduced in Romania, the mobile app allows refugees to self-register for assistance online, negating the need and cost involved of having to travel to a central location.

The app will soon be expanded to Poland and Slovakia, where cash assistance is already being provided through more traditional methods such as in-person registration, as well as Ukraine and other neighbouring countries.

“This is the fastest we have ever delivered cash at this scale. It has the potential to be a game-changer for our work not just in this response, but also in future operations,” Moore continued.

Cash assistance is a dignified and efficient way to support people impacted by the conflict, allowing them to purchase items specific to their individual needs, while also supporting local economies. It is one part of our integrated and wide-ranging Red Cross and Red Crescent response to the conflict that also includes the provision of health care, first aid, psychosocial support and the distribution of basic household necessities.

Speaking about next steps, Moore said: “There is no short-term solution to the needs of the more than 14 million people who have been forced to flee their homes. We know that even if the conflict was to end tomorrow, rebuilding and recovery will take years. People have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and access to timely healthcare. The IFRC, in support of local National Red Cross Societies in the region, will be there helping people now, and in the months and years to come.”

During the past three months:
  • Together, we have reached more than 2.1 million people with life-saving aid within Ukraine and in surrounding countries. This is 1 in 10 people who had to flee their homes because of the conflict.
  • Along the travel routes within and outside Ukraine, we’ve set up 142 Humanitarian Service Points in 15 countries to provide those fleeing with a safe environment. There, they receive essential services like food, hygiene items, blankets, clothing water, first aid, psychosocial support, information, and financial assistance.
  • In total, we distributed 2.3 million kilograms of aid.
  • 71,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are responding to the crisis.

[8]

MEDICS LEAVE POLAND=BELARUS BORDER WITHOUT

REACHING MIGRANTS

https://www.dw.com/en/medics-leave-poland-belarus-border-without-reaching-migrants/a-60353514

Doctors Without Borders removed its team on the Belarus-Poland border after Warsaw blocked access to migrants trying to enter the European Union. Camped in harsh conditions, several people have died on the EU’s doorstep.

Despite knowing people along the Belarus-Poland border were “in desperate need of medical and humanitarian assistance,” the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it withdrew its emergency response team from the region.

“Since October, MSF has repeatedly requested access to the restricted area and the border guard posts in Poland, but without success,” Frauke Ossig, the charity’s emergency coordinator for Poland and Lithuania, said on Thursday.

“We know that there are still people crossing the border and hiding in the forest, in need of support, but while we are committed to assisting people on the move wherever they may be, we have not been able to reach them in Poland,” Ossig added.

MSF said it was concerned that restricting access to major aid organizations could result in more deaths and such policies were “another example of the EU deliberately creating unsafe conditions for people to seek asylum at its borders.”

While many of the migrants received shelter in a logistics center, a number of people are reported to have died in the freezing, harsh conditions along the border.

Why can’t aid groups reach migrants and asylum-seekers?

On December 1, Poland’s Interior Ministry extended a state of emergency that prohibits all non-residents, including journalists and non-governmental aid groups, from the border area.

“People are being attacked and beaten at the hands of border guards, and yet state officials continue to allow the practice of pushing people between borders knowing that such maltreatment continues,” MSF said.

With thousands of people on the Belarusian side of the 400-kilometer (250-mile) stretch, Poland built a barbed-wire fence that it intends to replace with a permanent barrier and sent thousands of soldiers to the border, leaving the migrants stuck in camps in no man’s land and unable to apply for asylum in the European Union.

Polish border guards accused of illegal ‘pushbacks’

Polish border guards have been accused of forcibly pushing migrants and asylum-seekers back into Belarus — a move that breaches international law. At least 21 people have lost their lives in the attempt in 2021, MSF reported.

In December, the Polish civil society group Salam Lab reported that five Syrian and one Palestinian who managed to find their way outside Poland’s exclusion zone said they had been pushed back to Belarus several times by Polish authorities.

EU nations Latvia and Lithuania, which also share borders with Belarus, have also reinforced their border security and declared a state of emergency. MSF said it had not received access to migrants at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.

The European Union has accused Belarus’ authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East to attempt to enter the EU through Belarus.

Belarus denies this and has urged the EU to take in the migrants.

“The current situation is unacceptable and inhumane,” Ossig said. “People have the right to seek safety and asylum and should not be illegitimately pushed back to Belarus.”

[9]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

11 APRIL 2022

SEE FOR FULL TEXT, NOTE 5

C2

IN MAIL

From: Astrid Essed <astridessed@yahoo.com>

To: GVA Inquiries Mailbox <inquiries@icrc.org>

Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2022, 12:40:24 PM GMT+2

Subject: Re: Questions about the International Red Cross attitude against Ukrainian refugees versus refugees trapped between Belarus and Poland

TO:

THE ICRC TEAM

International Committee of the Red Cross

Subject:

Reaction to your mail dd 7 june and a repetition of my question

about the present [2022] Red Cross involvement regarding the situation

of the refugees, who are trapped between the borders of Poland and Belarus,

since your answer to me was referring to the situation of 2021 only.

See also my earlier mail to you on which you have responded

Dear Committee,

I appreciate your relatively quick reaction on my recent mail [27 may 2022],

knowing your very busy time schedule.

I also appreciate your concern, following my mail on 27 may, that the attention for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine should not overshadow your concern

for other humanitarian drama’s.

In my letter I especially mentioned the dramatic humanitarian needs of

those refugees, who are still trapped between the borders of Belarus and Poland.I quote from your mail:”

As you mention in your message, the horror of the crisis in Ukraine shouldn’t make the world forget that people suffering continues in other parts of the world, where millions are still relying on humanitarian assistance to access their basic needs. ”I had noticed that before, since I mentioned inmy mail to you the statement of mr F Rocca, presidentof the International Federation of Red Cross and Red CrescentSocieties, that there should be no difference in the receptionand protection of refugees, whether they are Ukrainians orcoming from other countries [1]
And in my former mail, I’ve also referred to the Good Work, done by the American Red Cross and the Finnish Red Cross  and doubtless other sections of the Red Cross regarding the refugees, trapped between Poland and Belarus [2] and I complimented you with that.
As reaction on my mail to you, you referred to your Joint PressRelease of 2021, titled: ”ICRC and IFCR on migration crisisat the borders between Belarus, Lithuania and other countries” [3]I was impressed, as by the Work of the American Red Cross andthe Finnish Red Cross and I fully supported your statement,especially this part [I quote you]”

All migrants, irrespective of their legal status, should have effective access to humanitarian assistance and medical assistance, as well as to protection. Whether this is international protection, or a voluntary return to their home countries, migrants’ rights should be respected at all times and authorities should avoid separating family members and putting at risk their lives and physical integrity.” [4]

True humanity and something the EU leaders should

reflect on.

HOWEVER:

[And reason for my reaction on your answer to me]

That is NOT what I asked you for.

Since you referred to the situation in 2021 and I am

anxious to know about PRESENT the situation, the

situation in 2022, of the

refugees, trapped between Poland and Belarus [and

as I now understand, also Lithuania]

Perhaps I didn’t make that clear in my first mail to you?

Then I will do it now and repeat my questions:Based on the Statement of Amnesty Internationalon 11th of april 2022, the situation of thosetrapped between the Poland-Belarus border is direSee their statement: 

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

AND the Amnesty report ”POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS”  [5]

MY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RED CROSS INVOLVEMENT

WITH THE MENTIONED REFUGEES IN 2022:

My questions refer to the PRESENT, 2022 ICRC involvement with

the refugees, who are trapped between the Poland-Belarus border,

as mentioned in my first mail [6]

I REPEAT:

 I had the impression, that on this moment, the main attention

of the International Cross goes to the Ukrainian refugees [7] and that the

trapped refugees between Poland and Belarus are somewhat forgotten.

When I am wrong, please send me the information about

your involvement in the no one land between those borders on this

moment, 2022.

When I am NOT wrong, please explain to me, why the International

Red Cross shows less attention to those refugees:

Are you being hindered in your activities, something volunteers have experienced in the past months? [8]

And if that’s so, what did you do, as an International Organisation, to

address to this situation?

Did you write to the Polish and Belarussian authorities?

Did you gave press conferences about this?

Did you try to visit the Polish detention centres, where, according to the

information of Amnesty International, the border refugees are being

mistreated and denied their right to asylum? [9]

If not, why not?

Because you are hindered in your activities?

And again the question:

If you are hindered in your activities, what did you do to protest and get access anyway, as

is your right and obligation as the International Red Cross?

Those are my questions, in short

I would appreciate your reaction, but if you are pressed with time,

the only thing I want is to recall the dire situation those refugees

are in and to urge your humanitarian involvement with them, also

now, in 2022, since their situation doesn’t seem to be more humane now.

Thank you for your involvement

Kind greetings

Astrid Essed

Amsterdam 

The Netherlands

NOTES

[1]

IFRC PRESIDENT: ETHNICITY AND NATIONALITY SHOULD NOT

BE DECIDING FACTORS IN SAVING LIVES

16 MAY 2022

PRESS RELEASE

https://www.ifrc.org/press-release/ifrc-president-ethnicity-and-nationality-should-not-be-deciding-factors-saving-lives

New York / Geneva, 16 May 2022 – President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Francesco Rocca calls on states to step up to their responsibility to save lives, no matter where people are from, ahead of the first review of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

Mr Rocca says: “When I was in Marrakech for the adoption of the GCM I made a statement that the world’s approach to migration is painfully broken – but that the GCM can fix it. As we begin the first review of the progress made since then, I am sad to say that this has not been the case so far. Not enough changes to policies and practices to ensure safe and dignified migration have taken place, and many more lives have been lost due to that failure to act.”

On the world’s deadliest sea migration route, the central Mediterranean, the number of deaths has in fact increased since the GCM was signed. The Ocean Viking ship, operated by SOS Mediterranée with IFRC providing humanitarian services on board, saves people in distress on this route.

“We need to carry out this work as state-coordinated search and rescue is absent in the area,” says Mr Rocca. “Our teams have already saved 1,260 people in the nine months we’ve been operating.”

The Ocean Viking is one of the 330 Humanitarian Service Points (HSPs) in 45 countries that supports the ambitions of the GCM, providing assistance and protection to people on the move irrespective of status and without fear of reprisal. The Romanian Red Cross implements HSPs in Bucharest to support people fleeing Ukraine, providing information, food, water, hygiene items and financial assistance, while the Hungarian Red Cross has been operating a HSP at the Keleti railway station 24/7 to welcome people arriving from Ukraine by train with information, food, hygiene items and baby care products.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colombian Red Cross Society has implemented HSPs at the border with Venezuela, offering essential services like healthcare, while Libyan Red Crescent volunteers have provided support to migrants and displaced people, operating HSPs that provided access to information, food, and other necessities, as well as restoring family links services.

At the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), the IFRC is calling for individual and collective efforts on search and rescue; ensuring access to essential services for migrants regardless of status; scaling up support to people affected of climate related displacement; and the inclusion of migrants in all aspects of society and decision making.

“The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis has shown what is possible when humanity and dignity comes first, when there is global solidarity and the will to assist and protect the most vulnerable,” says Mr Rocca. “This must be extended to everyone in need, wherever they come from. Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives.”

[2]

AMERICAN RED CROSS

THOUSANDS AT BELARUS BORDER IN NEED

OF HUMANITARIAN AID

https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2021/thousands-at-belarus-border-in-need-of-humanitarian-aid.html

November 15, 2021

The Red Cross is urgently providing relief efforts as thousands of people risk their lives in freezing conditions along the Belarus-Poland border. At least 10 people have died and an estimated 2,000 people are living in makeshift camps near the border between Belarus and neighboring countries Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urges unhindered access to the border be provided to help the men, women and children risking their lives for a safer future. 

Belarus Red Cross has been coordinating aid from partners since last week, distributing food, water, blankets and warm clothes. Staff and volunteers are involved in a continuous response to the situation, sorting and distributing packages, as well as helping authorities set up heating tents for women and children. Assistance was also provided for three children who were hospitalized.

“We are concerned about the increasingly serious situation on the Poland-Belarus border, after large groups of migrants arrived there on November 8. We call for access for the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations so that all people in need, at the border and other locations, can receive medical treatment, humanitarian assistance and protection services,” said Andreas von Weissenberg, IFRC Europe’s head of Disasters, Climate and Crises.

“While Belarus Red Cross has thankfully been given some access to provide vital life-saving aid to people enduring hunger and freezing conditions, we need that access to be regular and also get access on the other side of the border. People need to be treated humanely,” von Weissenberg said.

The Polish Red Cross has been responding to this crisis for several weeks, delivering blankets, sleeping bags and clothes. Local branches are supporting migrants in provinces near the border with food, water and hygiene kits, as well as providing first aid and helping people trace family members.

Lithuanian Red Cross teams have also been supporting migrants close to the border with water, hygiene kits, footwear and clothing, as well as toys for children. In five large reception centers, volunteers provide food and other humanitarian aid, offer psychological support and legal assistance and help people reconnect with their loved ones by providing mobile phones and SIM cards.

IFRC is in the process of providing the Belarus Red Cross, Polish Red Cross and Lithuanian Red Cross with emergency funding to support the migrants with food, clothes, hygiene items, first aid and family reunification services.

“Humanitarian organizations must be granted unconditional and safe access to all people in need, irrespective of their legal status. People are crossing the border with just the clothes on their backs. They need food, medicine, hygiene items, clothing, and protective equipment against COVID-19. We must be allowed to deliver critical assistance and we want to see a peaceful, humane and rights-based solution to the situation,” von Weissenberg concluded. 

THE FINISH RED CROSS

THE RED CROSS IS HELPING MIGRANTS STRUGGLING IN

DANGEROUS CONDITIONS AT THE EU’S EASTERN BORDER

24 NOVEMBER 2021

https://www.redcross.fi/news/2021/the-red-cross-is-helping-migrants-struggling-in-dangerous-conditions-at-the-eus-eastern-border/

The situation of migrants trying to enter the EU at the border of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus is alarming. Thousands of migrants have been stuck on the border region since early autumn. The situation of people sleeping without shelter is expected to worsen as the winter approaches.

The Belarusian, Polish and Lithuanian Red Cross organisations are helping migrants at the borders by distributing food, clean water, hygiene supplies, clothes and blankets and by offering essential health care.

The health of the people sleeping rough is at continuous risk. At least 10 people are known to have died. Among them, a 14-year-old boy who died of hypothermia.

“There are hundreds of children at the border, many of whom have been separated from their families. The are also pregnant women and disabled people among the migrants. Their situation is worsening by the hour as the crisis drags on and nights become colder,” says the Director of International Operations at the Finnish Red Cross Tiina Saarikoski.

“All states are obliged to ensure that humanitarian aid gets through to its target. People have the right to necessary protection, care and safety, regardless of whether they are granted the right to stay in the country or not.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross helps migrants establish contact with their family members. 

The Finnish Red Cross maintains preparedness for large-scale migration as part of its continuous readiness. As agreed with the authorities, the Red Cross is permanently prepared to establish and maintain reception centres and temporary accommodation units at the request of the authorities.

The Finnish Red Cross has not received official requests in relation to the situation in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. 
 
“The most important thing right now is to deliver necessary aid to the migrants in unsafe conditions and allow humanitarian operators to provide aid,” Saarikoski emphasises. 

[3]

ICRC AND IFCR ON MIGRATION CRISIS AT THE BORDERS

BETWEEN BELARUS, POLAND, LITHUANIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES

18 NOVEMBER 2021

https://www.icrc.org/en/document/icrc-ifrc-migration-crisis-borders

Unrestricted and safe humanitarian access urgently needed to save lives and alleviate suffering.

STATEMENT18 NOVEMBER 2021

Budapest/Geneva – November 18, 2021 — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are alarmed by the humanitarian tragedy unfolding at the borders between Belarus, Poland and Lithuania. At least 10 people are known to have died, including a 14-year-old boy due to hypothermia. The situation is set to worsen with the most serious winter weather yet to arrive.

IFRC has allocated more than 1 million Swiss Francs to Belarus Red Cross, Polish Red Cross and Lithuanian Red Cross, whose volunteers and staff are assisting thousands of vulnerable people with food, water, blankets and vital medical assistance. ICRC is complementing the response, providing support and additional technical expertise to Red Cross partners, notably to keep migrants in contact with their relatives and other protection-related issues.

Birgitte Ebbesen, IFRC Regional Director for Europe said, “There are extremely vulnerable people at the border, including people with disabilities, pregnant women, and hundreds of children – many of them without a parent or family member. They have been sleeping rough in freezing conditions for many days now.”

“Our volunteers have been able to provide some assistance, but many are still hungry and cold. These are mothers, sisters, sons and daughters, people whose lives matter, and they should be protected and treated with compassion and dignity.”

Martin Schüepp, ICRC Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia said: “To protect people’s lives, health and dignity, as well as ease suffering and prevent further tragedy, all Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners and other humanitarian organisations need immediate, unrestricted access to all migrants, including at borders.”

“The ICRC is providing support and additional technical expertise to our Red Cross partners, on reuniting people with separated family members and other protection-related issues.”

All migrants, irrespective of their legal status, should have effective access to humanitarian assistance and medical assistance, as well as to protection. Whether this is international protection, or a voluntary return to their home countries, migrants’ rights should be respected at all times and authorities should avoid separating family members and putting at risk their lives and physical integrity.

[4]

”All migrants, irrespective of their legal status, should have effective access to humanitarian assistance and medical assistance, as well as to protection. Whether this is international protection, or a voluntary return to their home countries, migrants’ rights should be respected at all times and authorities should avoid separating family members and putting at risk their lives and physical integrity.”

ICRC AND IFCR ON MIGRATION CRISIS AT THE BORDERS

BETWEEN BELARUS, POLAND, LITHUANIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES

18 NOVEMBER 2021

https://www.icrc.org/en/document/icrc-ifrc-migration-crisis-borders

SEE FOR FULL TEXT, NOTE 3

[5]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

11 APRIL 2022

Poland/Belarus: New evidence of abuses highlights ‘hypocrisy’ of unequal treatment of asylum-seekers 

  • Authorities violating rights of asylum-seekers, including strip searches and other degrading treatment, in overcrowded detention centres
  • Some people forcibly sedated during return
  • Pushbacks and arbitrary detention in stark contrast with welcome shown to those fleeing Ukraine
  • Spokespeople available

The Polish authorities have arbitrarily detained nearly two thousand asylum-seekers who crossed into the country from Belarus in 2021, and subjected many of them to abuse, including strip searches in unsanitary, overcrowded facilities, and in some cases even to forcible sedation and tasering, Amnesty International said today.

Additionally, after a hiatus during winter, more asylum-seekers are now trying to enter Poland from Belarus, where they are unable to access further funds due to international sanctions and risk harassment or apprehension by Belarusian police due their irregular immigration status. At the Polish border they face razor wire fences and repeated pushbacks by border guards sometimes up to 20-30 times.

“This violent and degrading treatment stands in stark contrast to the warm welcome Poland is offering to displaced people arriving from Ukraine. The behaviour of the Polish authorities smacks of racism and hypocrisy. Poland must urgently extend its admirable compassion for those entering the country from Ukraine to all those crossing its borders to seek safety.”

Arbitrary detention and abysmal detention conditions

Polish border guards have systematically rounded up and violently pushed back people crossing from Belarus, sometimes threatening them with guns. The vast majority of those who have been fortunate enough to avoid being pushed back to Belarus and to apply for asylum in Poland are forced into automatic detention, without a proper assessment of their individual situation and the impact detention would have on their physical and mental health. They are often held for prolonged and indefinite periods of time in overcrowded centres that offer little privacy and only limited access to sanitary facilities, doctors, psychologists, or legal assistance.

Almost all of the people Amnesty International interviewed said they were  traumatized after fleeing areas of conflict and being trapped for months on the Belarusian-Polish border. They also suffered from serious psychological problems, including anxiety, insomnia, depression and frequent suicidal thoughts, undoubtedly exacerbated by their unnecessary metres. For most, psychological support was unavailable.

Retraumatized inside a military base

Many of the people who Amnesty spoke to had been in Wędrzyn detention centre, which holds up to 600 people. Overcrowding is particularly acute in this facility, where up to 24 men are detained in rooms measuring just eight square metres.

In 2021, the Polish authorities decreased the minimum required space for foreign detainees from three square meters per person to just two. The Council of Europe minimum standard for personal living space in prisons and detention centres is four square meters per person.

People held in Wędrzyn recounted how guards greeted new detainees  by saying “welcome to Guantánamo”. Many of them were victims of torture in their home countries before enduring harrowing experiences both in Belarus and on the border of Poland. The detention centre in Wędrzyn forms part of an active military base. The facility’s barbed wire walls — and the persistent sound of armoured vehicles, helicopters and gunfire from military exercises in the area — only serves to retraumatize them.

In Lesznowola Detention Centre, detainees said that guards’ treatment left them feeling dehumanized. The staff called detainees by their case numbers instead of using their names and meted out excessive punishments, including isolation, for simple requests, such as asking for a towel or more food.

Nearly all those interviewed reported consistently disrespectful and verbally abusive behaviour, racist remarks and other practices that indicated psychological ill-treatment. 

Men who Amnesty International interviewed uniformly  complained about the manner in which body searches were  conducted. When people were  transferred from one detention centre to another, they were forced to undergo a strip search at each facility, even though they were in state custody at all times. In Wędrzyn, people recounted abusive searches. For example, all newly admitted foreigners are kept together in a room, required to remove all of their clothes and ordered to perform squats longer than necessary for a legitimate check.

Violent forcible returns

Amnesty International interviewed several people who were forcibly returned as well as some who avoided return and remain in detention in Poland. Many said the Polish border guards who conducted the returns coerced them into signing documents in Polish that they suspected included incriminating information in order to justify their returns. They also said that, in some cases, border guards used excessive force, such as tasers, restrained people with handcuffs, and even sedated those being returned. 

Authorities attempted to forcibly return Yezda, a 30-year old Kurdish woman , with her husband and three small children. After being told that the family would be returned to Iraq, Yezda panicked and screamed and pleaded with the guards not to take them. She threatened to take her life and became extremely agitated. “I knew I could not go back to Iraq and I was ready to die in Poland. While I was crying like that, two guards restrained me and my husband, tied our hands behind our backs, and a doctor gave us an injection that made us very weak and sleepy. My head was not clear, but I could hear my children, who were in the room with us, crying and screaming.”

“We were asked to go through the airport security and the guards told us to behave on the plane. But I refused to go. I remember noticing that I didn’t even have any shoes on, as in the chaos at the camp, they slipped of my feet. My head was not clear, and I couldn’t see my husband or the children, but I remember that they forced me on the plane that was full of people. I was still crying and pleading with the police not to take us.” Yezda said that she broke her foot as she fought the guards who tried to put her on the plane. Yezda and her family were returned to Warsaw after the airline refused to take them to Iraq. They remain in a camp in Poland for now.

Volunteers and activists have been barred from accessing the border of Poland and Belarus, and some have even faced prosecution for trying to help people cross the border. In March, activists who had helped people both on Poland’s borders with Ukraine and with Belarus were detained for providing life-saving assistance to refugees and migrants on the Belarussian border, and now face potentially serious charges.

Stranded at the border

On 20 March, the Belarusian authorities reportedly evicted close to 700 refugees and migrants, including many families with young children and people suffering from severe illnesses and disabilities, from the warehouse in the Belarusian village of Bruzgi which had accommodated several thousand people in 2021.

People who were evicted from the warehouse suddenly found themselves stranded in the forest, trying to survive in sub-zero temperatures without shelter, food, water or access to medical care. Many remain in the forest and experience daily abuse from the Belarusian border guards, who use dogs and violence to force people to cross the border into Poland.

“Hundreds of people fleeing conflict in the Middle East and other parts of the world remain stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland. The Polish government must immediately stop pushbacks. They are illegal no matter how the government tries to justify them. The international community – including the EU – must demand that those trapped on Poland’s border with Belarus be afforded the same access to EU territory as any other group seeking refuge in Europe,” said Jelena Sesar.

END OF THE ARTICLE

REPORT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS

11 APRIL 2022

The rapid relief effort at the border, exceptional generosity of civil society and willingness of Polish authorities to receive people fleeing from Ukraine contrast starkly with the Polish government’s hostility toward refugees and migrants who have arrived in the country via Belarus since July 2021. Hundreds of people who crossed from Belarus have been arbitrarily detained in Poland in appalling conditions and without access to a fair asylum proceeding. Many have been forcibly returned to their countries of origin, some under sedation. In addition, hundreds of people remain stranded inside Belarus and face increasingly desperate conditions.

END OF THIS PIECE

FULL REPORT

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS

11 APRIL 2022

https://www.amnesty.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/EUR3754602022ENGLISH.pdf

[6]

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS, THE UKRAINIAN REFUGEES

AND THE REFUGEES, TRAPPED BETWEEN POLAND AND BELARUS/

DO YOU TREAT THEM WITH EQUAL ATTENTION, RED CROSS?

ASTRID ESSED

[7]

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS 

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN UKRAINE AND NEIGHBOURING

COUNTRIES

https://www.icrc.org/en/humanitarian-crisis-ukraine

IFRC SCALES UP CASH ASSISTANCE TO PEOPLE IMPACTED

BY CONFLICT IN UKRAINE

23 MAY 2022

https://www.ifrc.org/article/ifrc-scales-cash-assistance-people-impacted-conflict-ukraine

Three months into the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has distributed financial assistance totalling more than 4.3 million Swiss francs to thousands of people on the move.

IFRC Head of Emergency Operations for the Ukraine response, Anne Katherine Moore, said:

“The longer the conflict continues, the greater the needs become. The cost of basic necessities, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, is rising. Increases in the cost of fuel and apartment rentals are also being reported. Millions of people have lost their jobs and their savings are dwindling. Through a new mobile app, we have been able to ramp up our support to help people facing these financial challenges.”

The new technology makes it possible for the IFRC and responding National Societies to reach people at scale and to deliver cash assistance digitally. Successfully introduced in Romania, the mobile app allows refugees to self-register for assistance online, negating the need and cost involved of having to travel to a central location.

The app will soon be expanded to Poland and Slovakia, where cash assistance is already being provided through more traditional methods such as in-person registration, as well as Ukraine and other neighbouring countries.

“This is the fastest we have ever delivered cash at this scale. It has the potential to be a game-changer for our work not just in this response, but also in future operations,” Moore continued.

Cash assistance is a dignified and efficient way to support people impacted by the conflict, allowing them to purchase items specific to their individual needs, while also supporting local economies. It is one part of our integrated and wide-ranging Red Cross and Red Crescent response to the conflict that also includes the provision of health care, first aid, psychosocial support and the distribution of basic household necessities.

Speaking about next steps, Moore said: “There is no short-term solution to the needs of the more than 14 million people who have been forced to flee their homes. We know that even if the conflict was to end tomorrow, rebuilding and recovery will take years. People have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and access to timely healthcare. The IFRC, in support of local National Red Cross Societies in the region, will be there helping people now, and in the months and years to come.”

During the past three months:
  • Together, we have reached more than 2.1 million people with life-saving aid within Ukraine and in surrounding countries. This is 1 in 10 people who had to flee their homes because of the conflict.
  • Along the travel routes within and outside Ukraine, we’ve set up 142 Humanitarian Service Points in 15 countries to provide those fleeing with a safe environment. There, they receive essential services like food, hygiene items, blankets, clothing water, first aid, psychosocial support, information, and financial assistance.
  • In total, we distributed 2.3 million kilograms of aid.
  • 71,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are responding to the crisis.

[8]

MEDICS LEAVE POLAND=BELARUS BORDER WITHOUT

REACHING MIGRANTS

https://www.dw.com/en/medics-leave-poland-belarus-border-without-reaching-migrants/a-60353514

Doctors Without Borders removed its team on the Belarus-Poland border after Warsaw blocked access to migrants trying to enter the European Union. Camped in harsh conditions, several people have died on the EU’s doorstep.

Despite knowing people along the Belarus-Poland border were “in desperate need of medical and humanitarian assistance,” the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it withdrew its emergency response team from the region.

“Since October, MSF has repeatedly requested access to the restricted area and the border guard posts in Poland, but without success,” Frauke Ossig, the charity’s emergency coordinator for Poland and Lithuania, said on Thursday.

“We know that there are still people crossing the border and hiding in the forest, in need of support, but while we are committed to assisting people on the move wherever they may be, we have not been able to reach them in Poland,” Ossig added.

MSF said it was concerned that restricting access to major aid organizations could result in more deaths and such policies were “another example of the EU deliberately creating unsafe conditions for people to seek asylum at its borders.”

While many of the migrants received shelter in a logistics center, a number of people are reported to have died in the freezing, harsh conditions along the border.

Why can’t aid groups reach migrants and asylum-seekers?

On December 1, Poland’s Interior Ministry extended a state of emergency that prohibits all non-residents, including journalists and non-governmental aid groups, from the border area.

“People are being attacked and beaten at the hands of border guards, and yet state officials continue to allow the practice of pushing people between borders knowing that such maltreatment continues,” MSF said.

With thousands of people on the Belarusian side of the 400-kilometer (250-mile) stretch, Poland built a barbed-wire fence that it intends to replace with a permanent barrier and sent thousands of soldiers to the border, leaving the migrants stuck in camps in no man’s land and unable to apply for asylum in the European Union.

Polish border guards accused of illegal ‘pushbacks’

Polish border guards have been accused of forcibly pushing migrants and asylum-seekers back into Belarus — a move that breaches international law. At least 21 people have lost their lives in the attempt in 2021, MSF reported.

In December, the Polish civil society group Salam Lab reported that five Syrian and one Palestinian who managed to find their way outside Poland’s exclusion zone said they had been pushed back to Belarus several times by Polish authorities.

EU nations Latvia and Lithuania, which also share borders with Belarus, have also reinforced their border security and declared a state of emergency. MSF said it had not received access to migrants at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.

The European Union has accused Belarus’ authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East to attempt to enter the EU through Belarus.

Belarus denies this and has urged the EU to take in the migrants.

“The current situation is unacceptable and inhumane,” Ossig said. “People have the right to seek safety and asylum and should not be illegitimately pushed back to Belarus.”

[9]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

11 APRIL 2022

SEE FOR FULL TEXT, NOTE 5

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Astrid Essed insists: Red Cross, please give me information about your present [2022] involvement with the refugees, trapped between Poland and Belarus

Opgeslagen onder Divers

The International Red Cross, the Ukrainian refugees and the refugees, trapped between Poland and Belarus/Do you treat them with equal attention, Red Cross?

The Massini family from Syria, father Muhammad (second left), mother Alaa (centre) and their two sons, with activists

The Massini family from Syria, father Muhammad (second left), mother Alaa (centre) and their two sons, with activists. Photograph: Wojtek Radwański/AFP/Getty Images
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/07/on-the-frozen-frontiers-of-europe-with-the-migrants-caught-in-a-lethal-game

Fallen tree in the Białowieża Forest

Bialowieza National Park in Poland0029.JPG
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5%82owie%C5%BCa_Forest

REFUGEES, TRAPPED BETWEEN POLAND AND BELARUS

War of Russia against Ukraine. War refugees in Ukraine. KYIV, UKRAINE - Mar. 05, 2022: War of Russia against Ukraine. Women, old people and children evacuated stock images

UKRAINIAN REFUGEES

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS, UKRAINIAN REFUGEES AND REFUGEES, TRAPPED BETWEEN POLAND AND BELARUS/DO YOU TREAT THEM WITH EQUAL ATTENTION, INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS?

ASTRID ESSED LETTER!

TO 

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS

PRESIDENT AND ASSEMBLY

Subject:

Questions about the International Red Cross attitude against

Ukrainian refugees versus refugees trapped between Belarus and

Poland

Your mission as International Red Cross

The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes – and those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. It takes action in response to emergencies and at the same time promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.

https://www.icrc.org/en/who-we-are/mandate

[When you are pressed with time, go directly to the part below:

”QUESTIONS TO THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS”]

Dear President

Dear members of the Assembly,

Firstly my great appreciation for your fantastic and indispensable Work

through the whole world!

Without your humanitarian involvement and the sometimes great risks

your co workers take, life would be extremely difficult, if not impossible,

for the millions of people you are helping day after day.

But even the best of organisations need critical attention and have their 

flaws and that’s precisely the reason of this letter.

For in my opinion the International Red Cross attention for the Ukrainian

refugees, who have crossed the Polish Border is far more greater than the attention for the refugees, who tried to cross the Polish Border and are still trapped between the borders of Poland and Belarus.

Now I will not say, that the International Red Cross did nothing for these refugees.

On the contrary:

My great appreciation for the Good Work of the Finnish Red Cross, that 

helped those people wonderfully! [1]

I also appreciate the emergency calls and involvement

of the American Red Cross, The Belarus Red Cross, the Poland Red Cross,

the Lithuanian Red Cross and the other Red Cross departments [2]

Thank you, Finnish Red Cross [which gets this letter cc also]

and thank you, the other mentioned and peerhaps not mentioned Red Cross departments !

Also a Shout out to all those anonymous Polish people,

who helped refugees! [3]

And I express my appreciation to the president of the International

Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies mr F Rocca, who

stated, that thee should be no difference in the reception and protection

of refugees, whether they are Ukrainians or coming from other countries.

I quote him:

“The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis has shown what is possible when humanity and dignity comes first, when there is global solidarity and the will to assist and protect the most vulnerable,”and

“This must be extended to everyone in need, wherever they come from. Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives.” [4]

UKRAINIAN REFUGEES VERSUS REFUGEES, TRAPPED BETWEEN

POLAND AND BELARUS

I referred to the great attention of the International Red Cross to the Ukrainian

refugees [5] and don’t get me wrong:

I appreciate that very much and I think it is of the utmost importance to stand

for these people, who were the victims of the Russian invasion and had to flee their countries under so dramatic circumstances.

I sympathise with all refugees whoever they are and where they came from

and I know the International Red Cross does the same.

And yet, according to me, sometimes things go wrong.

Too often I learn from people from the field: Volunteers who do their utmost

to help those. who are trapped between the borders of Belarus and Poland, that

the Red Cross is not, or not enough, present to help the between border refugees”:

I quote something that made great impression on me:

It’s from mrs Anna Albot, a spokeswoman for the Polish Minority

Right Group [also mentioned in cc] and member of the Grupa Granica:

Quote: [first in Dutch, then translation in English]:

”Waar is het Rode Kruis, de Internationale Organisatie voor Migratie van de VN en de VN-vluchtelingenorganisatie? Die organisaties die zelfs in oorlogsgebieden opereren? Die voedsel en water naar de gevaarlijkste criminelen brengen? Is Elina, 5, gevaarlijker of minder waard? ” [6]

In English:

”Where is the Red Cross, The International Organisation for Migration

of the UN and the UNHCR? 

Those organisations which even operate in warzones?

Which bring food and water to the most dangerous criminals?

Is Elina, 5, more dangerous and worth less?

Mrs Albot also published this article in the Guardian [8 december 2021]

QUESTIONS TO THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS

This was in december 2021

And to my knowledge, the situation of the refugees, trapped

in the Polish-Belarussian border is yet inhuman, as is the

situation of the refugees, who reached Poland and are in

Polish detention centres in dire conditions.

See the statement of Amnesty International [7]

Now I had the impression, that on this moment, the main attention

of the International Cross goes to the Ukrainian refugees and that the

trapped refugees between Poland and Belarus are somewhat forgotten.

When I am wrong, please send me the information about

your involvement in the no one land between those borders.

When I am NOT wrong, please explain to me, why the International

Red Cross shows less attention to those refugees:

Are you being hindered in your activities, something volunteers have experienced in the past months? [8]

And if that’s so, what did you do, as an International Organisation, to

address to this situation?

Did you write to the Polish and Belarussian authorities?

Did you gave press conferences about this?

Did you try to visit the Polish detention centres, where, according to the

information of Amnesty International, the border refugees are being

mistreated and denied their right to asylum? [9]

If not, why not?

Because you are hindered in your activities?

And again the question:

If you are hindered in your activities, what did you do to protest and get access anyway, as

is your right and obligation as the International Red Cross?

And when, suppose you HAD access to the mentioned detention centres and

were not hindered in your activities, why did you give more attention

to the Ukrainian refugees then to those trapped between Belarus and

Poland.

Again, I don’t say you on purpose neglected those between borders refugees, I only had the impression more attention went to the Ukrainian refugees, who have, of course, the full right to your attention, only not more then

others.

EPILOGUE

Dear president, members of the International Red Cross, I hope you

forgive me my bold and critical questions, but they were necessary:

Like Amnesty International [10] I am very concerned about the

inhuman situation of the refugees between the border, as their reception in

Poland, that is quite different from the warm welcome

the Ukrainian refugees received, as it should be for all refugees.

You as a great humanitarian organisation can make the difference and

show the World and especially the European leaders, that all refugees 

must be treated and received humanely, regardless where they came from

or what their origins are.

Do your best.

The refugees count on you!

And if you’re pressed with time and can’t answer me, no problem

All I want is that you do your humanitarian task to all refugees,

whoever they are

Thank you

Kind greetings

Astrid Essed

Amsterdam 

The Netherlands

NOTES

[1]

THE FINISH RED CROSS

THE RED CROSS IS HELPING MIGRANTS STRUGGLING IN

DANGEROUS CONDITIONS AT THE EU’S EASTERN BORDER

24 NOVEMBER 2021

https://www.redcross.fi/news/2021/the-red-cross-is-helping-migrants-struggling-in-dangerous-conditions-at-the-eus-eastern-border/

The situation of migrants trying to enter the EU at the border of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus is alarming. Thousands of migrants have been stuck on the border region since early autumn. The situation of people sleeping without shelter is expected to worsen as the winter approaches.

The Belarusian, Polish and Lithuanian Red Cross organisations are helping migrants at the borders by distributing food, clean water, hygiene supplies, clothes and blankets and by offering essential health care.

The health of the people sleeping rough is at continuous risk. At least 10 people are known to have died. Among them, a 14-year-old boy who died of hypothermia.

“There are hundreds of children at the border, many of whom have been separated from their families. The are also pregnant women and disabled people among the migrants. Their situation is worsening by the hour as the crisis drags on and nights become colder,” says the Director of International Operations at the Finnish Red Cross Tiina Saarikoski.

“All states are obliged to ensure that humanitarian aid gets through to its target. People have the right to necessary protection, care and safety, regardless of whether they are granted the right to stay in the country or not.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross helps migrants establish contact with their family members. 

The Finnish Red Cross maintains preparedness for large-scale migration as part of its continuous readiness. As agreed with the authorities, the Red Cross is permanently prepared to establish and maintain reception centres and temporary accommodation units at the request of the authorities.

The Finnish Red Cross has not received official requests in relation to the situation in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. 
 
“The most important thing right now is to deliver necessary aid to the migrants in unsafe conditions and allow humanitarian operators to provide aid,” Saarikoski emphasises. 

[2]

AMERICAN RED CROSS

THOUSANDS AT BELARUS BORDER IN NEED

OF HUMANITARIAN AID

https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2021/thousands-at-belarus-border-in-need-of-humanitarian-aid.html

November 15, 2021

The Red Cross is urgently providing relief efforts as thousands of people risk their lives in freezing conditions along the Belarus-Poland border. At least 10 people have died and an estimated 2,000 people are living in makeshift camps near the border between Belarus and neighboring countries Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urges unhindered access to the border be provided to help the men, women and children risking their lives for a safer future. 

Belarus Red Cross has been coordinating aid from partners since last week, distributing food, water, blankets and warm clothes. Staff and volunteers are involved in a continuous response to the situation, sorting and distributing packages, as well as helping authorities set up heating tents for women and children. Assistance was also provided for three children who were hospitalized.

“We are concerned about the increasingly serious situation on the Poland-Belarus border, after large groups of migrants arrived there on November 8. We call for access for the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations so that all people in need, at the border and other locations, can receive medical treatment, humanitarian assistance and protection services,” said Andreas von Weissenberg, IFRC Europe’s head of Disasters, Climate and Crises.

“While Belarus Red Cross has thankfully been given some access to provide vital life-saving aid to people enduring hunger and freezing conditions, we need that access to be regular and also get access on the other side of the border. People need to be treated humanely,” von Weissenberg said.

The Polish Red Cross has been responding to this crisis for several weeks, delivering blankets, sleeping bags and clothes. Local branches are supporting migrants in provinces near the border with food, water and hygiene kits, as well as providing first aid and helping people trace family members.

Lithuanian Red Cross teams have also been supporting migrants close to the border with water, hygiene kits, footwear and clothing, as well as toys for children. In five large reception centers, volunteers provide food and other humanitarian aid, offer psychological support and legal assistance and help people reconnect with their loved ones by providing mobile phones and SIM cards.

IFRC is in the process of providing the Belarus Red Cross, Polish Red Cross and Lithuanian Red Cross with emergency funding to support the migrants with food, clothes, hygiene items, first aid and family reunification services.

“Humanitarian organizations must be granted unconditional and safe access to all people in need, irrespective of their legal status. People are crossing the border with just the clothes on their backs. They need food, medicine, hygiene items, clothing, and protective equipment against COVID-19. We must be allowed to deliver critical assistance and we want to see a peaceful, humane and rights-based solution to the situation,” von Weissenberg concluded. 

[3]

24/7  NEWS BULLETIN

IT’S HEART BREAKING: HOW POLISH VOLUNTEERS

RESCUE POVERTY STRICKEN MIGRANTS AT

THE BELARUSIAN BORDER

11 NOVEMBER 2021

While the official Warsaw refuses to let in the migrants who have accumulated on the Belarusian border, not wanting to recognize them as refugees, many Poles express a desire to help people in difficult situations.

In the Polish media, you can see lists of various NGOs that are involved in helping migrants, as well as talk about ways to help them. One of the most popular is called a financial donation, but it is also suggested to become a volunteer working with refugees. The monetary contributions are spent on humanitarian transportation, shelter, medical and legal assistance, and integration with the host society.

“You don’t have to be at the border to help refugees,” writes Gazeta Wyborcza. “We can’t do much on this issue, but here’s exactly what we can: offer a blanket, a sleeping bag or waterproof clothing.”

Among the organizations that help refugees and migrants, mention is made, for example, of Caritas Polska, which carries out humanitarian aid campaigns both in Poland and abroad. This organization operates centers for refugees and migrants in Szczecin, Kalisz and Warsaw, providing systematic assistance in the field of intercultural integration, career counseling, psychological and legal assistance, classes in community centers and educational packages. Since the beginning of the current migration crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border, Caritas Polska has been organizing humanitarian transfers to centers where foreigners arrive, providing migrants with food, detergents, hygiene items, and blankets.

Helping migrants and the Polish Red Cross collecting material gifts for aid packages for migrants. Donations are accepted at Red Cross offices throughout Poland. Currently, the most in demand are: jackets, sweaters, thick socks, warm shoes, hats, scarves, blankets and sleeping bags. At the same time, clothes and shoes must be new or used, but in good condition. High-energy products are accepted (bars, chocolate, dried fruits), as well as other food products (pies and other canned poultry, canned fish, crackers, waffles, etc.).

The Polish non-governmental humanitarian organization Grupa Granica, which monitors the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border, believes that refugees need to be rescued as soon as possible. Indeed, if the Polish border police finds injured migrants before doctors, they send them back to Belarus, explaining this step by the fact that their health condition may deteriorate at any time, and the risk of death in such conditions is great.

The Guardian tells how 15 Iraqi Kurds ended up in the forests of the Polish village of Narewka after they managed to cross the border of Belarus and the European Union. All migrants had early signs of hypothermia. One woman could hardly walk. They had no choice but to turn to volunteers for help. A team from Grupa Granica, before the border guards, found migrants who found themselves in completely extreme conditions. It was already starting to get dark, and the temperature dropped to almost zero degrees. Volunteers distributed blankets and hot tea to people.

After some time, the police arrived in the forest. Up to this point, volunteers have explained to the frozen migrants how to properly apply for asylum.

“We have about eight teams operating near the border and a total of about 40 people,” Anna Albot, a spokeswoman for the Polish Minority Rights Group and member of Grupa Granica, told The Guardian. – Whenever we receive calls from migrant families, we send a request to our teams and check who is closest to the place. People often ask for food, water, a doctor, or clothing. The other day I met a Syrian family who didn’t even have shoes. ”

Anna Chmielewska, coordinator of the Center for Assistance to Foreigners in Warsaw, noted that “it is difficult to work in the border zone for several reasons”. First, the Polish police stop the cars of the volunteers a few kilometers before the Kuznitsa checkpoint on the Polish-Belarusian border. The fact is that three kilometers from the border begins the territory on which the state of emergency is in force, so access to it is prohibited.

“We cannot get into this zone and help the people who are there,” she added. “Only local residents can do this.” According to her, volunteers only have the opportunity to contact migrants only when they can pass the border zone: “But not everyone succeeds in doing this. Winter is coming and people are not ready to stay outside in the cold day after day. We are afraid that bad weather will lead to more deaths. It’s heartbreaking for us. “

In addition, the activist said that border police officers often behave quite aggressively. “We are not doing anything illegal, but they make us feel like we are violators,” Khmelevska said. “Helping people is okay. But in the current situation we seem to be engaged in secret activities. “

According to a representative of another non-governmental Polish organization, Medycy na granicy (Doctors at the Border – MK), border guards periodically obstruct the provision of medical assistance to migrants.

On their official Facebook page, the volunteers reported that before going on another call, they found that the ambulance’s wheels had been deflated. In addition, the doctors found “people in uniform” at the service car, and an olive-colored car with registration numbers beginning with the letters denoting the off-road vehicles of the Polish army stood nearby, the report said.

The doctors added that they tried to talk to the people sitting in the car, but they left almost immediately. Then they turned to the Ministry of National Defense of Poland with a request to “urgently provide clarification regarding this shameful incident.”

The department gave a response almost immediately. “The soldiers of the Polish army have no relation to the damage to the ambulance at the border,” the ministry’s press service informed. “They have much more serious questions than the denial of fake news in the media space.”

At the same time, such situations do not lead volunteers astray. They continue to provide assistance to refugees. On their social networks, doctors posted a post in five languages – English, French, Arabic, Persian and Kurdish – with the following content: “If you or someone from your family needs any humanitarian or medical assistance on the Polish-Belarusian border, write US. We will connect you with the right people. “

Those wishing to help migrants have to face not only opposition from the authorities. After one of the theaters in the city of Legnica began collecting gifts for refugees on the Polish-Belarusian border, it was attacked by haters on the Internet. “But there are more people willing to help,” says one of the initiators of the action.

In this regard, Polish volunteers are pleased to know that activists from Germany are trying to help migrants stranded on the Polish-Belarusian border. According to the Polish Internet resource Oko.press, a group of German volunteers came to Poland to deliver parcels for refugees to local organizations, show solidarity with immigrants and protest against the actions of the Polish authorities and the inaction of German politicians.

“We have free seats on the bus,” says one of the activists Ruben Neugebauer. “We could take people who need help with us. If only the German government would agree to this … We call on the German authorities to create humanitarian corridors on the Polish-Belarusian border. This should be one of the priorities of the government that is currently being formed in Germany. “

.

Source From: MK

[4]

IFRC PRESIDENT: ETHNICITY AND NATIONALITY SHOULD NOT

BE DECIDING FACTORS IN SAVING LIVES

16 MAY 2022/PRESS RELEASE

https://www.ifrc.org/press-release/ifrc-president-ethnicity-and-nationality-should-not-be-deciding-factors-saving-lives

New York / Geneva, 16 May 2022 – President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Francesco Rocca calls on states to step up to their responsibility to save lives, no matter where people are from, ahead of the first review of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

Mr Rocca says: “When I was in Marrakech for the adoption of the GCM I made a statement that the world’s approach to migration is painfully broken – but that the GCM can fix it. As we begin the first review of the progress made since then, I am sad to say that this has not been the case so far. Not enough changes to policies and practices to ensure safe and dignified migration have taken place, and many more lives have been lost due to that failure to act.”

On the world’s deadliest sea migration route, the central Mediterranean, the number of deaths has in fact increased since the GCM was signed. The Ocean Viking ship, operated by SOS Mediterranée with IFRC providing humanitarian services on board, saves people in distress on this route.

“We need to carry out this work as state-coordinated search and rescue is absent in the area,” says Mr Rocca. “Our teams have already saved 1,260 people in the nine months we’ve been operating.”

The Ocean Viking is one of the 330 Humanitarian Service Points (HSPs) in 45 countries that supports the ambitions of the GCM, providing assistance and protection to people on the move irrespective of status and without fear of reprisal. The Romanian Red Cross implements HSPs in Bucharest to support people fleeing Ukraine, providing information, food, water, hygiene items and financial assistance, while the Hungarian Red Cross has been operating a HSP at the Keleti railway station 24/7 to welcome people arriving from Ukraine by train with information, food, hygiene items and baby care products.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colombian Red Cross Society has implemented HSPs at the border with Venezuela, offering essential services like healthcare, while Libyan Red Crescent volunteers have provided support to migrants and displaced people, operating HSPs that provided access to information, food, and other necessities, as well as restoring family links services.

At the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), the IFRC is calling for individual and collective efforts on search and rescue; ensuring access to essential services for migrants regardless of status; scaling up support to people affected of climate related displacement; and the inclusion of migrants in all aspects of society and decision making.

“The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis has shown what is possible when humanity and dignity comes first, when there is global solidarity and the will to assist and protect the most vulnerable,” says Mr Rocca. “This must be extended to everyone in need, wherever they come from. Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives.”

[5]

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS AND THE UKRAINE

https://www.icrc.org/en/humanitarian-crisis-ukraine

IFRC SCALES UP CASH ASSISTANCE TO PEOPLE IMPACTED

BY CONFLICT IN UKRAINE

23 MAY 2022

https://www.ifrc.org/article/ifrc-scales-cash-assistance-people-impacted-conflict-ukraine

Three months into the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has distributed financial assistance totalling more than 4.3 million Swiss francs to thousands of people on the move.

IFRC Head of Emergency Operations for the Ukraine response, Anne Katherine Moore, said:

“The longer the conflict continues, the greater the needs become. The cost of basic necessities, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, is rising. Increases in the cost of fuel and apartment rentals are also being reported. Millions of people have lost their jobs and their savings are dwindling. Through a new mobile app, we have been able to ramp up our support to help people facing these financial challenges.”

The new technology makes it possible for the IFRC and responding National Societies to reach people at scale and to deliver cash assistance digitally. Successfully introduced in Romania, the mobile app allows refugees to self-register for assistance online, negating the need and cost involved of having to travel to a central location.

The app will soon be expanded to Poland and Slovakia, where cash assistance is already being provided through more traditional methods such as in-person registration, as well as Ukraine and other neighbouring countries.

“This is the fastest we have ever delivered cash at this scale. It has the potential to be a game-changer for our work not just in this response, but also in future operations,” Moore continued.

Cash assistance is a dignified and efficient way to support people impacted by the conflict, allowing them to purchase items specific to their individual needs, while also supporting local economies. It is one part of our integrated and wide-ranging Red Cross and Red Crescent response to the conflict that also includes the provision of health care, first aid, psychosocial support and the distribution of basic household necessities.

Speaking about next steps, Moore said: “There is no short-term solution to the needs of the more than 14 million people who have been forced to flee their homes. We know that even if the conflict was to end tomorrow, rebuilding and recovery will take years. People have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and access to timely healthcare. The IFRC, in support of local National Red Cross Societies in the region, will be there helping people now, and in the months and years to come.”

During the past three months:
  • Together, we have reached more than 2.1 million people with life-saving aid within Ukraine and in surrounding countries. This is 1 in 10 people who had to flee their homes because of the conflict.
  • Along the travel routes within and outside Ukraine, we’ve set up 142 Humanitarian Service Points in 15 countries to provide those fleeing with a safe environment. There, they receive essential services like food, hygiene items, blankets, clothing water, first aid, psychosocial support, information, and financial assistance.
  • In total, we distributed 2.3 million kilograms of aid.
  • 71,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are responding to the crisis.

IFRCUKRAINE AND IMPACTED COUNTRIES CRISIS

https://www.ifrc.org/emergency/ukraine-and-impacted-countries

Due to the conflict escalation in Ukraine, millions of people have left their homes and crossed into neighbouring countries. The Ukrainian Red Cross is helping people affected by the conflict as the security situation allows. National Societies in surrounding countries, with support from the IFRC, are assisting people leaving Ukraine with shelter, basic aid items and medical supplies. People from Ukraine will need long-term, ongoing support. Our priority is addressing the humanitarian needs of all people affected by the conflict, inside and outside Ukraine.

IFRC

UKRAINE AND IMPACTED COUNTRIES CRISIS

EMERGENCY APPEAL

12 APRIL 2022

file:///C:/Users/Essed/Downloads/MGR65002ea1.pdf

[6]

FACEBOOK THE REFUGEE CIRCLE

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1172370492773108/

Saskia van Rees

 

8 dec 2021, door Anna Albot in the Guardian. Zij is met in Narewka, Polen, vlakbij de grens met Wit-Rusland.

Het helpen van vluchtelingen die verhongeren in de ijzige grensbossen van Polen is illegaal, maar het is niet de echte misdaad

Eén gedachte gaat constant door mijn hoofd: “Ik heb kinderen thuis, ik kan niet de cel in, ik kan niet de cel in.” De politiek ligt buiten mijn bereik of dat van de slachtoffers aan de grens tussen Polen en Wit-Rusland. Die gaat erom dat de vertrekkende Duitse kanselier Angela Merkel doordringt tot Alexander Loekasjenko, de president van Wit-Rusland. Het is ironisch dat deze grens meer dan 50 mediaploegen op de been heeft gebracht, maar Polen de enige plaats in de EU is waar journalisten niet vrijuit kunnen rapporteren.

Ondertussen nadert de strenge Noord-Europese winter en bevriezen mijn vingers in de donkere sneeuwnachten.

De grenssituatie laat de kloof zien tussen wat legaal is en wat moreel is. Hij beheerst de inspanningen van degenen die levens redden. Het enige wat wij, activisten in de bossen aan de grens tussen Polen en Wit-Rusland, kunnen doen is water, voedsel en kleding naar wanhopige mensen brengen. Maar deze fundamentele humanitaire daad, kan alleen in het geheim worden uitgevoerd. We moeten ons verstoppen en door de bossen sluipen. De aandacht trekken van grenswachten, politie of leger zou een nieuwe pushback kunnen forceren.

We ontmoeten bange ogen, uitgeputte gezichten, lichamen kapot door de kou … Bevroren, dorstige, hongerige mensen.

Ik heb verschillende groepen tussen de bomen ontmoet: gezinnen, moeders met kinderen, vaders met gehandicapte kinderen, ouderen en mensen uit de meest kwetsbare groepen ter wereld – etnisch, religieus en LGBTQ+. Ze zochten vrijheid, maar werden sinds augustus tot nu, december, vijf, tien en zelfs vijftien keer teruggedreven naar Wit-Rusland.

Tijdens mijn nachtelijke tochten ben ik uitgerust met een grote rugzak vol thermoskannen warme soep, sokken, laarzen, jassen, handschoenen, sjaals, mutsen, pleisters, medicijnen en powerbanks. Ik loop in het donker en verschuil me achter bomen als ik helikopters hoor of de felle lichten van de politie zie. Ik hoor het geplons van de soep in de kannen op mijn rug, ik hoor mijn kortademigheid – niemand heeft me geleerd om te sluipen en onzichtbaar te zijn als een beroepsmilitair. Ik heb jarenlang voor mensenrechten gewerkt, de meeste EU-grenzen en vluchtelingenkampen bezocht, maar ik was nooit bang om takken onder mijn voeten te laten kraken of voor het ritselen van de bomen boven mijn hoofd terwijl ik me voortbeweeg.

Uit persoonlijke verhalen en bewijzen verzameld door Minority Rights Group International en collega’s van Grupa Granica, een alliantie van 14 Poolse maatschappelijke organisaties die reageren op de crisis, weten we dat er minstens 5.000 mensen in de bossen zijn geweest en dat er momenteel minstens 1.000 zijn. We hebben met iedereen contact gehad: wanhopige slachtoffers van een walgelijk machtsspel tussen staten.

Elke keer dat we reageren op een telefoontje van iemand in nood, of hun moeder die nog in Irak of Afghanistan is, of een neef in Berlijn, hangen we onze rugzakken om en gaan. Dag en nacht – lang nadat de wereld zijn interesse heeft verloren. Soms zijn we uren op zoek naar mensen. Die veranderen voor de veiligheid vaak van locatie. Soms zijn bejaarde grootmoeders of de kleine kinderen die geen energie meer hebben om te lopen, gestrand in Poolse moerassen. Nu de bossen bedekt zijn met sneeuw en mensen ons niet kunnen bellen omdat hun telefoons zijn vernietigd door het Poolse leger, gebruiken we infrarood camera’s.

We ontmoeten bange ogen, uitgeputte gezichten, lichamen kapot door de kou, wanhopig verzwakt na weken in het ijzige, natte bos. Bevroren, dorstige, hongerige mensen. Ik had geen idee wat honger betekende. Ik gaf mijn kinderen wel eens een stuk chocola als ze klaagden voor het eten. Ik heb armoedestatistieken en geschiedenisboeken gelezen. Ik wist niets van honger.

Mensen aan de grens tussen Polen en Wit-Rusland hebben al weken niet gegeten. Om de paar dagen krijgen ze, als ze geld hebben, misschien een oude aardappel van een Wit-Russische soldaat na een gewelddadige pushback over het prikkeldraad. Die delen ze met de kinderen. Ze hebben dagenlang niets te drinken. Of drinken moeras- of regenwater, dat maagkrampen en een verlammende hoofdpijn veroorzaakt, waardoor ze verder verzwakken.

We wensen hen het beste aan het einde van onze ontmoeting. Voor een paar dagen voldoende voedsel en water achterlaten is onmogelijk: niemand heeft de kracht om zoveel te dragen. We kunnen geen mensen meenemen of naar een veilige plek brengen. Dat zou een strafbaar feit zijn. Maar het is geen misdaad om deze mensen langzaam dood te laten gaan…

Waar is het Rode Kruis, de Internationale Organisatie voor Migratie van de VN en de VN-vluchtelingenorganisatie? Die organisaties die zelfs in oorlogsgebieden opereren? Die voedsel en water naar de gevaarlijkste criminelen brengen? Is Elina, 5, gevaarlijker of minder waard? Ze heeft epilepsie, maar geen medicijnen. Ik ontmoette haar in het bos met negen andere Koerden, allemaal zonder laarzen. Ze hebben thuis oorlogen en luchtaanvallen overleefd, maar kunnen in het Poolse bos doodvriezen. Bij elke pushback pakken Poolse en Wit-Russische officieren alles af: geld, kleding en schoeisel.

Er was de groep van negen vrouwen uit de Democratische Republiek Congo, waarschijnlijk verhandeld. Toen ik ze de situatie uitlegde, huilden en huilden ze maar. Of de Yezidi-zussen, die zeven jaar geleden ontsnapten aan de genocide in Sinjar, Irak, maar nog steeds op zoek zijn naar een veilige plek. Of de jongens uit Jemen, die perfect Engels spreken. Of de drie homoseksuele mannen uit Iran, wanhopig om niet teruggestuurd te worden naar Wit-Russische soldaten.

We blijven contact houden. Als ze erin slagen hun telefoons te verbergen, kunnen we communiceren na een pushback. Ze delen foto’s en video’s van Wit-Russische honden. Laten me bijtwonden zien als we elkaar aan de Poolse kant ontmoeten. Zij huilen. Ze vragen om advies. Ze willen hun familie niet vertellen over hun benarde situatie, maar ze hebben iemand nodig om mee te praten.

“De vijfde pushback. Na de zesde pleeg ik zelfmoord.”

“Ik heb mijn zoon verloren, hij heeft astma. De laatste keer dat hij belde was drie dagen geleden. Weet je waar hij is?”

“Wanneer ben je hier? Heb je water? Al is het een druppel?”

Onderworpen aan een desinformatiecampagne krijgen de vluchtelingen tegenstrijdige berichten van Wit-Russische diensten, die formulieren verspreiden over de vestiging in Polen of Duitsland. Dit schept hoop op een veilige reis. Maar het echte doel is om ze aan de Poolse grens neer te zetten om druk uit te oefenen op de EU. Sommige verontrustende berichten suggereren dat migranten worden gedwongen om deel te nemen aan geweld als onderdeel van Wit-Russische pogingen om Poolse functionarissen te provoceren.

Met het risico van een escalatie van geweld willen wij, de activisten in de bossen, de wereld eraan herinneren dat vluchtelingen geen agressors zijn. Ze zijn gijzelaars van het regime van Loekasjenko, dat hen voor zijn agenda gebruikt.

Polen sturen me berichten: “Waar moet ik warme en donkere kleding naartoe sturen?” “Hoe is de situatie aan de grens? De media laten ons alleen video’s zien van het Poolse ministerie of de Wit-Russische autoriteiten.” “Ik huil als ik mijn kinderen in bed stop. Schrijf alsjeblieft iets dat kan helpen.”

Dunja Mijatović, de commissaris voor mensenrechten van de Raad van Europa, verbleef vier dagen in Polen en ging met ons mee het veld in. Ze zei: “De grootste kracht van de hulpbeweging voor vluchtelingen aan de grens tussen Polen en Wit-Rusland zijn de inwoners van de naburige steden – in de noodzone en ernaast. Het is hun compassie en empathie die het leven van mensen in het bos verlengt. Hun moed en onbaatzuchtigheid. Hun goedheid redt levens.”

Anderen zien het natuurlijk anders: mensen die aan de grens helpen zijn “vijanden van de natie”, “agenten van Loekasjenko”, “schuldig aan het vernietigen van Europese waarden”, “het uitnodigen van terroristen hier”.

We maken ons schuldig aan het achterlaten van pakken water in het bos voor de dorstigen. We maken ons schuldig aan het uitdelen van soep. Aan schoenen aan koude voeten doen die niet meer konden bewegen. Als helpen illegaal is, begrijpen we dan wel wat misdaad is?

Anna Alboth is vrijwilliger bij Minority Rights Group

[7]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

11 APRIL 2022

Poland/Belarus: New evidence of abuses highlights ‘hypocrisy’ of unequal treatment of asylum-seekers 

  • Authorities violating rights of asylum-seekers, including strip searches and other degrading treatment, in overcrowded detention centres
  • Some people forcibly sedated during return
  • Pushbacks and arbitrary detention in stark contrast with welcome shown to those fleeing Ukraine
  • Spokespeople available

The Polish authorities have arbitrarily detained nearly two thousand asylum-seekers who crossed into the country from Belarus in 2021, and subjected many of them to abuse, including strip searches in unsanitary, overcrowded facilities, and in some cases even to forcible sedation and tasering, Amnesty International said today.

Additionally, after a hiatus during winter, more asylum-seekers are now trying to enter Poland from Belarus, where they are unable to access further funds due to international sanctions and risk harassment or apprehension by Belarusian police due their irregular immigration status. At the Polish border they face razor wire fences and repeated pushbacks by border guards sometimes up to 20-30 times.

“This violent and degrading treatment stands in stark contrast to the warm welcome Poland is offering to displaced people arriving from Ukraine. The behaviour of the Polish authorities smacks of racism and hypocrisy. Poland must urgently extend its admirable compassion for those entering the country from Ukraine to all those crossing its borders to seek safety.”

Arbitrary detention and abysmal detention conditions

Polish border guards have systematically rounded up and violently pushed back people crossing from Belarus, sometimes threatening them with guns. The vast majority of those who have been fortunate enough to avoid being pushed back to Belarus and to apply for asylum in Poland are forced into automatic detention, without a proper assessment of their individual situation and the impact detention would have on their physical and mental health. They are often held for prolonged and indefinite periods of time in overcrowded centres that offer little privacy and only limited access to sanitary facilities, doctors, psychologists, or legal assistance.

Almost all of the people Amnesty International interviewed said they were  traumatized after fleeing areas of conflict and being trapped for months on the Belarusian-Polish border. They also suffered from serious psychological problems, including anxiety, insomnia, depression and frequent suicidal thoughts, undoubtedly exacerbated by their unnecessary metres. For most, psychological support was unavailable.

Retraumatized inside a military base

Many of the people who Amnesty spoke to had been in Wędrzyn detention centre, which holds up to 600 people. Overcrowding is particularly acute in this facility, where up to 24 men are detained in rooms measuring just eight square metres.

In 2021, the Polish authorities decreased the minimum required space for foreign detainees from three square meters per person to just two. The Council of Europe minimum standard for personal living space in prisons and detention centres is four square meters per person.

People held in Wędrzyn recounted how guards greeted new detainees  by saying “welcome to Guantánamo”. Many of them were victims of torture in their home countries before enduring harrowing experiences both in Belarus and on the border of Poland. The detention centre in Wędrzyn forms part of an active military base. The facility’s barbed wire walls — and the persistent sound of armoured vehicles, helicopters and gunfire from military exercises in the area — only serves to retraumatize them.

In Lesznowola Detention Centre, detainees said that guards’ treatment left them feeling dehumanized. The staff called detainees by their case numbers instead of using their names and meted out excessive punishments, including isolation, for simple requests, such as asking for a towel or more food.

Nearly all those interviewed reported consistently disrespectful and verbally abusive behaviour, racist remarks and other practices that indicated psychological ill-treatment. 

Men who Amnesty International interviewed uniformly  complained about the manner in which body searches were  conducted. When people were  transferred from one detention centre to another, they were forced to undergo a strip search at each facility, even though they were in state custody at all times. In Wędrzyn, people recounted abusive searches. For example, all newly admitted foreigners are kept together in a room, required to remove all of their clothes and ordered to perform squats longer than necessary for a legitimate check.

Violent forcible returns

Amnesty International interviewed several people who were forcibly returned as well as some who avoided return and remain in detention in Poland. Many said the Polish border guards who conducted the returns coerced them into signing documents in Polish that they suspected included incriminating information in order to justify their returns. They also said that, in some cases, border guards used excessive force, such as tasers, restrained people with handcuffs, and even sedated those being returned. 

Authorities attempted to forcibly return Yezda, a 30-year old Kurdish woman , with her husband and three small children. After being told that the family would be returned to Iraq, Yezda panicked and screamed and pleaded with the guards not to take them. She threatened to take her life and became extremely agitated. “I knew I could not go back to Iraq and I was ready to die in Poland. While I was crying like that, two guards restrained me and my husband, tied our hands behind our backs, and a doctor gave us an injection that made us very weak and sleepy. My head was not clear, but I could hear my children, who were in the room with us, crying and screaming.”

“We were asked to go through the airport security and the guards told us to behave on the plane. But I refused to go. I remember noticing that I didn’t even have any shoes on, as in the chaos at the camp, they slipped of my feet. My head was not clear, and I couldn’t see my husband or the children, but I remember that they forced me on the plane that was full of people. I was still crying and pleading with the police not to take us.” Yezda said that she broke her foot as she fought the guards who tried to put her on the plane. Yezda and her family were returned to Warsaw after the airline refused to take them to Iraq. They remain in a camp in Poland for now.

Volunteers and activists have been barred from accessing the border of Poland and Belarus, and some have even faced prosecution for trying to help people cross the border. In March, activists who had helped people both on Poland’s borders with Ukraine and with Belarus were detained for providing life-saving assistance to refugees and migrants on the Belarussian border, and now face potentially serious charges.

Stranded at the border

On 20 March, the Belarusian authorities reportedly evicted close to 700 refugees and migrants, including many families with young children and people suffering from severe illnesses and disabilities, from the warehouse in the Belarusian village of Bruzgi which had accommodated several thousand people in 2021.

People who were evicted from the warehouse suddenly found themselves stranded in the forest, trying to survive in sub-zero temperatures without shelter, food, water or access to medical care. Many remain in the forest and experience daily abuse from the Belarusian border guards, who use dogs and violence to force people to cross the border into Poland.

“Hundreds of people fleeing conflict in the Middle East and other parts of the world remain stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland. The Polish government must immediately stop pushbacks. They are illegal no matter how the government tries to justify them. The international community – including the EU – must demand that those trapped on Poland’s border with Belarus be afforded the same access to EU territory as any other group seeking refuge in Europe,” said Jelena Sesar.

END OF THE ARTICLE

REPORT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS

11 APRIL 2022

The rapid relief effort at the border, exceptional generosity of civil society and willingness of Polish authorities to receive people fleeing from Ukraine contrast starkly with the Polish government’s hostility toward refugees and migrants who have arrived in the country via Belarus since July 2021. Hundreds of people who crossed from Belarus have been arbitrarily detained in Poland in appalling conditions and without access to a fair asylum proceeding. Many have been forcibly returned to their countries of origin, some under sedation. In addition, hundreds of people remain stranded inside Belarus and face increasingly desperate conditions.

END OF THIS PIECE

FULL REPORT

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS

11 APRIL 2022

https://www.amnesty.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/EUR3754602022ENGLISH.pdf

[8]

MEDICS LEAVE POLAND=BELARUS BORDER WITHOUT

REACHING MIGRANTS

https://www.dw.com/en/medics-leave-poland-belarus-border-without-reaching-migrants/a-60353514

Doctors Without Borders removed its team on the Belarus-Poland border after Warsaw blocked access to migrants trying to enter the European Union. Camped in harsh conditions, several people have died on the EU’s doorstep.

Despite knowing people along the Belarus-Poland border were “in desperate need of medical and humanitarian assistance,” the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it withdrew its emergency response team from the region.

“Since October, MSF has repeatedly requested access to the restricted area and the border guard posts in Poland, but without success,” Frauke Ossig, the charity’s emergency coordinator for Poland and Lithuania, said on Thursday.

“We know that there are still people crossing the border and hiding in the forest, in need of support, but while we are committed to assisting people on the move wherever they may be, we have not been able to reach them in Poland,” Ossig added.

MSF said it was concerned that restricting access to major aid organizations could result in more deaths and such policies were “another example of the EU deliberately creating unsafe conditions for people to seek asylum at its borders.”

While many of the migrants received shelter in a logistics center, a number of people are reported to have died in the freezing, harsh conditions along the border.

Why can’t aid groups reach migrants and asylum-seekers?

On December 1, Poland’s Interior Ministry extended a state of emergency that prohibits all non-residents, including journalists and non-governmental aid groups, from the border area.

“People are being attacked and beaten at the hands of border guards, and yet state officials continue to allow the practice of pushing people between borders knowing that such maltreatment continues,” MSF said.

With thousands of people on the Belarusian side of the 400-kilometer (250-mile) stretch, Poland built a barbed-wire fence that it intends to replace with a permanent barrier and sent thousands of soldiers to the border, leaving the migrants stuck in camps in no man’s land and unable to apply for asylum in the European Union.

Polish border guards accused of illegal ‘pushbacks’

Polish border guards have been accused of forcibly pushing migrants and asylum-seekers back into Belarus — a move that breaches international law. At least 21 people have lost their lives in the attempt in 2021, MSF reported.

In December, the Polish civil society group Salam Lab reported that five Syrian and one Palestinian who managed to find their way outside Poland’s exclusion zone said they had been pushed back to Belarus several times by Polish authorities.

EU nations Latvia and Lithuania, which also share borders with Belarus, have also reinforced their border security and declared a state of emergency. MSF said it had not received access to migrants at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.

The European Union has accused Belarus’ authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East to attempt to enter the EU through Belarus.

Belarus denies this and has urged the EU to take in the migrants.

“The current situation is unacceptable and inhumane,” Ossig said. “People have the right to seek safety and asylum and should not be illegitimately pushed back to Belarus.”

[9]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

11 APRIL 2022

SEE FOR FULL TEXT, NOTE 7

[10]

SEE NOTE 10

SEE ALSO THE LINK

SEE THE ASTRID ESSED MAIL TO THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS

SUBJECT OF THE MAIL:

”QUESTIONS ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS ATTITUDE 

AGAINST UKRAINIAN REFUGEES VERSUS REFUGEES TRAPPED

BETWEEN BELARUS AND POLAND;”

MAIL:

Astrid Essed <astridessed@yahoo.com>

To:press@icrc.org

Cc:secretariat@ifrc.org,tommaso.dellalonga@ifrc.org,anna.tuson@ifrc.org,info@redcross.fi,info@redcross.byand 3 more…

Fri, May 27 at 3:03 AM

TO 

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS

PRESIDENT AND ASSEMBLY

Subject:

Questions about the International Red Cross attitude against

Ukrainian refugees versus refugees trapped between Belarus and

Poland

Your mission as International Red Cross

The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes – and those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. It takes action in response to emergencies and at the same time promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.

https://www.icrc.org/en/who-we-are/mandate

[When you are pressed with time, go directly to the part below:

”QUESTIONS TO THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS”]

Dear President

Dear members of the Assembly,

Firstly my great appreciation for your fantastic and indispensable Work

through the whole world!

Without your humanitarian involvement and the sometimes great risks

your co workers take, life would be extremely difficult, if not impossible,

for the millions of people you are helping day after day.

But even the best of organisations need critical attention and have their 

flaws and that’s precisely the reason of this letter.

For in my opinion the International Red Cross attention for the Ukrainian

refugees, who have crossed the Polish Border is far more greater than the attention for the refugees, who tried to cross the Polish Border and are still trapped between the borders of Poland and Belarus.

Now I will not say, that the International Red Cross did nothing for these refugees.

On the contrary:

My great appreciation for the Good Work of the Finnish Red Cross, that 

helped those people wonderfully! [1]

I also appreciate the emergency calls and involvement

of the American Red Cross, The Belarus Red Cross, the Poland Red Cross,

the Lithuanian Red Cross and the other Red Cross departments [2]

Thank you, Finnish Red Cross [which gets this letter cc also]

and thank you, the other mentioned and peerhaps not mentioned Red Cross departments !

Also a Shout out to all those anonymous Polish people,

who helped refugees! [3]

And I express my appreciation to the president of the International

Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies mr F Rocca, who

stated, that thee should be no difference in the reception and protection

of refugees, whether they are Ukrainians or coming from other countries.

I quote him:

“The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis has shown what is possible when humanity and dignity comes first, when there is global solidarity and the will to assist and protect the most vulnerable,”and

“This must be extended to everyone in need, wherever they come from. Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives.” [4]

UKRAINIAN REFUGEES VERSUS REFUGEES, TRAPPED BETWEEN

POLAND AND BELARUS

I referred to the great attention of the International Red Cross to the Ukrainian

refugees [5] and don’t get me wrong:

I appreciate that very much and I think it is of the utmost importance to stand

for these people, who were the victims of the Russian invasion and had to flee their countries under so dramatic circumstances.

I sympathise with all refugees whoever they are and where they came from

and I know the International Red Cross does the same.

And yet, according to me, sometimes things go wrong.

Too often I learn from people from the field: Volunteers who do their utmost

to help those. who are trapped between the borders of Belarus and Poland, that

the Red Cross is not, or not enough, present to help the between border refugees”:

I quote something that made great impression on me:

It’s from mrs Anna Albot, a spokeswoman for the Polish Minority

Right Group [also mentioned in cc] and member of the Grupa Granica:

Quote: [first in Dutch, then translation in English]:

”Waar is het Rode Kruis, de Internationale Organisatie voor Migratie van de VN en de VN-vluchtelingenorganisatie? Die organisaties die zelfs in oorlogsgebieden opereren? Die voedsel en water naar de gevaarlijkste criminelen brengen? Is Elina, 5, gevaarlijker of minder waard? ” [6]

In English:

”Where is the Red Cross, The International Organisation for Migration

of the UN and the UNHCR? 

Those organisations which even operate in warzones?

Which bring food and water to the most dangerous criminals?

Is Elina, 5, more dangerous and worth less?

Mrs Albot also published this article in the Guardian [8 december 2021]

QUESTIONS TO THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS

This was in december 2021

And to my knowledge, the situation of the refugees, trapped

in the Polish-Belarussian border is yet inhuman, as is the

situation of the refugees, who reached Poland and are in

Polish detention centres in dire conditions.

See the statement of Amnesty International [7]

Now I had the impression, that on this moment, the main attention

of the International Cross goes to the Ukrainian refugees and that the

trapped refugees between Poland and Belarus are somewhat forgotten.

When I am wrong, please send me the information about

your involvement in the no one land between those borders.

When I am NOT wrong, please explain to me, why the International

Red Cross shows less attention to those refugees:

Are you being hindered in your activities, something volunteers have experienced in the past months? [8]

And if that’s so, what did you do, as an International Organisation, to

address to this situation?

Did you write to the Polish and Belarussian authorities?

Did you gave press conferences about this?

Did you try to visit the Polish detention centres, where, according to the

information of Amnesty International, the border refugees are being

mistreated and denied their right to asylum? [9]

If not, why not?

Because you are hindered in your activities?

And again the question:

If you are hindered in your activities, what did you do to protest and get access anyway, as

is your right and obligation as the International Red Cross?

And when, suppose you HAD access to the mentioned detention centres and

were not hindered in your activities, why did you give more attention

to the Ukrainian refugees then to those trapped between Belarus and

Poland.

Again, I don’t say you on purpose neglected those between borders refugees, I only had the impression more attention went to the Ukrainian refugees, who have, of course, the full right to your attention, only not more then

others.

EPILOGUE

Dear president, members of the International Red Cross, I hope you

forgive me my bold and critical questions, but they were necessary:

Like Amnesty International [10] I am very concerned about the

inhuman situation of the refugees between the border, as their reception in

Poland, that is quite different from the warm welcome

the Ukrainian refugees received, as it should be for all refugees.

You as a great humanitarian organisation can make the difference and

show the World and especially the European leaders, that all refugees 

must be treated and received humanely, regardless where they came from

or what their origins are.

Do your best.

The refugees count on you!

And if you’re pressed with time and can’t answer me, no problem

All I want is that you do your humanitarian task to all refugees,

whoever they are

Thank you

Kind greetings

Astrid Essed

Amsterdam 

The Netherlands

NOTES

[1]

THE FINISH RED CROSS

THE RED CROSS IS HELPING MIGRANTS STRUGGLING IN

DANGEROUS CONDITIONS AT THE EU’S EASTERN BORDER

24 NOVEMBER 2021

https://www.redcross.fi/news/2021/the-red-cross-is-helping-migrants-struggling-in-dangerous-conditions-at-the-eus-eastern-border/

The situation of migrants trying to enter the EU at the border of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus is alarming. Thousands of migrants have been stuck on the border region since early autumn. The situation of people sleeping without shelter is expected to worsen as the winter approaches.

The Belarusian, Polish and Lithuanian Red Cross organisations are helping migrants at the borders by distributing food, clean water, hygiene supplies, clothes and blankets and by offering essential health care.

The health of the people sleeping rough is at continuous risk. At least 10 people are known to have died. Among them, a 14-year-old boy who died of hypothermia.

“There are hundreds of children at the border, many of whom have been separated from their families. The are also pregnant women and disabled people among the migrants. Their situation is worsening by the hour as the crisis drags on and nights become colder,” says the Director of International Operations at the Finnish Red Cross Tiina Saarikoski.

“All states are obliged to ensure that humanitarian aid gets through to its target. People have the right to necessary protection, care and safety, regardless of whether they are granted the right to stay in the country or not.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross helps migrants establish contact with their family members. 

The Finnish Red Cross maintains preparedness for large-scale migration as part of its continuous readiness. As agreed with the authorities, the Red Cross is permanently prepared to establish and maintain reception centres and temporary accommodation units at the request of the authorities.

The Finnish Red Cross has not received official requests in relation to the situation in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. 
 
“The most important thing right now is to deliver necessary aid to the migrants in unsafe conditions and allow humanitarian operators to provide aid,” Saarikoski emphasises. 

[2]

AMERICAN RED CROSS

THOUSANDS AT BELARUS BORDER IN NEED

OF HUMANITARIAN AID

https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2021/thousands-at-belarus-border-in-need-of-humanitarian-aid.html

November 15, 2021

The Red Cross is urgently providing relief efforts as thousands of people risk their lives in freezing conditions along the Belarus-Poland border. At least 10 people have died and an estimated 2,000 people are living in makeshift camps near the border between Belarus and neighboring countries Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urges unhindered access to the border be provided to help the men, women and children risking their lives for a safer future. 

Belarus Red Cross has been coordinating aid from partners since last week, distributing food, water, blankets and warm clothes. Staff and volunteers are involved in a continuous response to the situation, sorting and distributing packages, as well as helping authorities set up heating tents for women and children. Assistance was also provided for three children who were hospitalized.

“We are concerned about the increasingly serious situation on the Poland-Belarus border, after large groups of migrants arrived there on November 8. We call for access for the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations so that all people in need, at the border and other locations, can receive medical treatment, humanitarian assistance and protection services,” said Andreas von Weissenberg, IFRC Europe’s head of Disasters, Climate and Crises.

“While Belarus Red Cross has thankfully been given some access to provide vital life-saving aid to people enduring hunger and freezing conditions, we need that access to be regular and also get access on the other side of the border. People need to be treated humanely,” von Weissenberg said.

The Polish Red Cross has been responding to this crisis for several weeks, delivering blankets, sleeping bags and clothes. Local branches are supporting migrants in provinces near the border with food, water and hygiene kits, as well as providing first aid and helping people trace family members.

Lithuanian Red Cross teams have also been supporting migrants close to the border with water, hygiene kits, footwear and clothing, as well as toys for children. In five large reception centers, volunteers provide food and other humanitarian aid, offer psychological support and legal assistance and help people reconnect with their loved ones by providing mobile phones and SIM cards.

IFRC is in the process of providing the Belarus Red Cross, Polish Red Cross and Lithuanian Red Cross with emergency funding to support the migrants with food, clothes, hygiene items, first aid and family reunification services.

“Humanitarian organizations must be granted unconditional and safe access to all people in need, irrespective of their legal status. People are crossing the border with just the clothes on their backs. They need food, medicine, hygiene items, clothing, and protective equipment against COVID-19. We must be allowed to deliver critical assistance and we want to see a peaceful, humane and rights-based solution to the situation,” von Weissenberg concluded. 

[3]

24/7  NEWS BULLETIN

IT’S HEART BREAKING: HOW POLISH VOLUNTEERS

RESCUE POVERTY STRICKEN MIGRANTS AT

THE BELARUSIAN BORDER

11 NOVEMBER 2021

While the official Warsaw refuses to let in the migrants who have accumulated on the Belarusian border, not wanting to recognize them as refugees, many Poles express a desire to help people in difficult situations.

In the Polish media, you can see lists of various NGOs that are involved in helping migrants, as well as talk about ways to help them. One of the most popular is called a financial donation, but it is also suggested to become a volunteer working with refugees. The monetary contributions are spent on humanitarian transportation, shelter, medical and legal assistance, and integration with the host society.

“You don’t have to be at the border to help refugees,” writes Gazeta Wyborcza. “We can’t do much on this issue, but here’s exactly what we can: offer a blanket, a sleeping bag or waterproof clothing.”

Among the organizations that help refugees and migrants, mention is made, for example, of Caritas Polska, which carries out humanitarian aid campaigns both in Poland and abroad. This organization operates centers for refugees and migrants in Szczecin, Kalisz and Warsaw, providing systematic assistance in the field of intercultural integration, career counseling, psychological and legal assistance, classes in community centers and educational packages. Since the beginning of the current migration crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border, Caritas Polska has been organizing humanitarian transfers to centers where foreigners arrive, providing migrants with food, detergents, hygiene items, and blankets.

Helping migrants and the Polish Red Cross collecting material gifts for aid packages for migrants. Donations are accepted at Red Cross offices throughout Poland. Currently, the most in demand are: jackets, sweaters, thick socks, warm shoes, hats, scarves, blankets and sleeping bags. At the same time, clothes and shoes must be new or used, but in good condition. High-energy products are accepted (bars, chocolate, dried fruits), as well as other food products (pies and other canned poultry, canned fish, crackers, waffles, etc.).

The Polish non-governmental humanitarian organization Grupa Granica, which monitors the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border, believes that refugees need to be rescued as soon as possible. Indeed, if the Polish border police finds injured migrants before doctors, they send them back to Belarus, explaining this step by the fact that their health condition may deteriorate at any time, and the risk of death in such conditions is great.

The Guardian tells how 15 Iraqi Kurds ended up in the forests of the Polish village of Narewka after they managed to cross the border of Belarus and the European Union. All migrants had early signs of hypothermia. One woman could hardly walk. They had no choice but to turn to volunteers for help. A team from Grupa Granica, before the border guards, found migrants who found themselves in completely extreme conditions. It was already starting to get dark, and the temperature dropped to almost zero degrees. Volunteers distributed blankets and hot tea to people.

After some time, the police arrived in the forest. Up to this point, volunteers have explained to the frozen migrants how to properly apply for asylum.

“We have about eight teams operating near the border and a total of about 40 people,” Anna Albot, a spokeswoman for the Polish Minority Rights Group and member of Grupa Granica, told The Guardian. – Whenever we receive calls from migrant families, we send a request to our teams and check who is closest to the place. People often ask for food, water, a doctor, or clothing. The other day I met a Syrian family who didn’t even have shoes. ”

Anna Chmielewska, coordinator of the Center for Assistance to Foreigners in Warsaw, noted that “it is difficult to work in the border zone for several reasons”. First, the Polish police stop the cars of the volunteers a few kilometers before the Kuznitsa checkpoint on the Polish-Belarusian border. The fact is that three kilometers from the border begins the territory on which the state of emergency is in force, so access to it is prohibited.

“We cannot get into this zone and help the people who are there,” she added. “Only local residents can do this.” According to her, volunteers only have the opportunity to contact migrants only when they can pass the border zone: “But not everyone succeeds in doing this. Winter is coming and people are not ready to stay outside in the cold day after day. We are afraid that bad weather will lead to more deaths. It’s heartbreaking for us. “

In addition, the activist said that border police officers often behave quite aggressively. “We are not doing anything illegal, but they make us feel like we are violators,” Khmelevska said. “Helping people is okay. But in the current situation we seem to be engaged in secret activities. “

According to a representative of another non-governmental Polish organization, Medycy na granicy (Doctors at the Border – MK), border guards periodically obstruct the provision of medical assistance to migrants.

On their official Facebook page, the volunteers reported that before going on another call, they found that the ambulance’s wheels had been deflated. In addition, the doctors found “people in uniform” at the service car, and an olive-colored car with registration numbers beginning with the letters denoting the off-road vehicles of the Polish army stood nearby, the report said.

The doctors added that they tried to talk to the people sitting in the car, but they left almost immediately. Then they turned to the Ministry of National Defense of Poland with a request to “urgently provide clarification regarding this shameful incident.”

The department gave a response almost immediately. “The soldiers of the Polish army have no relation to the damage to the ambulance at the border,” the ministry’s press service informed. “They have much more serious questions than the denial of fake news in the media space.”

At the same time, such situations do not lead volunteers astray. They continue to provide assistance to refugees. On their social networks, doctors posted a post in five languages – English, French, Arabic, Persian and Kurdish – with the following content: “If you or someone from your family needs any humanitarian or medical assistance on the Polish-Belarusian border, write US. We will connect you with the right people. “

Those wishing to help migrants have to face not only opposition from the authorities. After one of the theaters in the city of Legnica began collecting gifts for refugees on the Polish-Belarusian border, it was attacked by haters on the Internet. “But there are more people willing to help,” says one of the initiators of the action.

In this regard, Polish volunteers are pleased to know that activists from Germany are trying to help migrants stranded on the Polish-Belarusian border. According to the Polish Internet resource Oko.press, a group of German volunteers came to Poland to deliver parcels for refugees to local organizations, show solidarity with immigrants and protest against the actions of the Polish authorities and the inaction of German politicians.

“We have free seats on the bus,” says one of the activists Ruben Neugebauer. “We could take people who need help with us. If only the German government would agree to this … We call on the German authorities to create humanitarian corridors on the Polish-Belarusian border. This should be one of the priorities of the government that is currently being formed in Germany. “

.

Source From: MK

[4]

IFRC PRESIDENT: ETHNICITY AND NATIONALITY SHOULD NOT

BE DECIDING FACTORS IN SAVING LIVES

16 MAY 2022/PRESS RELEASE

https://www.ifrc.org/press-release/ifrc-president-ethnicity-and-nationality-should-not-be-deciding-factors-saving-lives

New York / Geneva, 16 May 2022 – President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Francesco Rocca calls on states to step up to their responsibility to save lives, no matter where people are from, ahead of the first review of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

Mr Rocca says: “When I was in Marrakech for the adoption of the GCM I made a statement that the world’s approach to migration is painfully broken – but that the GCM can fix it. As we begin the first review of the progress made since then, I am sad to say that this has not been the case so far. Not enough changes to policies and practices to ensure safe and dignified migration have taken place, and many more lives have been lost due to that failure to act.”

On the world’s deadliest sea migration route, the central Mediterranean, the number of deaths has in fact increased since the GCM was signed. The Ocean Viking ship, operated by SOS Mediterranée with IFRC providing humanitarian services on board, saves people in distress on this route.

“We need to carry out this work as state-coordinated search and rescue is absent in the area,” says Mr Rocca. “Our teams have already saved 1,260 people in the nine months we’ve been operating.”

The Ocean Viking is one of the 330 Humanitarian Service Points (HSPs) in 45 countries that supports the ambitions of the GCM, providing assistance and protection to people on the move irrespective of status and without fear of reprisal. The Romanian Red Cross implements HSPs in Bucharest to support people fleeing Ukraine, providing information, food, water, hygiene items and financial assistance, while the Hungarian Red Cross has been operating a HSP at the Keleti railway station 24/7 to welcome people arriving from Ukraine by train with information, food, hygiene items and baby care products.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colombian Red Cross Society has implemented HSPs at the border with Venezuela, offering essential services like healthcare, while Libyan Red Crescent volunteers have provided support to migrants and displaced people, operating HSPs that provided access to information, food, and other necessities, as well as restoring family links services.

At the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), the IFRC is calling for individual and collective efforts on search and rescue; ensuring access to essential services for migrants regardless of status; scaling up support to people affected of climate related displacement; and the inclusion of migrants in all aspects of society and decision making.

“The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis has shown what is possible when humanity and dignity comes first, when there is global solidarity and the will to assist and protect the most vulnerable,” says Mr Rocca. “This must be extended to everyone in need, wherever they come from. Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives.”

[5]

THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS AND THE UKRAINE

https://www.icrc.org/en/humanitarian-crisis-ukraine

IFRC SCALES UP CASH ASSISTANCE TO PEOPLE IMPACTED

BY CONFLICT IN UKRAINE

23 MAY 2022

https://www.ifrc.org/article/ifrc-scales-cash-assistance-people-impacted-conflict-ukraine

Three months into the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has distributed financial assistance totalling more than 4.3 million Swiss francs to thousands of people on the move.

IFRC Head of Emergency Operations for the Ukraine response, Anne Katherine Moore, said:

“The longer the conflict continues, the greater the needs become. The cost of basic necessities, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, is rising. Increases in the cost of fuel and apartment rentals are also being reported. Millions of people have lost their jobs and their savings are dwindling. Through a new mobile app, we have been able to ramp up our support to help people facing these financial challenges.”

The new technology makes it possible for the IFRC and responding National Societies to reach people at scale and to deliver cash assistance digitally. Successfully introduced in Romania, the mobile app allows refugees to self-register for assistance online, negating the need and cost involved of having to travel to a central location.

The app will soon be expanded to Poland and Slovakia, where cash assistance is already being provided through more traditional methods such as in-person registration, as well as Ukraine and other neighbouring countries.

“This is the fastest we have ever delivered cash at this scale. It has the potential to be a game-changer for our work not just in this response, but also in future operations,” Moore continued.

Cash assistance is a dignified and efficient way to support people impacted by the conflict, allowing them to purchase items specific to their individual needs, while also supporting local economies. It is one part of our integrated and wide-ranging Red Cross and Red Crescent response to the conflict that also includes the provision of health care, first aid, psychosocial support and the distribution of basic household necessities.

Speaking about next steps, Moore said: “There is no short-term solution to the needs of the more than 14 million people who have been forced to flee their homes. We know that even if the conflict was to end tomorrow, rebuilding and recovery will take years. People have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and access to timely healthcare. The IFRC, in support of local National Red Cross Societies in the region, will be there helping people now, and in the months and years to come.”

During the past three months:
  • Together, we have reached more than 2.1 million people with life-saving aid within Ukraine and in surrounding countries. This is 1 in 10 people who had to flee their homes because of the conflict.
  • Along the travel routes within and outside Ukraine, we’ve set up 142 Humanitarian Service Points in 15 countries to provide those fleeing with a safe environment. There, they receive essential services like food, hygiene items, blankets, clothing water, first aid, psychosocial support, information, and financial assistance.
  • In total, we distributed 2.3 million kilograms of aid.
  • 71,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are responding to the crisis.

IFRCUKRAINE AND IMPACTED COUNTRIES CRISIS

https://www.ifrc.org/emergency/ukraine-and-impacted-countries

Due to the conflict escalation in Ukraine, millions of people have left their homes and crossed into neighbouring countries. The Ukrainian Red Cross is helping people affected by the conflict as the security situation allows. National Societies in surrounding countries, with support from the IFRC, are assisting people leaving Ukraine with shelter, basic aid items and medical supplies. People from Ukraine will need long-term, ongoing support. Our priority is addressing the humanitarian needs of all people affected by the conflict, inside and outside Ukraine.

IFRC

UKRAINE AND IMPACTED COUNTRIES CRISIS

EMERGENCY APPEAL

12 APRIL 2022

file:///C:/Users/Essed/Downloads/MGR65002ea1.pdf

[6]

FACEBOOK THE REFUGEE CIRCLE

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1172370492773108/

Saskia van Rees

 

8 dec 2021, door Anna Albot in the Guardian. Zij is met in Narewka, Polen, vlakbij de grens met Wit-Rusland.

Het helpen van vluchtelingen die verhongeren in de ijzige grensbossen van Polen is illegaal, maar het is niet de echte misdaad

Eén gedachte gaat constant door mijn hoofd: “Ik heb kinderen thuis, ik kan niet de cel in, ik kan niet de cel in.” De politiek ligt buiten mijn bereik of dat van de slachtoffers aan de grens tussen Polen en Wit-Rusland. Die gaat erom dat de vertrekkende Duitse kanselier Angela Merkel doordringt tot Alexander Loekasjenko, de president van Wit-Rusland. Het is ironisch dat deze grens meer dan 50 mediaploegen op de been heeft gebracht, maar Polen de enige plaats in de EU is waar journalisten niet vrijuit kunnen rapporteren.

Ondertussen nadert de strenge Noord-Europese winter en bevriezen mijn vingers in de donkere sneeuwnachten.

De grenssituatie laat de kloof zien tussen wat legaal is en wat moreel is. Hij beheerst de inspanningen van degenen die levens redden. Het enige wat wij, activisten in de bossen aan de grens tussen Polen en Wit-Rusland, kunnen doen is water, voedsel en kleding naar wanhopige mensen brengen. Maar deze fundamentele humanitaire daad, kan alleen in het geheim worden uitgevoerd. We moeten ons verstoppen en door de bossen sluipen. De aandacht trekken van grenswachten, politie of leger zou een nieuwe pushback kunnen forceren.

We ontmoeten bange ogen, uitgeputte gezichten, lichamen kapot door de kou … Bevroren, dorstige, hongerige mensen.

Ik heb verschillende groepen tussen de bomen ontmoet: gezinnen, moeders met kinderen, vaders met gehandicapte kinderen, ouderen en mensen uit de meest kwetsbare groepen ter wereld – etnisch, religieus en LGBTQ+. Ze zochten vrijheid, maar werden sinds augustus tot nu, december, vijf, tien en zelfs vijftien keer teruggedreven naar Wit-Rusland.

Tijdens mijn nachtelijke tochten ben ik uitgerust met een grote rugzak vol thermoskannen warme soep, sokken, laarzen, jassen, handschoenen, sjaals, mutsen, pleisters, medicijnen en powerbanks. Ik loop in het donker en verschuil me achter bomen als ik helikopters hoor of de felle lichten van de politie zie. Ik hoor het geplons van de soep in de kannen op mijn rug, ik hoor mijn kortademigheid – niemand heeft me geleerd om te sluipen en onzichtbaar te zijn als een beroepsmilitair. Ik heb jarenlang voor mensenrechten gewerkt, de meeste EU-grenzen en vluchtelingenkampen bezocht, maar ik was nooit bang om takken onder mijn voeten te laten kraken of voor het ritselen van de bomen boven mijn hoofd terwijl ik me voortbeweeg.

Uit persoonlijke verhalen en bewijzen verzameld door Minority Rights Group International en collega’s van Grupa Granica, een alliantie van 14 Poolse maatschappelijke organisaties die reageren op de crisis, weten we dat er minstens 5.000 mensen in de bossen zijn geweest en dat er momenteel minstens 1.000 zijn. We hebben met iedereen contact gehad: wanhopige slachtoffers van een walgelijk machtsspel tussen staten.

Elke keer dat we reageren op een telefoontje van iemand in nood, of hun moeder die nog in Irak of Afghanistan is, of een neef in Berlijn, hangen we onze rugzakken om en gaan. Dag en nacht – lang nadat de wereld zijn interesse heeft verloren. Soms zijn we uren op zoek naar mensen. Die veranderen voor de veiligheid vaak van locatie. Soms zijn bejaarde grootmoeders of de kleine kinderen die geen energie meer hebben om te lopen, gestrand in Poolse moerassen. Nu de bossen bedekt zijn met sneeuw en mensen ons niet kunnen bellen omdat hun telefoons zijn vernietigd door het Poolse leger, gebruiken we infrarood camera’s.

We ontmoeten bange ogen, uitgeputte gezichten, lichamen kapot door de kou, wanhopig verzwakt na weken in het ijzige, natte bos. Bevroren, dorstige, hongerige mensen. Ik had geen idee wat honger betekende. Ik gaf mijn kinderen wel eens een stuk chocola als ze klaagden voor het eten. Ik heb armoedestatistieken en geschiedenisboeken gelezen. Ik wist niets van honger.

Mensen aan de grens tussen Polen en Wit-Rusland hebben al weken niet gegeten. Om de paar dagen krijgen ze, als ze geld hebben, misschien een oude aardappel van een Wit-Russische soldaat na een gewelddadige pushback over het prikkeldraad. Die delen ze met de kinderen. Ze hebben dagenlang niets te drinken. Of drinken moeras- of regenwater, dat maagkrampen en een verlammende hoofdpijn veroorzaakt, waardoor ze verder verzwakken.

We wensen hen het beste aan het einde van onze ontmoeting. Voor een paar dagen voldoende voedsel en water achterlaten is onmogelijk: niemand heeft de kracht om zoveel te dragen. We kunnen geen mensen meenemen of naar een veilige plek brengen. Dat zou een strafbaar feit zijn. Maar het is geen misdaad om deze mensen langzaam dood te laten gaan…

Waar is het Rode Kruis, de Internationale Organisatie voor Migratie van de VN en de VN-vluchtelingenorganisatie? Die organisaties die zelfs in oorlogsgebieden opereren? Die voedsel en water naar de gevaarlijkste criminelen brengen? Is Elina, 5, gevaarlijker of minder waard? Ze heeft epilepsie, maar geen medicijnen. Ik ontmoette haar in het bos met negen andere Koerden, allemaal zonder laarzen. Ze hebben thuis oorlogen en luchtaanvallen overleefd, maar kunnen in het Poolse bos doodvriezen. Bij elke pushback pakken Poolse en Wit-Russische officieren alles af: geld, kleding en schoeisel.

Er was de groep van negen vrouwen uit de Democratische Republiek Congo, waarschijnlijk verhandeld. Toen ik ze de situatie uitlegde, huilden en huilden ze maar. Of de Yezidi-zussen, die zeven jaar geleden ontsnapten aan de genocide in Sinjar, Irak, maar nog steeds op zoek zijn naar een veilige plek. Of de jongens uit Jemen, die perfect Engels spreken. Of de drie homoseksuele mannen uit Iran, wanhopig om niet teruggestuurd te worden naar Wit-Russische soldaten.

We blijven contact houden. Als ze erin slagen hun telefoons te verbergen, kunnen we communiceren na een pushback. Ze delen foto’s en video’s van Wit-Russische honden. Laten me bijtwonden zien als we elkaar aan de Poolse kant ontmoeten. Zij huilen. Ze vragen om advies. Ze willen hun familie niet vertellen over hun benarde situatie, maar ze hebben iemand nodig om mee te praten.

“De vijfde pushback. Na de zesde pleeg ik zelfmoord.”

“Ik heb mijn zoon verloren, hij heeft astma. De laatste keer dat hij belde was drie dagen geleden. Weet je waar hij is?”

“Wanneer ben je hier? Heb je water? Al is het een druppel?”

Onderworpen aan een desinformatiecampagne krijgen de vluchtelingen tegenstrijdige berichten van Wit-Russische diensten, die formulieren verspreiden over de vestiging in Polen of Duitsland. Dit schept hoop op een veilige reis. Maar het echte doel is om ze aan de Poolse grens neer te zetten om druk uit te oefenen op de EU. Sommige verontrustende berichten suggereren dat migranten worden gedwongen om deel te nemen aan geweld als onderdeel van Wit-Russische pogingen om Poolse functionarissen te provoceren.

Met het risico van een escalatie van geweld willen wij, de activisten in de bossen, de wereld eraan herinneren dat vluchtelingen geen agressors zijn. Ze zijn gijzelaars van het regime van Loekasjenko, dat hen voor zijn agenda gebruikt.

Polen sturen me berichten: “Waar moet ik warme en donkere kleding naartoe sturen?” “Hoe is de situatie aan de grens? De media laten ons alleen video’s zien van het Poolse ministerie of de Wit-Russische autoriteiten.” “Ik huil als ik mijn kinderen in bed stop. Schrijf alsjeblieft iets dat kan helpen.”

Dunja Mijatović, de commissaris voor mensenrechten van de Raad van Europa, verbleef vier dagen in Polen en ging met ons mee het veld in. Ze zei: “De grootste kracht van de hulpbeweging voor vluchtelingen aan de grens tussen Polen en Wit-Rusland zijn de inwoners van de naburige steden – in de noodzone en ernaast. Het is hun compassie en empathie die het leven van mensen in het bos verlengt. Hun moed en onbaatzuchtigheid. Hun goedheid redt levens.”

Anderen zien het natuurlijk anders: mensen die aan de grens helpen zijn “vijanden van de natie”, “agenten van Loekasjenko”, “schuldig aan het vernietigen van Europese waarden”, “het uitnodigen van terroristen hier”.

We maken ons schuldig aan het achterlaten van pakken water in het bos voor de dorstigen. We maken ons schuldig aan het uitdelen van soep. Aan schoenen aan koude voeten doen die niet meer konden bewegen. Als helpen illegaal is, begrijpen we dan wel wat misdaad is?

Anna Alboth is vrijwilliger bij Minority Rights Group

[7]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

11 APRIL 2022

Poland/Belarus: New evidence of abuses highlights ‘hypocrisy’ of unequal treatment of asylum-seekers 

  • Authorities violating rights of asylum-seekers, including strip searches and other degrading treatment, in overcrowded detention centres
  • Some people forcibly sedated during return
  • Pushbacks and arbitrary detention in stark contrast with welcome shown to those fleeing Ukraine
  • Spokespeople available

The Polish authorities have arbitrarily detained nearly two thousand asylum-seekers who crossed into the country from Belarus in 2021, and subjected many of them to abuse, including strip searches in unsanitary, overcrowded facilities, and in some cases even to forcible sedation and tasering, Amnesty International said today.

Additionally, after a hiatus during winter, more asylum-seekers are now trying to enter Poland from Belarus, where they are unable to access further funds due to international sanctions and risk harassment or apprehension by Belarusian police due their irregular immigration status. At the Polish border they face razor wire fences and repeated pushbacks by border guards sometimes up to 20-30 times.

“This violent and degrading treatment stands in stark contrast to the warm welcome Poland is offering to displaced people arriving from Ukraine. The behaviour of the Polish authorities smacks of racism and hypocrisy. Poland must urgently extend its admirable compassion for those entering the country from Ukraine to all those crossing its borders to seek safety.”

Arbitrary detention and abysmal detention conditions

Polish border guards have systematically rounded up and violently pushed back people crossing from Belarus, sometimes threatening them with guns. The vast majority of those who have been fortunate enough to avoid being pushed back to Belarus and to apply for asylum in Poland are forced into automatic detention, without a proper assessment of their individual situation and the impact detention would have on their physical and mental health. They are often held for prolonged and indefinite periods of time in overcrowded centres that offer little privacy and only limited access to sanitary facilities, doctors, psychologists, or legal assistance.

Almost all of the people Amnesty International interviewed said they were  traumatized after fleeing areas of conflict and being trapped for months on the Belarusian-Polish border. They also suffered from serious psychological problems, including anxiety, insomnia, depression and frequent suicidal thoughts, undoubtedly exacerbated by their unnecessary metres. For most, psychological support was unavailable.

Retraumatized inside a military base

Many of the people who Amnesty spoke to had been in Wędrzyn detention centre, which holds up to 600 people. Overcrowding is particularly acute in this facility, where up to 24 men are detained in rooms measuring just eight square metres.

In 2021, the Polish authorities decreased the minimum required space for foreign detainees from three square meters per person to just two. The Council of Europe minimum standard for personal living space in prisons and detention centres is four square meters per person.

People held in Wędrzyn recounted how guards greeted new detainees  by saying “welcome to Guantánamo”. Many of them were victims of torture in their home countries before enduring harrowing experiences both in Belarus and on the border of Poland. The detention centre in Wędrzyn forms part of an active military base. The facility’s barbed wire walls — and the persistent sound of armoured vehicles, helicopters and gunfire from military exercises in the area — only serves to retraumatize them.

In Lesznowola Detention Centre, detainees said that guards’ treatment left them feeling dehumanized. The staff called detainees by their case numbers instead of using their names and meted out excessive punishments, including isolation, for simple requests, such as asking for a towel or more food.

Nearly all those interviewed reported consistently disrespectful and verbally abusive behaviour, racist remarks and other practices that indicated psychological ill-treatment. 

Men who Amnesty International interviewed uniformly  complained about the manner in which body searches were  conducted. When people were  transferred from one detention centre to another, they were forced to undergo a strip search at each facility, even though they were in state custody at all times. In Wędrzyn, people recounted abusive searches. For example, all newly admitted foreigners are kept together in a room, required to remove all of their clothes and ordered to perform squats longer than necessary for a legitimate check.

Violent forcible returns

Amnesty International interviewed several people who were forcibly returned as well as some who avoided return and remain in detention in Poland. Many said the Polish border guards who conducted the returns coerced them into signing documents in Polish that they suspected included incriminating information in order to justify their returns. They also said that, in some cases, border guards used excessive force, such as tasers, restrained people with handcuffs, and even sedated those being returned. 

Authorities attempted to forcibly return Yezda, a 30-year old Kurdish woman , with her husband and three small children. After being told that the family would be returned to Iraq, Yezda panicked and screamed and pleaded with the guards not to take them. She threatened to take her life and became extremely agitated. “I knew I could not go back to Iraq and I was ready to die in Poland. While I was crying like that, two guards restrained me and my husband, tied our hands behind our backs, and a doctor gave us an injection that made us very weak and sleepy. My head was not clear, but I could hear my children, who were in the room with us, crying and screaming.”

“We were asked to go through the airport security and the guards told us to behave on the plane. But I refused to go. I remember noticing that I didn’t even have any shoes on, as in the chaos at the camp, they slipped of my feet. My head was not clear, and I couldn’t see my husband or the children, but I remember that they forced me on the plane that was full of people. I was still crying and pleading with the police not to take us.” Yezda said that she broke her foot as she fought the guards who tried to put her on the plane. Yezda and her family were returned to Warsaw after the airline refused to take them to Iraq. They remain in a camp in Poland for now.

Volunteers and activists have been barred from accessing the border of Poland and Belarus, and some have even faced prosecution for trying to help people cross the border. In March, activists who had helped people both on Poland’s borders with Ukraine and with Belarus were detained for providing life-saving assistance to refugees and migrants on the Belarussian border, and now face potentially serious charges.

Stranded at the border

On 20 March, the Belarusian authorities reportedly evicted close to 700 refugees and migrants, including many families with young children and people suffering from severe illnesses and disabilities, from the warehouse in the Belarusian village of Bruzgi which had accommodated several thousand people in 2021.

People who were evicted from the warehouse suddenly found themselves stranded in the forest, trying to survive in sub-zero temperatures without shelter, food, water or access to medical care. Many remain in the forest and experience daily abuse from the Belarusian border guards, who use dogs and violence to force people to cross the border into Poland.

“Hundreds of people fleeing conflict in the Middle East and other parts of the world remain stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland. The Polish government must immediately stop pushbacks. They are illegal no matter how the government tries to justify them. The international community – including the EU – must demand that those trapped on Poland’s border with Belarus be afforded the same access to EU territory as any other group seeking refuge in Europe,” said Jelena Sesar.

END OF THE ARTICLE

REPORT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS

11 APRIL 2022

The rapid relief effort at the border, exceptional generosity of civil society and willingness of Polish authorities to receive people fleeing from Ukraine contrast starkly with the Polish government’s hostility toward refugees and migrants who have arrived in the country via Belarus since July 2021. Hundreds of people who crossed from Belarus have been arbitrarily detained in Poland in appalling conditions and without access to a fair asylum proceeding. Many have been forcibly returned to their countries of origin, some under sedation. In addition, hundreds of people remain stranded inside Belarus and face increasingly desperate conditions.

END OF THIS PIECE

FULL REPORT

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND: CRUELTY, NOT COMPASSION, AT EUROPE’S OTHER BORDERS

11 APRIL 2022

https://www.amnesty.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/EUR3754602022ENGLISH.pdf

[8]

MEDICS LEAVE POLAND=BELARUS BORDER WITHOUT

REACHING MIGRANTS

https://www.dw.com/en/medics-leave-poland-belarus-border-without-reaching-migrants/a-60353514

Doctors Without Borders removed its team on the Belarus-Poland border after Warsaw blocked access to migrants trying to enter the European Union. Camped in harsh conditions, several people have died on the EU’s doorstep.

Despite knowing people along the Belarus-Poland border were “in desperate need of medical and humanitarian assistance,” the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it withdrew its emergency response team from the region.

“Since October, MSF has repeatedly requested access to the restricted area and the border guard posts in Poland, but without success,” Frauke Ossig, the charity’s emergency coordinator for Poland and Lithuania, said on Thursday.

“We know that there are still people crossing the border and hiding in the forest, in need of support, but while we are committed to assisting people on the move wherever they may be, we have not been able to reach them in Poland,” Ossig added.

MSF said it was concerned that restricting access to major aid organizations could result in more deaths and such policies were “another example of the EU deliberately creating unsafe conditions for people to seek asylum at its borders.”

While many of the migrants received shelter in a logistics center, a number of people are reported to have died in the freezing, harsh conditions along the border.

Why can’t aid groups reach migrants and asylum-seekers?

On December 1, Poland’s Interior Ministry extended a state of emergency that prohibits all non-residents, including journalists and non-governmental aid groups, from the border area.

“People are being attacked and beaten at the hands of border guards, and yet state officials continue to allow the practice of pushing people between borders knowing that such maltreatment continues,” MSF said.

With thousands of people on the Belarusian side of the 400-kilometer (250-mile) stretch, Poland built a barbed-wire fence that it intends to replace with a permanent barrier and sent thousands of soldiers to the border, leaving the migrants stuck in camps in no man’s land and unable to apply for asylum in the European Union.

Polish border guards accused of illegal ‘pushbacks’

Polish border guards have been accused of forcibly pushing migrants and asylum-seekers back into Belarus — a move that breaches international law. At least 21 people have lost their lives in the attempt in 2021, MSF reported.

In December, the Polish civil society group Salam Lab reported that five Syrian and one Palestinian who managed to find their way outside Poland’s exclusion zone said they had been pushed back to Belarus several times by Polish authorities.

EU nations Latvia and Lithuania, which also share borders with Belarus, have also reinforced their border security and declared a state of emergency. MSF said it had not received access to migrants at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.

The European Union has accused Belarus’ authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East to attempt to enter the EU through Belarus.

Belarus denies this and has urged the EU to take in the migrants.

“The current situation is unacceptable and inhumane,” Ossig said. “People have the right to seek safety and asylum and should not be illegitimately pushed back to Belarus.”

[9]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

POLAND/BELARUS: NEW EVIDENCE OF ABUSES HIGHLIGHTS 

”HYPOCRISY” OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

11 APRIL 2022

SEE FOR FULL TEXT, NOTE 7

[10]

SEE NOTE 10

SEE ALSO THE LINK

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor The International Red Cross, the Ukrainian refugees and the refugees, trapped between Poland and Belarus/Do you treat them with equal attention, Red Cross?

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Published in the South China Morning Post!/EU welcoming of Ukrainian refugees in stark contrast with those from Middle East

People fleeing the war in Ukraine walk towards a train which will take them to Berlin from Karkow, Poland, on March 15. Of the roughly 3 million refugees forced to leave Ukraine, more than half have crossed into neighbouring Poland. Photo: TNS

People fleeing the war in Ukraine walk towards a train which will take them to Berlin from Karkow, Poland, on March 15. Of the roughly 3 million refugees forced to leave Ukraine, more than half have crossed into neighbouring Poland. Photo: TNShttps://www.astridessed.nl/published-in-the-south-china-morning-post-eu-welcoming-of-ukrainian-refugees-in-stark-contrast-with-those-from-middle-east/

https://www.scmp.com/comment/letters/article/3170656/eu-welcoming-ukrainian-refugees-stark-contrast-treatment-those

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POSTLETTERS: EU WELCOMING OF UKRAINIAN REFUGEES IN STARK CONTRAST WITH TREATMENT OF THOSE FROM

MIDDLE EAST

ASTRID ESSED

17 MARCH 2022
https://www.scmp.com/comment/letters/article/3170656/eu-welcoming-ukrainian-refugees-stark-contrast-treatment-those

Like most people who respect international law, I condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The UN General Assembly, the US and European Union are also right to condemn the invasion. However, the EU’s hypocrisy over the tragedy also stands out.

First, its sanctions against Russia go too far. They are causing ordinary people in Russia, who have nothing to do with Vladimir Putin’s war policies, to suffer. Such collective punishment is not fair.

Even more dangerous is the fact that the EU and individual European countries are sending all sorts of military weaponry to Ukraine. This is provoking Russia and risks setting off a bigger war.

Putin’s reaction to EU sanctions has been to put his nuclear forces on high alert. This is no joke. He may also decide to turn off the gas tap to Europe, with disastrous consequences. The EU should stop putting peace at risk with such cowboy-like behaviour.

European countries have expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian people. But while they are rightly doing everything they can to help Ukrainian refugees, what about the Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian refugees who were trapped last year between the borders of Belarus and Poland, brutally pushed back by Polish border guards and abandoned to die in the winter cold?

The EU supported Poland in “defending” its borders. The same Poland that welcomes Ukrainian refugees is at this very moment building a wall to prevent refugees from the Middle East from entering. This is inhumane and also contrary to international law.

It’s very good that the EU is condemning the Russian invasion in Ukraine, but European countries must also stop provoking Russia by sending weaponry to Ukraine and start treating refugees from the Middle East as humanely as they do the Ukrainian refugees.

Astrid Essed, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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[Adapted to new developments]/The Russian invasion in Ukraine/Putin, warcrimes and the EU hypocrisy

De Russische president Poetin en zijn Oekraïense collega Zelensky ontmoeten elkaar vandaag voor het eerst. Tijdens een top in Parijs staat beëindiging van de oorlog in Oost-Oekraïne op de agenda.

THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN AND UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT ZELENSKY

DOUBLE STANDARDS

UKRAIANIAN REFUGEES ARE WELCOME AND REFUGEES FROM THE MIDDLE EAST ARE PUSHBACKED

BY POLISH BORDER GUARDS

CARTOON ABOVE FROM SEM JANSSEN

THE RUSSIAN INVASION IN UKRAINE, PUTIN, WARCRIMES AND

THE EU HYPOCRISY

READERS!


Underlying  my Letter to the Editor about the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

As you know, I sent a similar Letter to the Editor to  several European [includingRussian newspapers!] and international newspapers before. [1]

Now you’ll read my adapted [to new actualities] Letter to the Editor, which I sent to several African, Chinese, Indian and other newspapers.

ENJOY!

ASTRID ESSED

[1]

SENT BEFORE:

THE RUSSIAN INVASION IN UKRAINE/PUTIN AND THE

EU HYPOCRISY

ASTRID ESSED

NEW VERSION

THE RUSSIAN INVASION IN UKRAINE/PUTIN, WARCRIMES AND

THE EU HYPOCRISYLETTER TO THE EDITOR

Dear Editor,

As most people, who have a fundamental respect for International Law,I condemn the Russian attack on the Ukraine as a violationof the sovereignty.Therefore international condemnations, like those of the United NationsGeneral Assembly, the USA and the European Union, are the right thing to do.The Russian army also bombed with internationally forbidden clustermunitions,which by the way the US and Great Britian also did in Iraq and Afghanistan.In both cases-The Russian and the USA-it costed civilian deaths, which makes it a warcrime.
However there are more sides on this case, among else the EU hypocrisy regarding the Ukrainian tragedy.But firstly the EU economic sanctions against Russia::They go too far, sincethe common Russian man and woman, who have nothing to do withPutin’s war policies, are suffering from them.That’s close to a collective punishment and not fair at all!Even more dangerous is the fact, that different EU countries are sendingall sort of military weaponry to the Ukraine, since it is provoking Russia and brings a major war closer and closer.Very irresponsible, because Putin’s first reaction on those EU sanctions-to order his nuclear forces on high alert-is no joke.

He also can decide to turn off the gas tap to Europe, with desastrousconsequences.

Therefore EU should stop putting peace at risk by such cowboylike behaviour.
But there is more:Because with all those seemingly sympathetic EU actions, aiming toexpress ”solidarity” with the Ukrainian people, the EU is full of hypocrisy:
Because, when the USA and the EU really respected International Law,as they claim to do in the Ukraine case, why they never sanctioned Israel,that is a champion in violating International Law with its illegaloccupation of the Palestinian territories and their illegal settlement policy?
And to stay closer at the USA and EU:
What about their own violations of International Law, like the thenBritish-American invasion of Iraq, which was contrary with International Law?And perhaps the most bitter part of all: 

The refugee issue:


While EU countries are doing everything they can to help Ukrainianrefugees-which is the right thing to do-last year, Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian refugees, who were trapped between the border of Belarus and Poland,were brutally attacked and pushbacked by Polish military guards, sometimes shooted at and abandoned in the wintercold to die there.
With the blessing of the EU, that supported Poland in ”defending it’s borders”The same Poland, that welcomes Ukrainian refugees, is on this very momentbuilding a Wall to prevent refugees from the Middle East to enter it’s border.Inhumane and also contrary with International Law!

So very good, that the EU/USA combination [united in the NATO] is condemning the Russian invasion in Ukraine, but EU, stop provoking Russia by sending weaponry to the Ukraine and treat the remaining or future refugees fromthe Middle East as humane as now the Urkrainian refugees.

Otherwise the EU is sinning against their own EU Treaties!’
Astrid Essed

Amsterdam

The Netherlands

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[Artikel Joke Kaviaar]/Selectie aan de poort: liever een vluchteling met blauwe ogen en blond haar

SELECTIE AAN DE POORT: LIEVER EEN VLUCHTELING MET BLAUWEOGEN EN BLOND HAAR
WEBSITE JOKE KAVIAAR
https://jokekaviaar.nl/2022/02/27/selectie-aan-de-poort-liever-een-vluchteling-met-blauwe-ogen-en-blond-haar/

Opinie, gepost door: Joke Kaviaar op 27/02/2022 02:11:45

De manier waarop met vluchtelingen uit Oekraïne wordt omgegaan bewijst nogmaals dat het Europese, dus ook het Nederlandse, ‘asiel’beleid racistisch is. Dat geldt ook voor de berichtgeving.

Om te beginnen dit: aan de grens tussen Polen en Belarus wordt op dit moment een 180 kilometer lange muur gebouwd, vijfenhalf meter hoog, om vluchtelingen tegen te houden [1]. Aegon en Nationale Nederlanden profiteren daarvan door te beleggen in de bouwbedrijven die dat onding neerzetten [2]. Tegen die vluchtelingen wordt ook geweld gebruikt. Er zijn al veel vluchtelingen omgekomen aan de grens Polen – Belarus. Ze komen uit landen ver hiervandaan. Ze komen niet uit Europa en dat is toch wel het minimale vereiste waaraan een vluchteling moet voldoen als het aan de Europese politiek ligt. Want ze lijken niet op ons. Ze hebben een andere huidskleur, heel eng: ze zijn niet zo bleek als wij. Empathie: nul. Berichtgeving: Mwah.. Meeleven? Stuur ze toch terug naar Afrika of het Midden-Oosten, ze horen hier niet.

De ene oorlog is de andere niet. Het ene geweld is het andere niet. Zo is geweld tegen mensen uit islamitische landen bij voorbaat toegestaan. Sommige mensenlevens zijn meer waard dan andere. Voor al die politici met kilo’s boter op hun hoofd: ga het maar eens uitleggen aan de veertienjarige Tiba uit Irak, die vastzit aan de grens Polen-Belarus, die de kapotgeschoten lijken van twee schoolvriendinnetjes zag na een bombardement [3].

Hoe anders is de omgang met (potentiële) vluchtelingen uit Oekraïne! Hoe anders reageert nu Polen, en andere omringende landen, zelfs Orban van Hongarije die vluchtelingen eerder ‘gif’ heeft genoemd, op de komst van vluchtelingen uit buurland Oekraïne: van harte welkom! [4]. U kunt nog wel ergens de grens over waar we geen muur aan het neerzetten zijn. En dat geldt voor meer lidstaten van de EU. Overigens geldt dan wel: alleen mensen uit Oekraïne! Studenten uit Afrikaanse landen komen het door oorlog getroffen Oekraïne niet uit [5]. Dat begint al als Oekraïners hen ervan weerhouden om op de trein te stappen [6]. Een student die samen met anderen, roepend “We are students!” probeert de grens over te steken vanuit Oekraïne naar Polen, filmde hoe het er aan toe gaat. “They threatened to shoot us!” TW: Heftige beelden. [7]

Hier in het veilige Neederland, ver van al het oorlogsgeweld (zolang Poetin niet daadwerkelijk met atoombommen begint te gooien [8] ) , wierp ik vanmorgen een korte blik op een TV zender waar een praatprogramma gaande was van een van die rechtse omroepen waar we mee opgezadeld zijn. Er werd gesproken over het helpen van vluchtelingen uit Oekraïne. Wat dapper en wat goed! Veel sympathie was er voor burgerinitiatieven om mensen eigenhandig op te halen. Dubbele moraal? Nogal. Ik roep even in herinnering het initiatief ‘We gaan ze halen’ die mensen van Lesbos uit Griekenland op wilden halen na de brand in kamp Moria [9]. Daarvan kon natuurlijk geen sprake zijn! Het initiatief werd ronduit neergesabeld en bespot in diezelfde media die nu zoveel waardering tonen voor al wie mensen uit Oekraïne wil bevrijden.
Je raadt het al: die mensen op Lesbos in die kampen komen niet uit Europa, het centrum van de wereld, het heiligdom van de Euro. Onze veilige haven, waar nu ineens een oorlog woedt!

Op diezelfde TV, en ook op internet trouwens, wordt je gebombardeerd met oorlogsbeelden, uit Oekraïne dus. Huilende mensen die hun huis hebben moeten verlaten. Kapotgeschoten gebouwen. Mensen die langs de weg lopen, ontredderd. Snel een camera en een microfoon erbij om een reportage te maken.
Natuurlijk moet er aandacht zijn voor zulke ellende van mensen in oorlog. Maar net zo natuurlijk kun je met je cameraploeg in Palestina gaan filmen hoe de Israëlische bezetter hetzelfde doet, of hoe Erdogan de Koerden aanvalt. Je kunt ook in Jemen de ellende van mensen gaan filmen. In Irak. Misschien was gaan filmen toen de VS tijdens al die imperialistische oorlogen huizen van mensen plat bombardeerde ook een goed idee geweest, al is het alleen maar om te laten zien dat oorlogsgeweld niet uitsluitend het domein van Poetin is. Ik roep maar wat hoor…

Maar de slachtoffers van al die andere oorlogen zijn geen mensen waarvoor de media al te veel sympathie willen wekken: stel je voor dat de ‘eigen’ bevolking de vluchtelingen die daarvandaan komen ook bereid is te verwelkomen en zich massaal gaat verzetten tegen militarisering van de grenzen, mensonterende opvang, opsluiting en deportaties. Nee, het privilege van de empathie is er alleen voor door ‘ons’ uitgekozen, liefst witte westers ogende vluchtelingen. De media doen er met graagte aan mee de geschikte vluchtelingen uit te kiezen voor mededogen. Een BBC analist wist zijn racisme als volgt te verwoorden: “It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed.” [10]

En dan waren er nog de Afghaanse vluchtelingen. Nou vooruit, wie voor ‘ons’ het leven in de waagschaal heeft gesteld, mag hier komen. We maken alleen geen haast en de opvang hier is om te janken. Dat wordt goed onder de pet gehouden maar sijpelt toch naar buiten via twitter [11], waar te lezen valt: “Afghaanse families die in 1 kamp zijn gezet met grote groep alleenstaande mannen, zonder privacy, zonder basisvoorzieningen. (…) De psychische problemen nemen toe bij zowel de kinderen als de ouders. (…) Opvang in een in onbruik geraakte test/prik-tent langs de afrit van de snelweg. (…) Een Afghaanse tolk is naar een ander land vertrokken, waar hij ook voor had gewerkt, omdat hij zo teleurgesteld was over hoe hij in Nederland behandeld werd: “There so many times I was insulted by COA staff”. En dit zijn dan nog vluchtelingen waar tenminste nog naar omgekeken werd, uit schuldgevoel of plichtsbesef weliswaar. Dit zijn mensen die hierheen gehaald zijn. Het gros van de vluchtelingen die proberen Europa te bereiken verdrinkt echter in de Middellandse Zee, zit in nog veel ergere kampen aan de buitengrenzen van Europa of is een ander akelig lot beschoren. Verschil moet er zijn, zo oordelen Mark ‘Wat-zijn-we-toch-een-gaaf-land’ Rutte en zijn Europese medeplichtigen die maar blijven investeren in grensagentschap (lees: leger) Frontex en alleen mondjesmaat vluchtelingen verwelkomen als ze verwachten dat het uit te leggen valt. Tenslotte moet er rekening gehouden worden met het ‘draagvlak’ onder de bevolking die aldus het racisme met de paplepel ingegoten krijgt.

We wisten al dat ‘asielbeleid’ geen asielbeleid is. Maar het is nog erger: het is de tactiek van verdeel en heers ook nog eens toepassen op vluchtelingen onderling. Het is racisme van het allerzuiverste water. Had ik al gezegd dat al die muren en hekken en grenzen weg moeten? Overal, en voor iedereen. En ga maar rustig slapen hoor. Indien witte, westerse Neederlanders op de vlucht moeten omdat de oorlog ook hier komt, kunnen we gerust zijn. Wij hoeven het kanaal naar Engeland in elk geval niet in rubber bootjes over te steken. Ze sturen vast wel een cruiseschip om ons op te halen…

Joke Kaviaar, 27 februari 2022

[1] https://freedomnews.org.uk/2022/02/24/one-of-europes-most-important-natu…

[2] https://stopthewaronmigrants.noblogs.org/post/2022/02/01/nationale-neder…

[3] https://freedomnews.org.uk/2022/02/15/tibas-letter-to-the-people-of-europe/

[4] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/26/european-countries-open-borders…

[5] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/27/im-very-worried-african-student…

[6] https://twitter.com/Damilare_arah/status/1497654141350522880

[7] https://twitter.com/nzekiev/status/1497805019311218689

[8] https://dvhn.nl/extra/Russische-president-Vladimir-Poetin-beveelt-leger-…

[9] https://wegaanzehalen.nl/terugblik-we-kunnen-niet-zwijgen-noch-opgeven/

[10] https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/27/677624/Ukraine-Russia-Operation…

[11] https://twitter.com/KatiPiri/status/1496574143688593411

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Astrid Essed Attack on Budimex, contractor of the Poland-Belarus Wall in the war on migrants

ASTRID ESSED ATTACK ON BUDIMEX, CONTRACTOR OFTHE POLAND-BELARUS WALL IN THE WAR ON MIGRANTS

The Massini family from Syria, father Muhammad (second left), mother Alaa (centre) and their two sons, with activists

The Massini family from Syria, father Muhammad (second left), mother Alaa (centre) and their two sons, with activists. Photograph: Wojtek Radwański/AFP/Getty Images
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/07/on-the-frozen-frontiers-of-europe-with-the-migrants-caught-in-a-lethal-game

Fallen tree in the Białowieża Forest

Bialowieza National Park in Poland0029.JPG
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5%82owie%C5%BCa_Forest

FOR BUDIMEX, ONLY THEIR BLOOD MONEY AND THE BIALOWIEZA FOREST COUNTS, NOTTHE REFUGEES WHO DIE IN IT…….

https://www.budimex.pl/en/about-budimex/news/commencement-of-works-on-the-border-wall.html

TOBUDIMEXTHE GREAT CONSTRUCTION GROUP, OPERATINGIN POLAND

BOARD OF DIRECTORSMANAGEMENT
Subject:About your construction of a Wall between Poland and Belarus
Demand:Stop earning blood moneyStop your cooperation with forced deportations, pushbacks andmistreatment of refugeesStop your cooperation with the violation of one of the most elementaryhuman rights!

Dear Board of DirectorsDear Management
Sometimes reality seems worse than the most creepy horror movie.Not because horror movies can’t be frightening, but because they are just for amusement and not real, although made very realistic.
But when you read and see actings in the real world, especiallyfrom politicians and their partners in crime, you realize that here arereal people involved, who really suffer and with them their families andother loved ones.That is the moment, that it is really freezing around me and others, who seekfor elementary justice.
And you, board of directors and management, have violated the most elementary human rights by constructing a Wall between Poland and Belarus.The proof is in your own declaration, under P/S, before my notes.
SHAME TO YOU!
Because you know completely well the aim of this Wall:To prevent warstricken and hunted refugees to seek for a safe homeby building a Wall on the outskirts, the outer borders of the EU borders!Because that’s the aim of the Polish government [1] and you know thatfull well!
ELEMENTARY RIGHTS
Every human being has the right to ask for asylum, as written inthe Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 18 ofthe EU Charter of Fundamental Rights  [2], but all the Polish government did was putting an armyon her border, not only preventing refugees, trapped between Belarusand Poland to enter the EU and ask for asylum, but also treatingthem very badly [3] and using evil and forbidden practices likepushbacks [4], such as was described in an Human Rights Watch Report ””DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FOR BORDER ABUSES [5]
YOUR COOPERATION WITH HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
So I refer to illegal pushbacks of the Polish government, that doesn’t and didn”t care about the fact, that refugees nearly were freezing to death [6],that refugees actually DID die in that no mans land between Polandand Belarus [7], a government that also mistreated refugees [8] and whatis your role?
Not only you are supporting the government in theie evil ways  by constructingthis Wall of Death and Despair, and earning Blood Money, you even have the nerve only to care about the environmental value of the Bialowieza Forest!I quote you [SEE UNDER P/S]”We understand the emotions that surround the issue of the construction of the wall on the border between Poland and Belarus, in particular, in the Białowieża Forest section; therefore, our representatives consulted the local governments on 26 January 2022. The meeting was attended by military representatives, heads of five gminas located within the development project area, forest district representatives and the Staroste of the Hajnowski Poviat.”

And don’t get me wrong:I also care for and value the great value of the Bialowieza Forest as avery important primeval forest [9], but I value human lives more andwhen people are dying in that forest I think everyone should valuetheir lives in the first place.
But you don’t care, because in your declaration [see under P/S]NOT A WORD ABOUT THE REFUGEES, WHO SUFFERED IN THEBIALOWIEZA FOREST, BECAUSE OF THE POLISH GOVERNMENT,WHICH DENIED THEM THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS!
DEMAND
I have referred to the great Injustice and the atrocities, done by the Polishgovernment to desperate refugees, mentioned in the Human Rights report andin a Statement of Amnesty International [10]
Also I mentioned your supportive role and the Blood Money, you earn with yourconstruction of this Wall.
I don’t know how many letters you have received to protest against yourpractices.I presume, not many and perhaps I am unimportant in your eyes, representingno government or great organisation.
But that doesn’t matter, because each Voice counts.
And trillion drops of water form an Ocean.
Get back on your Path of Evil, because more protests will come.
This is only the Beginning.
You have chosen your Side.
Change your construction of this Wall of Death, or else youwill be condemned by men or women of justice and in each case,by History.

Kind greetings
Astrid EssedAmsterdamThe NetherlandsEurope
P/S

STATEMENT OF BUDIMEX[NOTES BELOW]

Commencement of works on the border wall

https://www.budimex.pl/en/about-budimex/news/commencement-of-works-on-the-border-wall.html

News date: January 28, 2022Commencement of works on the border wall

On 25 January 2022, the Border Guards handed over to the contractors the construction site for the construction of the 186-kilometre wall on the border between Poland and Belarus. The contractor of the wall in the Białowieża Forest section is Budimex. The company makes every effort to ensure that works are carried out professionally and with respect for residents and the environment. Budimex will carry out works on the 100-kilometre section, and the border zone along the Białowieża Forest accounts for less than 40% of its length.

We understand the emotions that surround the issue of the construction of the wall on the border between Poland and Belarus, in particular, in the Białowieża Forest section; therefore, our representatives consulted the local governments on 26 January 2022. The meeting was attended by military representatives, heads of five gminas located within the development project area, forest district representatives and the Staroste of the Hajnowski Poviat.

During the meeting with the representatives of local governments, we confirmed that we have extensive experience in implementing projects in diverse environments. We carry out construction work, for example, in protected areas, including Natura 2000 areas in many places in Poland. The warehouses used to store our construction materials are and will be neutral for the environment. Our compliance with strict environmental standards is confirmed by numerous certificates – our construction sites have been issued with more than 100 BREEAM or LEED sustainable building certificates.

Although the contract does not require us to do so as a contractor, there will be external environmental supervision of the entire project. We understand that the Białowieża Forest is extremely valuable, and we want to work with respect for its ecosystem. The team assigned to the project has the highest level of competence to perform this task.

The works on the wall, transport and storage of raw materials will be carried out in accordance with the best construction and environmental standards. Our plan includes:

  • securing the soil with double and triple isolation to prevent leakage,
  • the use of spill kits,
  • covering and securing construction equipment repair points,
  • securing fuel tanks,
  • sorting and securing waste points,
  • preparation of separate points for hazardous waste,
  • fencing and monitoring of the area.

Our works will be carried out during the day, and the planned truck traffic at the construction location is several vehicles per hour. Upon completion, all roads will be restored to their original condition or will be improved.

Works on the entire project will take just six months. We are also on the list of strategic companies from a defence perspective. Therefore, we have a duty to act for the benefit of the country in the event of special situations from a security point of view. We responded in the same way to the calls for the construction of temporary hospitals or the completion of road and rail works after other general contractors had abandoned their contracts.

Our aim is to perform the contract through transparent subcontractor selection rules while respecting the interests of local communities and the environment. We make every effort to minimise the inconveniences for the residents and take into account the needs of the natural forest environment.”

BUDIMEX.PL

COMMENCEMENT OF WORKS ON THE BORDER WALL

https://www.budimex.pl/en/about-budimex/news/commencement-of-works-on-the-border-wall.html

[NOTES BELOW]

SEE FOR THE NOTES

WRITTEN NOTES[1]

THE GUARDIANPOLAND STARTS BUILDING WALL THROUGH PROTECTEDFOREST AT BELARUS BORDER27 JANUARY 2022
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/27/poland-starts-building-wall-through-protected-forest-at-belarus-border

Poland has started building a wall along its frontier with Belarus aimed at preventing asylum seekers from entering the country, which cuts through a protected forest and Unesco world heritage site.

The Polish border guard said the barrier would measure 186km (115 miles), almost half the length of the border shared by the two countries, reach up to 5.5 metres (18ft) and cost €353m (£293m). It will be equipped with motion detectors and thermal cameras.

Poland has accused Belarus’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, of deliberately provoking a new refugee crisis in Europe by organising the movement of people from the Middle East to Minsk and promising them a safe passage to the EU in revenge for the sanctions Brussels has imposed on his authoritarian regime.

Thousands of asylum seekers, mainly from Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan and Afghanistan, were caught attempting to cross the frontier and were violently pushed back to Belarus by Poland’s border guards, and hundreds of families were trapped in the forest between the two countries in the midst of a frigid winter.

At least 19 people have died since the beginning of the border standoff between Poland and Belarus. Most of them died of exposure to freezing temperatures.

The humanitarian emergency reached its peak in November when Belarusian authorities escorted thousands of asylum seekers to the Polish border. Dozens of refugees told the Guardian how Belarusian troops gathered groups of up to 50 people and cut the barbed wire with shears to allow them to cross.

“The construction of the barrier on the Polish-Belarusian border has started,” said a statement from the Polish border guard on Twitter. “It is the largest construction investment in the history of the border guard.”

The cost is approximately 10 times the whole budget of Poland’s migration department this year.

The news has raised human rights concerns among aid workers and charities worried that refugees fleeing conflicts and starvation will not be able to apply for asylum, and there are also environmental concerns. “This money could be used to build and launch [an] effective and humane migration, reception and asylum policy,” said a spokesperson for Ocalenie Foundation, which supports refugees living in Poland. “No wall in the history of the world stopped migration. Also, it would be a disaster for the nature in Białowieża area.”

The Białowieża forest world heritage site, on the border between Poland and Belarus, is an immense range of primary forest including conifers and broadleaved trees. It is home to the largest population of European bison.

Anna Alboth, of Minority Rights Group and a member of Grupa Granica, a Polish network of NGOs monitoring the situation on the border, said: “Walls are dividing, not protecting. The decision about building such a wall on the Polish-Belarusian border is not only lawless but also brings a risk of irreversible harm to the environment, in one of the most rich natural places of Poland and the whole of Europe.

“Instead of spending money on walls and private companies, it should be spending on developing a migration policy that prioritises human rights and safety of the people on the move, local people, animals and nature.”

A border guard spokesperson, Anna Michalska, told Poland’s PAP news agency that the “intention is for the damage to be as small as possible”. She said: “Tree felling will be limited to the minimum required. The wall itself will be built along the border road.” Contractors would only make use of existing roads, she said.

Last year Warsaw’s rightwing government quadrupled the presence of border guards and military personnel in the area, creating a two-mile deep militarised zone, and built a razor-wire fence, in a show of force unknown in the country since the end of the cold war. Dozens of checkpoints were placed along the perimeter of the so-called red zone, which is inaccessible to aid workers and journalists.

Last week Poland’s supreme court condemned the government for preventing reporters from accessing the area. Judges in Warsaw said the ban was incompatible with Polish law and that “there is no justification for admitting that this particular professional group represents a threat to steps taken”.

END OF THE ARTICLE

[2]

Article 14

1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/instree/b1udhr.htm

Article 18

Right to asylum

The right to asylum shall be guaranteed with due respect for the rules of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees and in accordance with the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Treaties’).

CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF

THE EUROPEAN UNION

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12012P/TXT

OR

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf

[3]

THE GUARDIANON THE FROZEN FRONTIERS OF EUROPE WITHTHE MIGRANTS CAUGHT IN A LETHAL GAME

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/07/on-the-frozen-frontiers-of-europe-with-the-migrants-caught-in-a-lethal-game

On the outskirts of the Białowieża forest – which bestrides the border between south-east Poland and Belarus – a group of seven Iraqi Kurds make their weary way towards the Polish hamlet of Grodzisk.

The latest miles of their journey have been from Belarus – crossing back and forth twice, deported after their first and second attempts. Now a third time: through sub-zero temperatures, across the primeval forest’s marshy terrain. Among them are two children: an eight-month-old girl and a two-year-old boy. When we came upon them, they were afraid to get up off the ground and begged us not to call the police, whispering: “They’ll kill us.”

The infant was still, though not asleep. They looked like waxen figures, their faces blank, though one woman’s face was covered in bruises.

This is one group among the thousands of migrants trapped in a perilous purgatorial terrain between Belarus and Poland, as gateway to the European Union, where they seek refuge and asylum. That gate has slammed shut, claiming eight known migrant lives so far. Poland’s rightwing government has secured parliamentary authority to build a Donald Trump-style wall the length of its frontier with Belarus, and meanwhile patrols the territory with a force of some 17,000 border police reinforced by military personnel.

The Polish government argues that it is a deliberate policy by Belarus to undermine the EU’s south eastern border by encouraging refugees to pour in. The government has also established a two-mile militarised zone adjacent to the frontier, from which medical services, volunteer aid workers and reporters are banned. Crystal van Leeuwen, a medical emergency manager with Médecins Sans Frontières, told the Guardian last week that NGOs must urgently gain access to the secure zone for migrants’ claims and international protection to be respected.

The migrants are part not only of the exodus in flight from war and other tribulation where they began their journeys – across the Middle East and Africa – but also pawns in a game between Belarus and Poland. Many are lured by Belarusian travel bureaux, controlled by the authoritarian government of Alexander Lukashenko, which, as middlemen, organise trips from the Middle East to Minsk, promising passage to the EU.

The Iraqi Kurdish group is from Duhok, near the Turkish border. It is the scene of intense recent intra-Kurdish fighting, and Turkish strikes against the Kurdish PKK organisation. The mother of the children, 28-year-old Amila Abedelkader, said that the group was lured to Belarus by a travel agency that would arrange travel by plane from Istanbul to Minsk, and access to the Polish border.

Migrants are charged €15,000-€20,000 when they reach Belarus. Airport photos show their arrival wearing shorts and T-shirts, clearly unaware of the temperatures awaiting them. They are then installed in state hotels managed by the regime, from which officially assigned buses and even taxis transfer them to the Polish or Lithuanian border.

Belarusian border guards then shove them past the fence. “Some migrants we saw had their faces sliced with barbed wire,” says volunteer aid worker Katarzyna Wappa. “We have amateur films showing how the Belarusians drive the migrants forward. The border guards stand there with snarling attack dogs in full battle gear.”

Abdelkader says her group had made their first crossing into Poland in early October, but were forced back by guards. Trapped between borders, they were given nothing to drink or eat. “The Polish guards caught us and pushed us back. They said: ‘Go back to Belarus.’ And the Belarusian soldier said: ‘No, no go back to Poland.’ When the water was all finished, my brother asked Polish soldiers for some water to drink. Every day we asked about water. They say: ‘No, no.’” The guards refused to supply milk for the baby. The migrants drank rainwater or from puddles.

This was their third attempt. Whether they have since been successful is unclear.

But every morning we receive news on WhatsApp from people held in the border guards’ cells. Bulletins such as: “Yesterday a family and their sick son staying with us were taken by the police back to the border.” And: “We are so frightened of going to the border because my baby is too small. Please help us.”

Back home in the nearest town of Hajnówka, Wappa says: “We are creating a network, trying to do what we can, but it’s too much to bear. People are dying in the forest and the Polish state offers no help apart from bringing in more troops, rounding them up, and deporting them back to no man’s land. And if we reach those people, what can we give them? A flask of tea, some warm clothes, then leave them in the darkness and cold?”

In the forest last week, volunteers found Mustafa, a 46-year-old man from Morocco, taken in by a volunteer named Mila. Speaking Spanish, Mustafa told us: “As I made my way through the forest, I saw a man lying on the ground. I don’t know if he was alive or dead. I walked two nights until I could go no further. I was walking at night, trying to sleep during the day. I was in a vacuum.

“Belarusian soldiers beat people,” he continued. “They beat me in Belarus. There are gangs that stand behind the army and attack us. They beat you, take your money, and split it 50-50, part for the gangs, part for soldiers. This border is like a river of death. What are you to do? Where to go, I do not know.” Mustafa’s fate remains in the balance.

Once on the Polish side, migrants are tracked down by border guards, police, army, and territorial defence forces; in the Hajnówka region, practically every second car on the road belongs to law enforcement officers. Others have darkened windows – either protecting or smuggling the migrants.

“We’re in a parcelled-off, isolated world,” adds Kamil Syller, initiator of the Green Light project, which aims to put green lights in windows to signify homes where refugees can find help, discreetly, and not be handed over to the police.

At the Mantiuk Hospital in Hajnówka, a boy from Somalia tells how he watched his two brothers freeze to death. “It’s impossible to say where it happened,” he says.

“Apparently he’s losing contact with reality,” say the doctors. “He often asks: ‘But where am I?’” The refugees who reach the hospital receive professional medical care, yet the hospital is patrolled by border guards, and as soon as someone’s health is restored, guards take them back to the border and leave them in the forest.

Medics on the Border, a group of doctors with an ambulance, operates in the “open” areas, but are not allowed in the off-limits zone. Asked how they can be of help, they say: “We need passes to the zone,” says Jakub Sieczko, a paramedic. “But this is impossible.”Advertisement

“We have no access to the off-limits zone,” says a Polish Red Cross workerfrom the border area. “We can’t hand over aid packages ourselves.”

Syller says that the refugees are freezing, succumbing to hypothermia and shaking from fear and cold. “The children are having reactions similar to epileptic attacks. The suffering and terror here can only remind you of wartime,” he explains.

Wappa feels that she is “witnessing scenes like out of a war, but at least in a war things are clear. “This is worse, because here half the society denies what’s going on. They think it’s all a big sham, that there are politics behind it. People say of the refugees: ‘Why did they even leave home and why take their children?’”

This land is steeped in dark history of flight and deportation. And there are few reminders so cogent as in the village of Narewka, where a row of houses from before the second world war is adorned with enlarged photographs of the Jewish residents who lived here until the Holocaust.

The pictures show people posing in their finest clothes: an elderly couple, an Orthodox family, a girl in a polka-dot dress with bows in her hair, a sophisticated lady wearing a cap.

Now, past those houses in memoriam for Jews deported from here, military and police vehicles pass, carrying migrants for deportation.

END OF THE ARTICLE

[4]

PUSHBACKS ARE FORBIDDEN ACCORDING TO ARTICLE  19.EU CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
 Article 18 

Article 19 
Protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition 1. Collective expulsions are prohibited. 2. No one may be removed, expelled or extradited to a State where there is a serious risk that he or she would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  

EU CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf

”Polish pushback practices are also in violation of article 19 of the Charter and Protocol 4 of the ECHR, which both state unequivocally that collective or mass expulsions of aliens are prohibited”
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHPOLISH LEGISLATION AND VIOLATIONOF EU LAW
A CHAPTER FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT”DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FOR BORDER ABUSES
https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/11/24/die-here-or-go-poland/belarus-and-polands-shared-responsibility-border-abuses

[5]

THE HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT”DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FOR BORDER ABUSES
https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/11/24/die-here-or-go-poland/belarus-and-polands-shared-responsibility-border-abuses

[6]

”On the outskirts of the Białowieża forest – which bestrides the border between south-east Poland and Belarus – a group of seven Iraqi Kurds make their weary way towards the Polish hamlet of Grodzisk.

The latest miles of their journey have been from Belarus – crossing back and forth twice, deported after their first and second attempts. Now a third time: through sub-zero temperatures, across the primeval forest’s marshy terrain. Among them are two children: an eight-month-old girl and a two-year-old boy.”THE GUARDIANON THE FROZEN FRONTIERS OF EUROPE WITHTHE MIGRANTS CAUGHT IN A LETHAL GAME

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/07/on-the-frozen-frontiers-of-europe-with-the-migrants-caught-in-a-lethal-game

SEE FOR THE WHOLE TEXT, NOTE 3

[7]

”This is one group among the thousands of migrants trapped in a perilous purgatorial terrain between Belarus and Poland, as gateway to the European Union, where they seek refuge and asylum. That gate has slammed shut, claiming eight known migrant lives so far.”

THE GUARDIANON THE FROZEN FRONTIERS OF EUROPE WITHTHE MIGRANTS CAUGHT IN A LETHAL GAME

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/07/on-the-frozen-frontiers-of-europe-with-the-migrants-caught-in-a-lethal-game

SEE FOR THE WHOLE TEXT, NOTE 3

”“At least 10 people, including a one-year-old child, have died at the EU’s Eastern borders in recent weeks. Today the European Commission is bringing in measures which undermine rights and normalize the dehumanization and suffering of people at the EU’s borders.”
AMNESTY INTERNATIONALEU ”EXCEPTIONAL MEASURES” NORMALIZE DEHUMANISATION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS’1 DECEMBER 2021

In response to today’s proposals from the European Commission which would allow Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to derogate from EU rules, including by holding asylum-seekers and migrants at the border for 16 weeks with minimal safeguards, Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s European Office said:

“The arrival of people at the EU’s borders with Belarus is entirely manageable with the rules as they stand. Today’s proposals will further punish people for political gain, weaken asylum protections, and undermine the EU’s standing at home and abroad. If the EU can allow a minority of member states to throw out the rule book due to the presence of a few thousand people at its border, it throws out any authority it has on human rights and the rule of law.

“The current situation at the EU’s borders with Belarus is being used by some countries as an excuse to weaken protections of asylum-seekers and push their anti-migrant agenda. Holding asylum seekers in detention for four months, without the protection standards required by international law, is normalising de facto unlawful detention at the EU’s external borders.

“Asylum rules should be upheld, not allowed to be side-stepped by countries via so-called exceptional measures. Amnesty International is alarmed that the proposal will violate people’s rights, and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis at borders while continuing to expose the EU to further internal and external manipulation and blackmailing.

“While Lukashenka’s mistreatment and instrumentalization of migrants and asylum seekers is deplorable, he is exploiting the EU’s own tendency to treat people at their borders as a threat.

“At least 10 people, including a one-year-old child, have died at the EU’s Eastern borders in recent weeks. Today the European Commission is bringing in measures which undermine rights and normalize the dehumanization and suffering of people at the EU’s borders.”

END OF STATEMENT

POLAND-BELARUS REFUGEE CRISIS/LETTER TO THE EU/EU’S HUMAN OBLIGATIONS AGAINST THE REFUGEES

ASTRID ESSED

4 DECEMBER 2021

REFUGEES IN BORDERLAND/DECEMBER 2021

ASTRID ESSED

25 DECEMBER 2021

[8]THE HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT”DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FOR BORDER ABUSES
https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/11/24/die-here-or-go-poland/belarus-and-polands-shared-responsibility-border-abuses

[9]
WIKIPEDIABIALOWIEZA FOREST

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5%82owie%C5%BCa_Forest

[10]
THE HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT”DIE HERE OR GO TO POLAND”BELARUS’ AND POLAND’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FOR BORDER ABUSES
https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/11/24/die-here-or-go-poland/belarus-and-polands-shared-responsibility-border-abuses

AMNESTY INTERNATIONALEU ”EXCEPTIONAL MEASURES” NORMALIZE DEHUMANISATION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS’1 DECEMBER 2021

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/12/eu-exceptional-measures-normalize-dehumanization-of-asylum-seekers/
SEE FOR THE WHOLE TEXT OF THE AMNESTY INTERNATIONALSTATEMENT, NOTE 7

END OF THE NOTES

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Astrid Essed Attack on Budimex, contractor of the Poland-Belarus Wall in the war on migrants

Opgeslagen onder Divers

Discretionaire Bevoegdheid

De pen van de fontein op een oude handgeschreven brief. Oud verhaal. Retro stijl. - Royalty-free Brief - Document Stockfoto

Image result for ouderwetse vulpen/Foto's

DISCRETIONAIRE BEVOEGDHEID
UPDATE EN OFF THE RECORDVia dit artikel wil ik, ondanks de anti-vluchtelingenagenda vandit nieuwe kabinet Rutte IV en andere kritiekpunten, er mijn voldoeningover uitspreken, dat er, voor het eerst in de Nederlandse parlementaire geschiedenis, een zwarte minister, de heer Franc Weerwind, is toegetredentot een  kabinet, het nieuwe Rutte IV.Dit is een verdere stap op de Weg naar Gelijkheid!ZIE MEER DETAILS DIRECT ONDER HET NOTENAPPARAAT

[Hoe is er beslist door de Asielverantwoordelijken?]
”Een discretionaire bevoegdheid is in het Nederlands bestuursrecht een bevoegdheid die een bestuursorgaan in meer of mindere mate de vrijheid toekent om in concrete gevallen naar eigen inzicht een besluit te nemen. Met de discretionaire bevoegdheid van een minister wordt de vrije ruimte van de minister om zelf te beslissen over een inwilliging of afwijzing van een verzoek om een verblijfsvergunning bedoeld”
VERBLIJFBLOG/WOORDENBOEK/MIGRATIERECHT
https://verblijfblog.nl/Woordenboek%20van%20het%20migratierecht/discretionaire-bevoegdheid/

”Als een vreemdeling volgens de regels niet in aanmerking komt voor een verblijfsvergunning, mag de minister deze alsnog verlenen.”

[Zie voor tekst artikel onder dit stuk]
https://www.trouw.nl/nieuws/de-druk-op-de-staatssecretaris-van-asielzaken-is-te-groot-vindt-de-eigen-vvd~bc5d2984/

Iedereen, die zich heeft ingezet voor de vluchtelingenstrijd, heeft weleensmet die discretionaire bevoegdheid te maken gekregen, die eropneerkomt, dat als alle juridische middelen zijn uitgeput en eenasielzoeker [1] dreigt te wordenuitgezet, dat als laatste redmiddel, de Staatssecretaris van Justitie ofAsiel [2], of de Minister voor Vreemdelingenzaken en Integratie [3], eenstreep door die uitzet beslissing kan trekken en alsnog een verblijfsvergunningkan verstrekken.
Ook ondergetekende heeft regelmatig bij Ministers en/of Staatssecretarisseneen beroep gedaan op dit ”Principle of Last Hopes”  en in sommigegevallen werkt het ook, omdat politieke druk, or whatever goes in the mindof a ruthless politician, toch kan uitmaken.Zoals in het geval van de naar Armenie uit te zettenkinderen Lili en Howick, die last minute van toenmalig Staatssecretaris Harberseen verblijfsvergunning kregen [4]

Maar goed, voordat we afdwalen:Die discretionaire bevoegdheid, die is er nu niet meer, ingeruild als zijis tegen een laatste Kinderpardon met wurgende, koopmansachtigevoorwaarden [5]Niet HELEMAAL opgeheven echter, want het bestaat nog wel, maar alseen LACHERTJE!Nu is dat Kinderpardon komen liggen bij….de IND,,,,dezelfdeorganisatie, die asielaanvragen beoordeelt en zo oordelend,afwijst. [6]Dus de afwijzer bepaalt, of er in dit geval een uitzonderingmogelijk is….[7]

HOE HEBBEN DE VERANTWOORDELIJKE ASIELBEWINDSLIEDEN BESLIST/IN WELKE MATE HEBBEN ZIJ GEBRUIK GEMAAKT VANHUN DISCRETIONAIRE BEVOEGDHEID?

Het is dus afgeschaft, die discretionaire bevoegdheid.Althans, die ligt niet meer in handen van bevoegde Asielbewindslieden.
Nu leek het mij eens interessant om eens na te gaan, hoe die verschillendeStaatssecretarissen van Justitie en Ministers van Immigratie en Asiel nupersoonlijk beslist hebben, wie uiteindelijk mocht blijven en wie niet.Anders gezegd:In hoeveel gevallen zij gebruik hebben gemaakt van hun discretionnaire bevoegdheid.En in sommige gevallen verbaasden zij mij, terwijl mijn oordeel over henniet is veranderd.

I
MINISTER VERDONK, MINISTER VOOR IMMIGRATIE, INTEGRATIEEN ASIEL IN HET TWEEDE KABINET BALKENENDE [2003-2006]LET’S BEGIN WITH ”IJZEREN RITA”
Laten we beginnen met de Eerste, dieondergetekende hiernoemt, minister Rita Verdonk in de kabinetten Balkenende II en III [8], vanwege haaronbuigzaamheid ook wel aangeduid met ”Ijzeren Rita” [9]Veel hebben ondergetekende en anderen, waaronder de onvergetelijkevluchtelingenwerker Wietse Potijk [10] de degens met haar gekruist,er zijn websites ontstaan vanuit verontwaardiging over haar beleid,die nu nog steeds geduchte pro vluchtelingenwebsites zijn [11]Er zijn tijdens haar bewind heel wat schandalen geweest, die er vaakmee samenhingen, hoe zij de Hand lichtte met de mensenrechten vanvluchtelingen, soms met desastreuze gevolgen. [12]Ook internationaal, onder andere van de mensenrechtenorganisatie Human Rights Watch, was er veel kritiek op haar beleid [13]Zie hier nogmaals alle schandalen, met als dramatisch Dieptepuntde Schipholbrand. [14]
Tot zover minister Verdonk, van wie dus weinig goeds te zeggen is [15],wat overigens bepaald niet betekent, dat haar opvolgers beter zijn of waren.Bepaald niet.Maar daar gaat het hier niet om.
Mijn onderzoek is naar de mate waarin minister Verdonk en opvolgers gebruikgemaakt hebben van de toen nog bestaande discretionaire bevoegdheid.Gewoon, omdat het sowieso belangrijk is om dit te weten en op een rijtje te hebben..Want hoe meer facetten van het vreemdelingen/Asielbeleid in kaartworden gebracht, hoe beter.

MINISTER VERDONK/DISCRETIONAIRE BEVOEGDHEID
Minister Verdonk, die als minister zitting heeft gehad in de kabinettenBalkenende II en III, van 27 mei 2003 tot 14 december 2006 alsMinister voor Vreemdelingenbeleid en Integratie [16], heeft maar liefst 1100 keergebruik gemaakt van haar discretionaire bevoegdheid! [17]Daarmee is zij de Grote Koploper vergeleken bij haar opvolgers.Eerlijk gezegd, dit verbaasde mij ten zeerste van Ijzeren Rita! [18]
Toegegeven, er lagen nog veel achterstallige dossiers uit de periodevan Minister Nawijn [19]Toegegeven, aanvankelijk weigerde Verdonk de dossiers uit de periodeNawijn [ruim 15 000 brieven] in behandeling te nemen en werd zij door de Raadvan State teruggefloten [20], maar uiteindelijk deed ze het toch.En verleende zij dus 1100 verblijfsvergunningen per discretionairebevoegdheid. [21]
II

NEBAHAT ALBAYRAK, STAATSSECRETARIS VAN JUSTITIE INKABINET BALKENENDE IV [22 FEBRUARI 2007, 23 FEBRUARI 2010][HIRSCH BALLIN TUSSEN VERDONK EN ALBAYRAK IN]
Dan nu de opvolgster van minister Verdonk, Nebahat Albayrak, Staatssecretarisvan Justitie onder het kabinet Balkenende IV, vanaf 2007-2010 [22]Niet helemaal natuurlijk, want toen minister Verdonk onder parlementairedruk aftrad als minister van Vreemdelingenzaken, nam minister van JustitieHirsch Ballin tijdelijk het dossier van haar over [23]Over zijn eventueel gebruik van de discretionaire bevoegdheid weet ikniet veel.Wel heb ik kunnen ontdekken, dat Hirsch Ballin tenminste in tweegevallen gebruik heeft gemaakt van zijn discretionaire bevoegdheid:In geval van de Congolese asielzoeker Mpanzu Bamenga, later D’66 raadslid inEindhoven en in geval van een groep van 181 Syriers, die dreigden teworden uitgezet en over wie informatie in handen was gekomen vanSyrische ambtenaren, wat een zeker gevaar kon inhouden. [24]Hirsch Ballin zou later nog opmerkelijk zijn, omdat hij zich op het CDA partijcongres uit 2010 nadrukkelijk uitsprak tegen samenwerking metde PVV en in 2020 tegen de CDA coalitie met Forum voor Democratie’met Forum voor Democratie in de Provinciale Staten Noord Brabant [25],een samenwerking, die trouwens in 2021 weer werd opgezegd. [26]Niet van belang voor dit artikel, maar het zegt wel iets over Hirsch Ballin.
TERUG NAAR ALBAYRAK:
NEBAHAT ALBAYRAK, STAATSSECRETARIS VAN JUSTITIE [27]
Een van de belangrijkste stappen onder haar bewind was haar uitvoeringvan de inwerkingtreding van de Generaal Pardonregeling [op 15 juni 2007] [28]Het betrof asielzoekers die vóór 1 april 2001 een asielverzoek hadden gedaan, dan wel die zich voor die datum bij de IND of Vreemdelingenpolitie hadden gemeld voor het indienen van een aanvrage. Deze asielzoekers moesten sinds 1 april 2001 ononderbroken in Nederland hebben verbleven. Criminelen en asielzoekers die hadden gelogen bij hun asielaanvrage vielen buiten de regeling. Ook gezinsleden van alsnog toegelaten vreemdelingen kregen recht op verblijf, indien zij vóór 13 december 2006 in Nederland waren gekomen en er al een gezinsverband bestond. [29]

Voor deze Generaal Pardonregeling, waarvoor reeds onderVerdonk was gepleit [30] en door haar steeds verworpen [31]was er een ware ”Generaal Pardoncrisis” geweest tussenVerdonk en de Tweede Kamer, waar je de stukken van de orenvlogen en duidelijk werd, hoe Verdonk de zaak konfrustreren, ook staatsrechtelijk.Zie noot 32
VAN VERDONK [ik kan het blijkbaar niet laten, Verdonkte noemen] NAAR ALBAYRAK
Maar minder fraai [na de tenuitvoeringslegging van het GeneraalPardon, waarvoor hard was gestreden, door de Kerken en zovele anderen] [33], was de sluiting,door Albayrak, van de noodopvang uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers [34]Natuurlijk zijn er nog veel meer akeligheden te vermeldenover het beleid van Albayrak [35], maar daar gaat het hier nietom, maar om de discretionaire bevoegdheid en de mate, waarinzij daarvan gebruik gemaakt heeft:’
WELNU:NA VERDONK IS ALBAYRAK DE GROTE KOPLOPER!Zij heeft maar liefst 450 keer gebruik gemaaktvan haar discretionaire bevoegdheid! [36]Dat dat relatief veel is, kunt u zien aan haar opvolgers.

IIIGERD LEERS, MINISTER VOOR IMMIGRATIE EN ASIEL14 OCTOBER 2010 TOT 5 NOVEMBER 2012Onder het kabinet Rutte I
Een grotere huichelaar dan minister Gerd Leers onderhet kabinet Rutte I heb ik in de politiek niet vaakmeegemaakt. [37]Zo weigerde hij gebruik te maken van zijn discretionaire bevoegdheid om het Koerdische gezin Yilmaz een verblijfsvergunning te geven. In 2008 heeft hij als burgemeester van Maastricht nog brandbrieven vanwege schrijnendheid voor hen geschreven [38]Een kwaadaardiger cynisme kun je je toch niet voorstellen!
Nu, deze ”benepen” Leers heeft wel heel pover gebruik gemaaktvan zijn discretionaire bevoegdheidMaar 80 keer……, waarbij hij nog de kwestie van de ”gewortelde” Angolese asielzoeker Mauro voorde kiezen kreeg en na hem aanvankelijk te hebbenwillen uitzetten, wat tot veel ophef leidde, gaf hij hem een tijdelijkstudievisum [39]Op zijn Leers.[Het nieuwe kabinet Rutte-2 werd het vervolgens in 2012 eens over een kinderpardon, waardoor Mauro in 2013 met terugwerkende kracht een verblijfsvergunning kreeg. In 2021 kreeg hij een Nederlands paspoort.]

IV
FRED TEEVEN, ”FRED DE VLUCHTELINGENJAGER”
Opvolger van Albayrak werd Fred Teeven, Staatssecretarisvan Justitie onder de kabinetten Rutte I en II, van 14 october 2010 tot 9 maart 2015. [40]Zijn Staatssecretarisschap viel deels samen met de nog steedslopende ”We Are Here” periode, uitgeprocedeerde vluchtelingen,afkomstig uit asielopvangcentrum Ter Apel [later zouden zichanderen bij hen aansluiten], die weliswaar uitgeprocedeerd waren, maar ook niet konden worden uitgezet naar hun landvan herkomst, hetzij omdat de ambassades niet meewerkten,hetzij vanwege de oorlogssituatie, hetzij om andere factorenbuiten hun schuld. [41]In zulke gevallen hoort de Staat [hier de Staatssecretarisvan Justitie of Minister van Vreemdelingenzaken] de tussenwal en schip geraakte vluchtelingen alsnog een verblijfsvergunning te verlenen, het zogenaamde ”buitenschuldcriterium” [42], maar dat gebeurde mooi niet!Het was Teeven, die met deze groep te doen had, die in 2012afzakte van Ter Apel naar Amsterdam, werd opgevangen inde tuin van de Diakonie, daarna aan de Notweg in Osdorp belandde, haar zwerftocht van gekraakt pand naar gekraakt pand ondernam, gesteund door Kerken en solidairemensen en tot op de dag van vandaag op een rechtvaardige oplossing wacht [43], met als laatste Dieptepunt de rechtszaken,die de ”solidaire” Groen Links Wethouder Rutger Groot-Wassinktegen hen begon….[44]
Maar goed, dat is na Teeven’s tijd en niet Teeven’s schuld.
Wat WEL zijn schuld/verantwoordelijkheid is, was zijn destijdsonbuigzame houding tegen de We Are Here Groep.Het was Terugkeer [wat dus meestal niet mogelijk was] enanders verrekken. [45]Laten we EVEN aannemen, dat burgemeester van der Laan[toen burgemeester van Amsterdam] nog naar een aannemelijkeoplossing zocht[46], een conclusie, die Ik nadrukkelijk  NIETheb getrokken [47], dan was het in ieder geval Teeven, diehem de pas afsneed. [48]Een keiharde was hij ja, wat hem de naam ”Fred de Vluchtelingenjager” opleverde [49]Gegeven door dichteres en activiste Joke Kaviaar [50]
DOLMATOV
Binnen het bestek van dit artikel ga ik niet uitgebreid inop alle onrechtmatigheden van Teeven’s beleid [of van de anderedoor ondergetekende genoemde en beschreven Staatssecretarissen/Ministers, aangezien de discretionaire bevoegdheid hier Doel is], maar toch wil ik noemen zijnverantwoordelijkheid voor de tragische zelfmoord van de Russische vluchteling Alexander Dolmatov, die door ernstigfalen van de verschillende onderdelen van de ”asielketen”tot zelfmoord is gedreven in Uitzet en Detentiecentrum Rotterdam Airport [51]JA, GEDREVEN!Want uit onderzoek en berichtgeving bleek, dat Dolmatovniet alleen reeel gevaar liep bij uitzetting naar Rusland,omdat hij lid was van een oppositiepartij tegen de Russischepresident Poetin en voor zijn verzet in Rusland was gearresteerd[52], er waren om en rond zijn asielbehandeling ernstigefouten gemaakt, waardoor hij dreigde te worden uitgezet.Zo werd hij ten onrechte in vreemdelingenbewaringgeplaatst.Informatie over Dolmatov die de vreemdelingenpolitie op papier had gezet was op verschillende plekken feitelijk onjuist. Ook had zijn advocaat, Marq Wijngaarden, op tijd beroep aangetekend tegen de afwijzing van de asielaanvraag.
Ook was de zorg in detentiecentrum Rotterdam een  farce:Zo hadden twee verpleegkundigen een arts moeten inschakelen om de zelfmoordneigingen van Dolmatov in te schatten. [53]
Ramp op ramp dus, met desastreuze gevolgen.Zo vermeldt de Inspectie Justitie en Veiligheidin haar rapport ”Het overlijden van Alexander Dolmatov”onder andere in het Voorwoord onder ”Samenvattingen,conclusies en aanbevelingen”:”In samenhang bezien komt de Inspectie VenJ tot het oordeel dat er op verschillende momenten door verschillende organisaties in de vreemdelingenketen onzorgvuldig is gehandeld. Dit geldt ook voor hen die betrokken zijn bij de aan Dolmatov na zijn inbewaringstelling geboden juridische bijstand en medische zorg.” [54]
Dat is duidelijke en harde taal genoeg!
Politiek was en is natuurlijk Teeven, als Staatssecretaris van Justitie,die ook nog een keihard beleid voerde, verantwoordelijk, maar tochoverleefde hij het ”Dolmatov” debat:Oppositiepartijen SP, CDA, Partij voor de Dieren, D66, ChristenUnie en GroenLinks vonden [terecht] dat de staatssecretaris moest opstappen maar een motie daartoe werd niet gesteund door een meerderheid van PvdA, VVD, SGP, PVV en 50PLUS. [55]
Zo gaat dat in de politiek.Waar een gewone burger in een dergelijk gevalmooi was vervolgd voor dood door schuld [56],komt deze Asielschurk met de schrik vrij, net zoalsVerdonk en co destijds met de Schipholbrand. [57]
TEEVEN/DISCRETIONAIRE BEVOEGDHEID
Je zou denken, dat keiharde Fred de Vluchtelingenjager [58]nauwelijks gebruik gemaakt heeft van zijn discretionairebevoegdheid, maar hij weet je te verrassen!Teeven dus maakte maar liefst 300 keer gebruik van zijndiscretionaire bevoegdheid! [59]Opmerkelijk was daarbij, dat Teeven een Kameroensedorststaker een verblijfsvergunning verstrekte, volgenssommige nieuwsbronnen, omdat hij beducht geweestzou zijn voor de herhaling van het Dolmatov drama…[60]
VKLAAS DIJKHOFF, STAATSSECRETARIS VAN JUSTITIE [20 MAART 2015-4 OCTOBER 2017]
Daar heb je hem dan, de opvolger van Fred Teeven ”de Vluchtelingenjager” [61]:VVD Staatssecretaris van JustitieKlaas Dijkhoff,  onder het kabinet Rutte II, Staatssectretaris van 20 maart 2015 tot4 october 2017[62], ook wel ”Klaas de Overvaller” genaamd[63]Lees er het stuk van dichteres, schrijfster en activisteJoke Kaviaar maar op na [64]Of weten jullie het nog [waarschijnlijk niet, time flieswhen you have fun….], diezelfde Klaas Dijkhoff,die graag veiligheid als GUNST verleent aan mensen, die vluchten voor oorlog [65]Een RECHT [66] omgebogen tot GUNST, als wareDijkhoff een Absolute Vorst….Leuk Heerschap…..Maar goed [of slecht]:De perfiditeit van het beleid van Dijkhoff [en voorgangers/opvolgers], hoewel even aangestipt [67] is hier het punt niet:In dit stuk gaat het om de mate waarin hij en voorgangers[en opvolger Mark Harbers] gebruik hebben gemaakt vanhun discretionaire bevoegdheid:Daar gaat ie dan:Klaas Dijkhoff, ”Klaas de Overvaller” [68], maakte 240 keer gebruik van zijn discretionaire bevoegdheid. [69]Valt mij nog mee….

VIMARK HARBERS, STAATSSECRETARIS VAN JUSTITIE VAN26 OCTOBER 2017 TOT 21 MEI 2019”MENSELIJKE” MARK……..
And last, but not least:Mark Harbers, Staatssecretaris van Justitie in kabinetRutte III [70], ”menselijke Mark” [71], de man tijdenswiens Staatssecretarisschap de discretionaire bevoegdheid zouworden afgeschaft, of beter gezegd, overgeheveld naar de IND [72]Zo ”menselijk” was Mark Harbers, dat hij een asielzoeker, Ali Mohammed Al-Showaikh, liet uitzettennaar Bahrein [73], waar hij  vervolgens werd gearresteerd en volgens mensenrechtenorganisatie Amnesty International waren er sterkte aanwijzingen, dat hij was mishandeld! [74]Amnesty International merkte daarover onder andere op in een verklaring:”Hoewel algemeen bekend is hoe Bahrein omgaat met familieleden van politiek activisten besloot Nederland om Al-Showaikh uit te leveren aan Bahrein.”EN”Door Ali Mohammed al-Showaikh terug te sturen naar zijn land van herkomst maakte Nederland zich schuldig aan het non-refoulementprincipe (het verbod op terugzending naar een land waar de vluchteling vervolging te vrezen heeft of waar zijn leven of veiligheid in gevaar is). De Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (IND) had moeten weten dat Al-Showaikh in Bahrein gevaar zou lopen.” [75]
Weet u nog?Dezelfde IND, die nu beschikt over de discretionaire bevoegdheid……[76]Over deze schandalige en onverkwikkelijke kwestiezijn destijds nog Kamervragen gesteld door D’66 en deChristen Unie [8 januari 2019] en later door de PvdA [7 maart2019] [77]Ook heeft ondergetekende destijds de Staatssecretaris aangeschreven [met daaraan gehecht eerdere correspondentieover een uitzetting naar Soedan] [78]Maar het ging over Harber’s discretionaire bevoegdheid.In een geruchtmakende zaak heeft hij daarvan gebruik gemaakt:In de kwestie Howick en Lili [79]
En dan nu de Vraag, hoe vaak Harbers gebruik gemaakt heeft van zijn discretionaire bevoegdheid?Dat was slechts 26 keer! [80]Het feit in aanmerking genomen, dat hij al twee jaar Staatssecretaris was, voordat de discretionaire bevoegdheid hemwerd ontnomen:Dat zegt wel iets over zijn zelfverklaarde ”menselijkheid” [81]

EPILOOG
Van Verdonk tot HarbersIk heb ze op een rijtje gezet, de bewindspersonen,die gebruik hebben gemaakt van hun discretionaire bevoegdheid.De een meer dan de ander.Sommigen verrasten me, van anderen [Leers/Harbers] vond ikhet liggen in de Lijn der Verwachting.Als er meer gebruik is gemaakt van die discretionaire bevoegdheid, is dat fijn voor betrokkenen natuurlijk.
Maar mijn mening over die bewindslieden is niet veranderd.
Want veel of weinig gebruik van die discretionaire bevoegdheid:
Het beleid deugt in grond niet, zolang vluchtelingen wordengecriminaliseerd, rechteloos gemaakt en opgesloten.Zolang ook maar EEN iemand wordt uitgezet naar eenonveilig land.
Ik heb gezegd.
ASTRID ESSED
TEKST VAN TROUW ARTIKEL, WAARUIT AANGEHAALD INBEGINZIN ARTIKELDIRECT HIERONDER DE NOTEN
TROUWDE DRUK OP DE STAATSSECTRETARIS ASIELZAKEN IS TE GROOT, VINDT DE EIGEN VVD19 NOVEMBER 2018

https://www.trouw.nl/nieuws/de-druk-op-de-staatssecretaris-van-asielzaken-is-te-groot-vindt-de-eigen-vvd~bc5d2984/

Als een vreemdeling volgens de regels niet in aanmerking komt voor een verblijfsvergunning, mag de minister deze alsnog verlenen. De VVD wil deze discretionaire bevoegdheid afschaffen, maar dit pleidooi vindt geen gehoor in de Tweede Kamer.

Gerd Leers, minister van vreemdelingenzaken in het eerste kabinet-Rutte, zei in 2012 in deze krant: “Neem van mij aan: gebruikmaken van je discretionaire bevoegdheid of niet, is het moeilijkste wat ik heb meegemaakt.”

De CDA’er nam de dossiers met ‘schrijnende gevallen’ in een rode map mee naar huis. Daar begon de worsteling. Verdiende dit asielgezin alsnog een verblijfsvergunning, ondanks dat de rechter anders heeft besloten? Oftewel: moest hij zijn hart laten spreken?

Alle collega’s van Leers kennen de situatie. Het is meer dan ingewikkeld, liet Klaas Dijkhoff (staatssecretaris van asielzaken tussen 2015 en 2017) destijds weten in het AD. Ook hij kreeg moeilijke dossiers mee naar huis, met de vraag of in bepaalde gevallen genade voor recht moest gaan.

Dijkhoff: “Als ik geen discretionair besluit neem, wordt dat onmenselijk gevonden. Doe ik het wel, dan is het eerlijk. Maar het is per definitie níet eerlijk. De meesten zijn wel teruggegaan en hebben zich netjes aan de regels van onze overheid gehouden. Degene die mij een brief schrijft, heeft toch jarenlang tegen de samenleving gezegd: ik negeer jullie regels (…) Het voelt voor mij nooit als iets eerlijks, om die bevoegdheid te gebruiken.”

Enorme belasting

VVD-Kamerlid Malik Azmani wil van de discretionaire bevoegdheid af. Hij vindt dat de druk op Mark Harbers, partijgenoot en huidig staatssecretaris van asielzaken, groot is. Te groot. Azmani: “Het is een enorme belasting voor bewindslieden.”

Waar dat toe kan leiden, bleek enkele maanden geleden, toen de uitgeprocedeerde Armeense kinderen Lili en Howick dreigden te worden uitgezet. Hun lot lag in handen van Harbers. Het tweetal werd onderwerp van een fel politiek en maatschappelijk debat en mocht uiteindelijk in Nederland blijven van de staatssecretaris. Op enig moment moest Harbers onderduiken vanwege bedreigingen.

Azmani wil zijn pleidooi niet ophangen aan de kwestie-Lili en Howick. Hij vindt per definitie dat het niet aan de politiek is om nog een finaal oordeel te vellen over individuele asielzoekers, nadat de rechter heeft gesproken. Het ongemak is, vindt Azmani, “dat iedereen iets vindt van een bepaalde zaak. Uiteindelijk moet de staatssecretaris daar een besluit over nemen, maar mag hij het niet uitleggen.” De worsteling van Harbers vindt achter de schermen plaats – en daar hoort deze te blijven.

Specialisten

De VVD stelt als alternatief voor dat in schrijnende gevallen de Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst iemand alsnog een vergunning verleent. “Daar zitten de specialisten”, zegt Azmani. Bovendien leidt de discretionaire bevoegdheid volgens hem tot willekeur. Iemand kan in de map van de staatssecretaris terechtkomen na een brief van een bezorgde burgemeester. Azmani: “Maar wat als niemand voor een asielzoeker in de bres springt? Wat als een school niet in actie komt?”

De VVD zal het voorstel vanavond toelichten, tijdens een Kamerdebat over de justitiebegroting. Op applaus hoeft Azmani niet te rekenen, ook niet binnen de eigen coalitie. D66 laat bij monde van Kamerlid Maarten Groothuizen weten: “Zolang verruiming van het kinderpardon niet serieus op tafel ligt, is afschaffen van de discretionaire bevoegdheid geen optie.” De ChristenUnie sluit zich daar bij aan. Ook het CDA verwerpt het VVD-plan. Volgens Kamerlid Madeleine van Toorenburg is deze bevoegdheid iets ‘dat wij moeten koesteren in Nederland en niet moeten bezoedelen met partijpolitiek’. Ze doet daarbij wel een oproep aan politici om zich in het openbaar niet te bemoeien met individuele asielkwesties. “Want als wij dat wel gaan doen, dan halen wij de bijzondere bevoegdheid van de bewindspersoon onderuit.”

Op Radio 1 zei Leers vandaag iets soortgelijks. Het probleem is de politiek, vindt hij, niet het instrument van de discretionaire bevoegdheid. Leers verwerpt het voorstel van Azmani: “In elk systeem komen mensen tussen de wielen”. En dan moet een bewindspersoon op het allerlaatste moment kunnen ingrijpen.
EINDE ARTIKEL TROUW
NOTEN
NOTEN 1 T/M 10
https://www.astridessed.nl/noten-1-t-m-10-asielbewindslieden/

NOTEN 11 EN 12

NOTEN 13 EN 14
https://www.astridessed.nl/noten-13-en-14-asielbewindslieden/

NOTEN 15 T/M 21

NOTEN 22 T/M 26
https://www.astridessed.nl/noten-22-t-m-26-asielbewindslieden/

NOTEN 27 T/M 31
https://www.astridessed.nl/noten-27-t-m-31-asielbewindslieden/

NOTEN 32 T/M 35
https://www.astridessed.nl/noten-32-t-m-35-asielbewindslieden/

NOTEN 36 T/M 39
https://www.astridessed.nl/noten-36-t-m-39-asielbewindslieden/

NOTEN 40 EN 41

NOTEN 42 T/M 47

NOTEN 48 EN 49

NOTEN 50 T/M 54

NOTEN 55 T/M 59

NOOT 60

NOTEN 61 T/M 64

NOTEN 65 T/M 70

NOTEN 71 T/M 77
https://www.astridessed.nl/noten-71-t-m-77-asielbewindslieden/

NOOT 78

NOTEN 79 T/M 81

ONDER NOTENAPPARAAT

EERSTE ZWARTE MINISTER IN EEN NEDERLANDS KABINET:FRANC WEERWIND
NOS VIDEODE MINISTERS LEGGEN DE EED AF

https://nos.nl/video/2412567-de-ministers-leggen-de-eed-af

WIKIPEDIAFRANC WEERWIND

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franc_Weerwind

[WIKIPEDIA ENGELS]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franc_Weerwind

RIJKSOVERHEID/REGERING/BEWINDSPERSONEN/FRANC WEERWIND
https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/regering/bewindspersonen/franc-weerwind

Franc Weerwind

‘Iedereen moet toegang hebben tot het recht, ongeacht waar je vandaan komt, wat je persoonlijke situatie is of wat er in je portemonnee zit. Ik wil alle mensen in dit land het vertrouwen geven dat ze altijd kunnen rekenen op de democratische rechtsstaat.’

Franc WeerwindMinister voor Rechtsbescherming

Geboren op 22 september 1964 in Amsterdam, ongehuwd, 3 kinderen. Partij: D66.

Taken

  • Raad voor de Rechtspraak/Zittende magistratuur
  • Juridische beroepen
  • Rechtsbestel
  • Rechtsbijstand
  • Slachtofferhulp
  • Sanctiebeleid (DJI, inclusief TBS), inclusief bijbehorende wijzigingen Wetboek van Strafrecht
  • Justitieel jeugdbeleid
  • Aanpak recidive
  • Uitvoeringsketen strafrechtelijke beslissingen
  • Adoptie
  • Preventie (persoonsgericht en generiek)
  • Wet Rechterlijke Organisatie
  • Wet Burgerlijke Rechtsvordering
  • Wijziging Wetboek van Strafvordering (primair)
  • Wetgevingskwaliteit
  • Privaatrecht, inclusief personen- en familierecht
  • Verbod verenigingen en financiering
  • Faillissementswet
  • Algemene wet bestuursrecht
  • Auteursrecht/intellectuele eigendom
  • Kansspelen
  • Bescherming persoonsgegevens
  • Autoriteit persoonsgegevens
  • Dienst Justis
  • CJIB
  • Raad Strafrechttoepassing en Jeugdbescherming
  • Raad voor de Kinderbescherming

ANTI VLUCHTELINGENDISCOURS KABINET RUTTE IV
” Mensen die niet rechtmatig in Nederland mogen blijven, moeten terugkeren naar het land van herkomst. We zetten in op effectieve maatregelen die gericht zijn op of bijdragen aan terugkeer of vertrek van mensen die niet in Nederland mogen blijven. Dit doen wij door intensieve begeleiding via het terugkeerspoor uit te breiden, de meldplicht aan te scherpen, het onderwijs in gezinslocaties in AZC’s in te richten op onderwijs in de taal van het land van herkomst en het uitbreiden van de Landelijke Vreemdelingen Voorziening (LVV) naar een landelijk dekkend netwerk waarbij de opvang altijd gericht is op terugkeer. Zelfstandige gemeentelijke opvang is dan niet meer nodig en wordt door het Rijk niet meer gefinancierd. 
Als sluitstuk van een zorgvuldig proces wordt in de wet het middel van de ongewenstverklaring aangepast zodat deze ook betrekking kan hebben op uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers die weg moeten, die weg kunnen, maar die niet meewerken aan hun terugkeer of vertrek en daarbij richten we ons in het bijzonder op diegenen die overlast veroorzaken.”

REGEERACCOORD”OMZIEN NAAR ELKAAR, VOORUITKIJKENNAAR DE TOEKOMST”COALITIEACCOORD 2021-2025VVD, D’66, CDA EN CHRISTENUNIE
[ASIEL, BLADZIJDE 45]

https://content1a.omroep.nl/urishieldv2/l27m7a18ca3d6e7e0c730061bc858a000000.71bf24b3d364dad2fd60a8be66165cf7/nos/docs/15122021_coalitieakkoord.pdf

Kritiek op ongewenstverklaring: ‘illegaliteit wordt nu strafbaar’

Vanuit Bij1, GroenLinks en Volt klinken vragen over de ongewenstverklaring die de coalitie wil invoeren voor uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers. De partijen leggen dat uit als een strafbaarstelling van illegaliteit en GroenLinks-leider Klaver wijst Kaag erop dat oud-D66-leider Pechtold daar juist lang oppositie tegen heeft gevoerd.

“Er zijn veel mitsen en maren, maar de strafbaarstelling is weer terug”, aldus Klaver. “Het is slimmer opgeschreven, ik las er bijna overheen, maar het staat er toch echt: illegaliteit wordt strafbaar.” Kaag is het daar niet mee eens en legt uit dat het wat haar betreft een sluitstuk is van een langer proces en niet een generieke strafbaarstelling van illegaliteit.

Klaver ziet dat anders: “Het zal wel het sluitstuk zijn, maar het sluitstuk is dat illegaliteit strafbaar wordt. Als het eruitziet als een eend, zwemt als een eend en kwaakt als een eend, dan is het een eend.” De leider van D66 houdt vol dat die uitleg van de ongewenstverklaring in het akkoord niet juist is.

Waar gaat de discussie over strafbaarheid van illegaliteit over?

In het coalitieakkoord staat dat mensen die illegaal in Nederland verblijven eerder een zogenoemde ongewenstverklaring krijgen. In Nederland zijn of naar Nederland komen is dan strafbaar.

Die ongewenstverklaring bestaat al, en wordt gegeven aan personen die geen verblijfsvergunning hebben en zijn veroordeeld voor een ernstig strafbaar feit (in of buiten Nederland), een gevaar zijn voor de openbare orde en veiligheid of meerdere malen de Vreemdelingenwet hebben overtreden.

De coalitie wil dit uitbreiden. Ook mensen die illegaal in Nederland verblijven en niet meewerken aan terugkeer naar hun eigen land en overlast veroorzaken, krijgen dan zo’n ongewenstverklaring. Hoe dit juridisch geregeld gaat worden is nog niet bekend.”

RUTTE WAARSCHIJNLIJK NOG NAAR EU TOP:

FORMATIEDEBAT IN EINDFASE

https://nos.nl/liveblog/2409701-rutte-waarschijnlijk-nog-naar-eu-top-formatiedebat-in-eindfase
  • Klaver wil visie, ‘afrekenbare doelen’ en doorrekeningen van plannen zienOok in de bijdrage van GroenLinks-leider Jesse Klaver is er opnieuw aandacht voor de plannen die de coalitie heeft voor de zorg, die hij net als veel andere oppositiepolitici uitlegt als een bezuiniging. Hij wil dat het zorghoofdstuk in het akkoord wordt aangepast. “Wat jullie nu doen, is onverantwoord. Iedereen die zegt ‘het is minder meer’: dat wordt al tien jaar gezegd.”Hij complimenteert de coalitie voor de “echt hele mooie zaken” die ook in het akkoord staan, maar zegt dat hij er meer van had verwacht. “Wat voor mij ontbreekt is visie. Ik mis de verbindingen tussen beleidsterreinen. Ik weet wel wat jullie willen gaan doen, maar ik weet niet waar jullie heen willen”, aldus Klaver. “Dit regeerakkoord is noch goed uitgewerkt, noch op hoofdlijnen. Daardoor is het vlees noch vis.”Klaver vraagt de coalitiepartijen of ze voor de presentatie van een regeringsverklaring bereid zijn om een lijst op te stellen met “afrekenbare doelen”. “Waar willen jullie heen en waar zijn jullie over drie jaar op af te rekenen?” Ook wil de leider van GroenLinks bij de regeringsverklaring doorrekeningen door de planbureaus zien van de plannen.Waar gaat de zorgdiscussie over?Zonder politieke maatregelen stijgen de zorgkosten de komende jaren ‘vanzelf’ van bijna 89 miljard euro in 2022 naar 95 miljard in 2026. Dat komt door vergrijzing en duurdere zorginnovaties. De coalitiepartijen willen die groei afremmen, met uiteindelijk 4,5 miljard euro per jaar minder uitgave in 2052. In 2026 staat de teller per saldo op 782 miljoen minder aan zorguitgaven. Die komen dan op 94,5 miljard euro per jaar in plaats van 95,3 miljard.
  • ÉÉN DAG GELEDENSegers (CU) wil dat er preciezer over de zorgplannen wordt gesprokenChristenUnie-leider Segers wil dat er “met meer precisie wordt gepraat over de zorg”. Dat zegt hij in reactie op Marijnissen van de SP die de zorgplannen van de coalitiepartijen in haar termijn opnieuw uitlegde als een bezuiniging.”Wat ik echt lastig vind, is om iedere keer te horen ‘er wordt bezuinigd, er wordt bezuinigd'”, zegt Segers. Hij zegt dat hij inderdaad openstaat voor een gesprek over de plekken waar in de zorg bezuinigd kan worden, zoals in de bureaucratie – “net als de SP” – maar hij wil af van de retoriek dat er in de zorg nu “met de botte bijl” wordt bezuinigd.Segers benadrukt dat er volgens het akkoord dat gisteren is gepresenteerd 9 miljard euro extra naar de zorg gaat in de komende periode.
  • ÉÉN DAG GELEDENWilders: akkoord is geen prestatie maar blijk van angstHet woord is na de lunchpauze het eerst aan PVV-leider Wilders. Hij herhaalt opnieuw dat miljoenen Nederlanders volgens hem Rutte niet meer vertrouwen, “en ze zullen zijn leugens en wanbeleid nooit vergeten”. Wilders vindt het coalitieakkoord geen prestatie, maar een blijk van “angst voor de kiezer die hard met hen zou afrekenen bij nieuwe verkiezingen”.Net als andere oppositiepartijen staat Wilders stil bij de plannen voor de zorg. “Men gaat 5 miljard euro structureel bezuinigen op de zorg, welke gek heeft zoiets verzonnen?”, vraagt hij zich af. “Wij hadden als PVV het tegenovergestelde verwacht, wij hadden structurele mega-investeringen verwacht. Wat zijn dit voor prioriteiten? Hebben ze dan helemaal niets geleerd van de coronacrisis?” De PVV wil dat er meer geld komt voor de zorg en wil ook dat er meer wordt gedaan voor lastenverlichting.Waar gaat de zorgdiscussie over?Zonder politieke maatregelen stijgen de zorgkosten de komende jaren ‘vanzelf’ van bijna 89 miljard euro in 2022 naar 95 miljard in 2026. Dat komt door vergrijzing en duurdere zorginnovaties. De coalitiepartijen willen die groei afremmen, met uiteindelijk 4,5 miljard euro per jaar minder uitgave in 2052. In 2026 staat de teller per saldo op 782 miljoen minder aan zorguitgaven. Die komen dan op 94,5 miljard euro per jaar in plaats van 95,3 miljard.
  • ÉÉN DAG GELEDENKritiek op ongewenstverklaring: ‘illegaliteit wordt nu strafbaar’Vanuit Bij1, GroenLinks en Volt klinken vragen over de ongewenstverklaring die de coalitie wil invoeren voor uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers. De partijen leggen dat uit als een strafbaarstelling van illegaliteit en GroenLinks-leider Klaver wijst Kaag erop dat oud-D66-leider Pechtold daar juist lang oppositie tegen heeft gevoerd.”Er zijn veel mitsen en maren, maar de strafbaarstelling is weer terug”, aldus Klaver. “Het is slimmer opgeschreven, ik las er bijna overheen, maar het staat er toch echt: illegaliteit wordt strafbaar.” Kaag is het daar niet mee eens en legt uit dat het wat haar betreft een sluitstuk is van een langer proces en niet een generieke strafbaarstelling van illegaliteit.Klaver ziet dat anders: “Het zal wel het sluitstuk zijn, maar het sluitstuk is dat illegaliteit strafbaar wordt. Als het eruitziet als een eend, zwemt als een eend en kwaakt als een eend, dan is het een eend.” De leider van D66 houdt vol dat die uitleg van de ongewenstverklaring in het akkoord niet juist is.Waar gaat de discussie over strafbaarheid van illegaliteit over?In het coalitieakkoord staat dat mensen die illegaal in Nederland verblijven eerder een zogenoemde ongewenstverklaring krijgen. In Nederland zijn of naar Nederland komen is dan strafbaar.Die ongewenstverklaring bestaat al, en wordt gegeven aan personen die geen verblijfsvergunning hebben en zijn veroordeeld voor een ernstig strafbaar feit (in of buiten Nederland), een gevaar zijn voor de openbare orde en veiligheid of meerdere malen de Vreemdelingenwet hebben overtreden.De coalitie wil dit uitbreiden. Ook mensen die illegaal in Nederland verblijven en niet meewerken aan terugkeer naar hun eigen land en overlast veroorzaken, krijgen dan zo’n ongewenstverklaring. Hoe dit juridisch geregeld gaat worden is nog niet bekend.

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Discretionaire Bevoegdheid

Opgeslagen onder Divers

[Uit Astrid Essed’s Archief]/Recht op Asiel als ”Gunst”, volgens Staatssectretaris van Justitie Klaas Dijkhoff…..

Uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers verhuizen van Vluchtkantoor op de Weteringschans naar Vluchthaven in het voormalige huis van bewaring in de Havenstraat. (Binnenland - documentair - enkel)

RECHT OP ASIEL ALS ”GUNST”
https://www.astridessed.nl/uit-astrid-esseds-archief-recht-op-asiel-als-gunst-volgens-staatssectretaris-van-justitie-klaas-dijkhoff/

YOUTUBE.COM

KLAAS OVER VLUCHTELINGEN

”Ik vind, dat mensen, die vluchten voor oorlog, die moetenwe veiligheid bieden.Dat is menselijk en dat is een gunst, die ik graag verleenMaar ik wil wel af van een automatisme, dat een oorlogsvluchtelingna vijf jaar altijd mag blijven

Er zijn ook mensen bij, die onze normen en waarden niet delen,die niet zo goed bij ons passen en ik vind, dat je heel zorgvuldig moetzijn in wie je tot onze samenleving toelaat

Daarom vind ik dat oorlogsvluchtelingen drie tot vier jaarmoeten kunnen blijven en daarna, als het veilig is, terug naar huisen als het niet veilig is,. terug naar opvang in de regio

en in de periode, dat mensen hier zijn, helpen we ze, we biedenze veiligheid en onderdak, maar ook scholing, zodat ze het landvan herkomst kunnen opbouwen of in de regionale opvangeen steentje kunnen bijdragen om die beter te maken en ben jeiemand, een vluchteling, die wel onze waarden deelt en meteen alshij hier is, in die jaren, zijn best doet er wat van te maken en een steentjebij te dragen, nou dan vind ik, dan kunnen we ook mogelijkheden creeren,dat je toch mag blijven, omdat je bij ons past.Voor de rest van de vluchtelingen geldt dat het verblijf tijdelijk isen als zij weer terug zijn naar de opvang in de regio, kunnen eranderen naar Nederland komen en zo houden wij controle over wie erin Nederland mogen blijven en wie niet.

Zo zie ik het het liefst en dat is geen belofte, dat het ook gaat lukken,daar is heel veel voor nodig

Ik zou graag horen, hoe jullie erover denken, wat jullie van mijn ideeenvinden, of we het moeten uitwerken tot een plan, of dat julliemisschien wel betere plannen hebben.Ik praat hier graag over met jullie en natuurlijk ook over andee onderwerpen

en 25 juni is de eerstvolgende keer dat het kan in Veldhoven, bij Cafede Burgemeester, vanaf half acht en je gaat sowieso lachen, niet omdatik er ben, maar cabaretier Rob Scheepers is er ook en die start de avond, duswees op tijd en om ons te belonen na een avond flinke politiekediscussie, zal hij hem ook afronden en zullen we allemaal met een groteglimlach op ons gezicht naar huis kunnen.”
EINDE YOUTUBE FILMPJE
ZIE OOK
KLAAS DIJKHOFF GAAT OPTREDEN MET CABARETIER/ROBSCHEEPERS, YOU THINK YOU ARE FUNNY?/BRIEF AANROB SCHEEPERSASTRID ESSED23 JUNI 2018
https://www.astridessed.nl/klaas-dijkhoff-gaat-optreden-met-cabaretier-rob-scheepers-you-think-you-are-funny-brief-aan-rob-scheepers/

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor [Uit Astrid Essed’s Archief]/Recht op Asiel als ”Gunst”, volgens Staatssectretaris van Justitie Klaas Dijkhoff…..

Opgeslagen onder Divers

Inzet voor vluchtelingen/Wietse Potijk aan premier Balkenende/De mens in actie!

Uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers verhuizen van Vluchtkantoor op de Weteringschans naar Vluchthaven in het voormalige huis van bewaring in de Havenstraat. (Binnenland - documentair - enkel)

INZET VOOR VLUCHTELINGEN/WIETSE POTIJK, DE MENS IN ACTIE!
LEZERS!
Recentelijk heb ik een stuk geschreven, waarin ik een Tribute heb gedaanaan een in mijn ogen Groot Man en ook Goede Vriend, vluchtelingenwerker Wietse Potijk uit het Friese dorp Gorredijk, die zich onvermoeibaar heeftingezet voor de rechten van vluchtelingen. [1]Hij overleed in 2006 [2].Dat is alweer een tijd geleden en ik heb hem na zijn dood direct eenhomage gebracht [3], maar toch kon ik het niet laten het nu, in 2022, 16 jaarlater, opnieuw te doen.Ik stuitte min of meer toevallig op hem en zijn inzet bijeen het schrijven van artikel, dat binnenkort op deze website verschijnten vond en vind, dat hij niet vergeten mag worden.Maar naast die tribute [4] wilde ik er ook een meer persoonlijke noot aangeven.Om de lezer te laten zien, wat voor mens hij was.Daarom laat ik hem hier persoonlijk aan het woord, na gedoken te zijnin mijn archief betr de mailwisseling met Wietse.
Zie dus hieronder wat voor mens Wietse Potijk was
ASTRID ESSED

ZIE VOOR NOTEN

DIT IS OM NOG EVEN TE LATEN ZIEN, WAT VOOR MENSWIETSE POTIJK WAS

Astrid Essed To:dpvn23nederland@hotmail.com
Sun, Oct 1, 2006 at 8:26 AMBeste Wietse, Hoe gaat het met je?Bij dezen mijn complimenten tav je uitstekende aan premier Balkenende geschreven brief! Hartelijke groeten van vriendschapEveneens de hartelijke groeten aan de andere e-mailadressanten Astrid

wietse potijk <dpvn23nederland@hotmail.com> wrote:

MINISTERIE VAN ALGEMENE ZAKEN
T.a.v. Minister president dhr. Prof. J. P. Balkenende
Den Haag

Onderwerp: Uitspraak Rechtbank ( Chinese jongetje Hui)

Excellentie dhr. Balkenende,

Een groot deel van de Nederlandse samenlaving is geschokt bij de uitspraak
van de rechter en zeer zeker de houding van de minister van
Vreemdelingenzaken nadien, mevrouw Rita Verdonk.

Ik citeer de minister in haar verklaring na de uitspraak van de rechtbank:
Hierin geeft zij aan dat het de keus is van de ouder om met haar kind in de
cel te verblijven, er is namelijk genoeg opvang mogelijk bij familie,
vrienden of voogd. Voor twee ouders is speciale opvang voorzien voor de
ouder met die met kind niet de cel in hoeft.

Excellentie Balkenende, hoe in Gods naam verwacht u dat deze ouder(s), die
al zeer getraumatiseerd zijn door het gebeuren, de jaren van onzekerheid en
wachten, dat zij hun kind(ren) achter laten aan de zorg van vreemden om zelf
in een cel te gaan zitten, wachtend totdat zij het land worden uitgezet? Zij
vertrouwen bij nu geen mens en NIEMAND meer.

Was het niet U zelf, CDA Premier van Nederland, die ooit een statement
maakte dat het gezin de hoeksteen van de Nederlandse samenleving is? Hoe dan
niet voor Hui en zijn moeder, een jongetje die hier n Nederland geboren is
en niets anders weet de dit land en cultuur, waarin HIJ opgegreid is. Hoe
rijmt u dat met wat hier gebeurd in een Nederlandse gevangenis in Zeist?
Erger nog is, dat u als het CDA en toch ,( Christelijke partij), in het
nastreven van Gods woord, de geloofsleer en Ideologie héél anders handeld
dan dat God zelf dat van u zou verwachten én willen excellentie Balkenende.
In andere woorden, in de form van barmhatigheid, humaniteit en liefde voor
de medemens, zoals God zelf dat doet, geeft niet waar in de wereld of wie
het is. God maakt GEEN onderscheid.

Minister Verdonk, waar weinig goeds meer van te verwachten is anders dan
haar eigen Imago verbetering, wat wij bij nu al wel gewend zijn van deze
minister van leugens en aduquaat handelen, vergeet of weigerd te erkennen
dat deze opgesloten kinderen met hun ouders géén papieren kúnnen krijgen,
Abassades niét of weigeren mee te werken, wat lang al een bewezen feit is.
Het is té gemakkelijk om dan maar te zeggen, de ouder(s) weigeren mee te
werken, dat de ouder(s) hun verantwoordeliijkheid niet nemen, dus sluiten we
ze op. Deze mensen hébben geen andere keuze Excellentie Balkenende, wanneer
begrijpt het kabinet dat nu eens een keer.

Daarnaast staat minister Verdonk te beweren (liegen) in haar verklaring dat
de in gevang gehouden kinderen het volgende krijgen in detentie. Verdonk
zei: ,,Vanzelfsprekend proberen we de bewaringsperiode zo kort mogelijk te
houden.” Gelogen, velen zitten daar veel en veel langer, het langst tot nu
toe, 187 dagen opgesloten.

Verdonk: ,,We zorgen voor onderwijs, leermiddelen, wéér gelogen, luister
naar Hui zelf die zei, ik mag niet leren en naar school hier. Anders probeer
eens te praten met hulpverleners die dit allemaal van dichtbij mee maken,
wanneer ze op bezoek gaan bij deze mensen, kinderen, hen te steunen in deze
gevangenissen. Ook Zestienhove Rotterdam, géén verschil.

Verdonk: ,,Ook zorgen we voor spelmateriaal, wéér gelogen, luister naar Hui
die zei, mijn speelgoed mocht ik niet mee nemen, ik heb hier niets, alles
wordt afgenomen. Ik mag niets doen en we mogen maar twee keer luchten per
dag, een kortere en langere, dat begrijp ik niet goed, ik weet het verschil
niet.

Mijn eigen ervaring als hulpverlener daarmee. Bij aankomst gevangenis moet
je bijna uit je kleren om binnen te komen, alles wordt onderzocht en
nagekeken eerst. Op kinderverjaardag bezoek, de taart werd afgenomen en
meegenomen en open gesneden, vermengeld teruggekregen, met bedorven smaak,
dus aardigheid eraf. Het kadeautje moest ook afgegeven worden en hebben we
niet teruggezien. Verteld werd dat het eerst moest worden nagekeken. Ik
vroeg me af in wat voor in Nederland helhol wij terecht waren gekomen met
rondom ons geblindeerde ramen. Ooit zoiets eerder meegemaakt rijdende door
de toen nog, Oost Duitse grens zone geconfronteerd bij de Gestapo, mijn zus
in West Berlijn te kunnen bezoeken. En daar dacht ik toe aan. Wat een land
leven wij zeg, en dan maar verkondigen, het gaat zo goed allemnaal. Daar
moet je dan TROTS op zijn.

Met vriendelijke groet en hoogachting,

Dhr. W. J. Potijk
Steunpunt Friesland Vluchtelingenhulp
Vluchteling Coördinator
Gorredijk

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Inzet voor vluchtelingen/Wietse Potijk aan premier Balkenende/De mens in actie!

Opgeslagen onder Divers

[Gouwe Ouwe uit 2006!/Gepubliceerd door Uitpers.be]/Over asielkinderen in Nederland

Twee kinderen spelen in een asielzoekerscentrum
https://www.unicef.nl/ons-werk/nederland/gewoon-kind-kunnen-zijn-ook-in-een-azc

Asielzoekers wandelen in buurt asielcentrum

© ANP

[UIT 2006]/UITPERS.BEDE HUMANITAIRE POSITIE VAN ASIELKINDEREN IN HET ALGEMEENEN ASIELKINDEREN IN VREEMDELINGENDETENTIE1 NOVEMBER 2006

 1 November 2006  Astrid Essed

Geachte lezers,

Onderstaand artikel is opgedragen aan een bijzonder mens en groot Vriend, Wietse Potijk, die helaas recentelijk, dd 20-10 is overleden. Hij was een humanitair mens in de ware zin van het Woord, die zich als vluchtelingencoordinator Friesland en zeer gewaardeerd lid van de
humanitaire vluchtelingenorganisatie van Harte Pardon op bijzondere wijze inzette voor de belangenbehartiging van vluchtelingen en asielzoekers.


Niet alleen zette hij zich in grote mate in voor praktische hulpverlening, eveneens bestookte hij Tweede Kamerleden en minister Verdonk met brieven, mails en verzoeken tot de zo broodnodige humanitaire inzet tav vluchtelingen en asielzoekers.
Eveneens had hij jarenlang in Canada gewoond, waar hij zich actief had ingezet voor de rechten van Indianen. Met grote verontwaardiging kon hij zich bovendien uitlaten over het onrecht, de Palestijnen en de burgerbevolking in Darfoer aangedaan. Maar ook organiseerde hij het opzetten van een speeltuin in zijn woonplaats, het Friese Gorredijk
Ik draag dit artikel niet alleen aan hem op, vanwege zijn onvoorstelbare humanitaire inzet, maar tevens, omdat ik weet, dat hij het met vreugde en instemming gelezen zou hebben

En hij zou gezegd hebben ”Goed zo meisje”.

Ik en vele anderen zullen hem node missen.
Moge hij rusten in vrede.

Hierbij een foto en zijn In Memoriam
Zie:
http://www.vanhartepardon.nl/artikelenview.php?artid=3237

Ik dank u voor uw aandacht

Vriendelijke groeten
Astrid Essed


”En zij wikkelde hem in een doek en legde hem in de kribbe, omdat voor hen
geen plaats was in de herberg”
In een aloud verhaal wordt verteld, hoe een arm Joods echtpaar in het door de Romeinen bezette Judea [het huidige Israël en de bezette gebieden], vanwege een door de Romeinse keizer Augustus genomen maatregel tot een volkstelling, terugreisde naar hun geboorteplaats om zich te laten registreren.
Aldaar gekomen moest de hoogzwangere vrouw bevallen, maar voor haar en haar verwachte kind was ”geen plaats in de herberg”. Waarschijnlijk heeft zij daarom toestemming gekregen, haar Kind in een voor een bevalling uitgesproken ongeschikte plaats als een onhygiënische stal, ter wereld te brengen.

Meestal wordt dit verhaal ons met Kerstmis gepresenteerd als een zoetelijk, sentimenteel gebeuren, waarmee de harde, nietsontziende werkelijkheid wordt gebagatelliseerd. Anno 2006 is er in Nederland nog steeds sprake van kinderen voor wie geen plaats is in de herberg, ondanks de internationale humanitaire rechtsverdragen in het algemeen en het Kinderrechtenverdrag in het bijzonder.

Situatie asielzoekerskinderen in Nederland:

Het is evident, dat de humanitaire situatie van asielzoekerskinderen in Nederland direct samenhangt met de door de ouders al dan niet succesvol aangespannen procedure ter verkrijging van een verblijfsvergunning of een vluchtelingenstatus. In de praktijk echter is de kans op een succesvolle uitslag van een asielprocedure zeer gering.

a AC-procedures

Een en ander is met name te wijten aan het bestaan van de versnelde procedure, de zogenaamde AC-procedure. Volgens de door de UNHCR [VN-Vluchtelingenorganisatie]] opgestelde criteria, ontwikkeld in de zogenaamde Excom-conclusies, dient een versnelde procedure slechts te worden toegepast in apert-frauduleuze situaties.
In de praktijk echter wordt deze procedure, waar slechts na twee gesprekken door de IND wordt  vastgesteld of iemand al dan niet wordt toegelaten tot de uitgebreide procedure [het alternatief is uitzetting], in meer dan 60 porcent van de gevallen toegepast
Het gevaar is hierbij levensgroot aanwezig, dat ook mensen uit oorlogsgebieden dmv deze versnelde procedure worden afgewezen, waarna zij kunnen worden uitgezet naar een onleefbare situatie, met alle gevolgen van dien.
Ook bij reguliere procedures, hebben de door de lange wachttijd ontstane psychische spanningen bij de ouders een directe invloed op de door kinderen opgelopen spanningen ern angststoornissen.

Een zeer belangrijke bijkomende factor waarmee door zowel de IND als minister Verdonk van Vreemdelingenzaken te weinig rekening gehouden wordt is het feit, dat het merendeel van de asielzoekerskinderen in Nederland is geboren en een groot deel van de lagere school en soms ook Middelbare Schoolperiode in Nederland heeft doorgebracht.
Hierdoor is, nog afgezien van de al dan niet aanwezige veiligheidssituatie in het herkomstland van de ouders, de aanpassing aldaar voor deze veelal  in Nederland opgegroeide kinderen zeer problematisch, aangezien zij vaak noch de taal uit het herkomstland spreken, noch enige sociaal-emotionele affiniteit hebben met de aldaar aanwezige  situatie cq culturele gebruiken.


b Het ontbreken van basisvoorzieningen in afwachting van beroep tegen
afwijzing

Volgens de Nederlandse asielwetgeving kunnen asielzoekers, die in de AC-procedure zijn afgewezen, evenals trouwens asielzoekers, die een tweede asielprocedure aanspannen op grond van nieuw bewijsmateriaal, tijdens hun beroep tegen de afwijzing geen aanspraak maken op de in Nederland geldende elementaire basisvoorzieningen, waardoor iedere inkomstenbon ontbreekt.
Nog afgezien van de evidente inhumaniteit  is deze maatregel een flagrante schending van artikel 11 van het Internationaal Verdrag inzake Economische, Sociale en Culturele Rechten, dat uitdrukkelijk het recht van iedereen erkent op ”voldoende voedsel, kleding en adequate behuizing”.

Daarenboven heeft de VN-Commissie voor Sociale, Economische en Culturele Rechten gesteld, dat hiervan geen enkele groepering dient te worden uitgesloten, waarbij zij daarenboven expliciet melding heeft gemaakt van het recht van asielzoekers. Eveneens heeft zij met klem geprotesteerd tegen discriminatie van asielzoekers bij het verkrijgen van een huis

Dit recht op elementaire voorzieningen tijdens nog lopende procedures is eveneens verankerd in de de EU-richtlijn tot vaststelling minimumnormen voor de opvang van asielzoekers, artikelen 2 en 3 en als zodanig goedgekeurd door de Raad van Ministers dd 27-1-2003.

Een andere groep asielzoekers is de geheel uitgeprocedeerde groep, die de zogenaamde vierentwintig dagen brief heeft ontvangen, waarin staat, dat zij ervoor zorg moeten dragen, binnen 24 dagen het land te verlaten en anders eveneens zonder voorzieningen uit het asielzoekerscentrum worden verwijderd.

Nog afgezien echter van het eventueel te lopen humanitair risico in eigen land, staan een aantal diplomatieke vertegenwoordigingen in Nederland [met name o.a.  de Afghaanse en de Chinese] erom bekend, dat zij nauwelijks of geheel niet meewerken aan de verstrekking van geldige reispapieren aan de betreffende asielzoekers.
Wanneer er sprake is van een gebrek aan medewerking van de betreffende diplomatieke autoriteiten ter verstrekking van geldige reisdocumenten dient aan betrokkenen, op grond van het door minister Verdonk toegezegde ”buitenschuldcriterium”, alsnog een verblijfsvergunning te worden toegekend. In de praktijk echter wordt deze door de minister toegezegde ”buitenschuldcriterium” regeling nauwelijks toegepast.

Het is evident, dat door ouders ondervonden bovenstaande problematiek tot verkrijging van een basisinkomen en een huis, eventueel traumatische gevolgen kan hebben voor zowel de betrokken ouders als asielkinderen. Zo zijn er in de vluchtelingenhulpverlening gevallen bekend, waarbij gezinnen, die geen recht meer hadden op basisvoorzieningen, gedwongen waren, in parken te overnachten en te bedelen

Gelukkig is er een in aantal toenemende,  vastberaden groep vluchtelingenbelangenbehartigers, die zich het lot van deze mensen aantrekt en via kerkelijke en individuele circuits zorgdraagt voor een vaak tijdelijke opvang van deze mensen

c Asielkinderen in detentie:

Welhaast het meest schokkende aspect acht ik de aanwezigheid van asielkinderen in detentie en uitzetcentra zoals Zestienhoven en Kamp Zeist, samen met hun ouders respectievelijk moeder, in afwachting van de uitzetting. Onlangs nog heeft de detentie van het 8 jarige Chinese jongetje Hui Chen in de media en onder het publiek veel stof doen opwaaien
Aan deze detentie van Hui Chen is niet alleen een bijzondere aandacht besteed door humanitaire en vluchtelingenorganisaties, maar eveneens door een aantal zeer betrokken ouders van zijn voormalige Amsterdamse basisschool Olympia, die een demonstratie voor de vrijlating van Hui in het bijzonder, alsmede tegen de praktijk van de kinderdetentie hebben georganiseerd.

Inmiddels zijn Hui en zijn moeder dd 14-10 in vrijheid gesteld door de IND, aangezien volgens deze dienst de moeder van Hui nieuwe aan het rechtsdossier toe te voegen feitelijkheden naar voren heeft gebracht, waardoor de vreemdelingendetentie niet meer noodzakelijk zou zijn.

Kinderdetentei in sttrijd met het Internationaal Recht:

Wat ook de reden mag zijn van hun vrijlating, nog afgezien van de inhumaniteit in dezen, is de kinderdetentie in strijd met het in 1995 door Nederland geratificeerde Kinderrechtenverdrag, namelijk met de volgende artikelen:

Hierbij wil ik graag een bescheiden overzicht geven van de schending van de
voornaamste artikelen:

Preambule:

Schending gelijkheidsprincipe:

In de preambule van het verdrag staat vermeld, dat in dezen geen enkel onderscheid tussen kinderen gemaakt dient te worden, noch naar afkomst, ras, religieuze overtuiging of status.

Artikelen:

1 Schending Artikel 3 betr de vooropstelling belangen van het Kind

In artikel 3, Kinderrechtenverdrag, wordt gesteld, dat de Verdragsstaten in de eerste plaats als verplichting hebben, de belangen van het Kind te realiseren. Betreffende de kinderdetentie is het evident, dat hier sprake is van fundamentele schending van de rechten van het kind.

2 Schending artikel 40,3, lid a betr de minimumleeftijd voor kinderdetentie. Hier is sprake van naar leeftijd willekeurige detentie van kinderen, die in de praktijk varieert van 1 tot 18 jaar. Zeker betreffende de detentie van vaak nog zeer jonge kinderen, is hierop geen aanvulling nodig.

3 Schending van artikel 28 betreffende het recht op onderwijs
Aangezien er  in de detentiecentra geen sprake van het geven van enig onderwijs, behoeft hierop a evenmin verdere toelichting te worden gegeven.

4 Schending van artikel 31, inhoudende het recht op spel en recreatie, hetgeen in de detentiecentra voor asielkinderen doorgaans praktisch niet aanwezig is. Ook al zijn er wel beperkte spelfaciliteiten aanwezig, is hierbij sprake van de schending van het fundamentele recht van ieder kind tot het in vrijheid spelen met leeftijdsgenootjes

5 Schending van artikel 37 betr het absolute verbod op marteling en een ”wrede en onmenselijke behandeling”.
Het is evident, dat kinderen, die bloot staan aan bovengenoemde detentieomstandigheden,
behandeld worden in strijd met de volgens het Kinderrechtenverdrag geldende verplichting tot een humane behandeling. Eveneens kunnen zij door een dergelijke behandeling traumata oplopen, waardoor er sprake kan zijn van een ”wrede en onmenselijke behandeling”.

d Uitspraak Raad van State tav het beroep op het Kinderrechtenverdrag:

Eveneens heeft de Raad van State  in februari 2002 verklaard, dat het Kinderrechtenverdrag niet  van toepassing is op kinderen van ouders, die op grond van de Nederlandse Vreemdelingenwet geen verblijf in Nederland werd toegestaan.

Volgens het Kinderrechtenverdrag echter, dat door Nederland is geratificeerd in 1995, heeft ieder kind recht op speciale zorg en bescherming, in het bijzonder van Staten en hun instellingen en mag daarin geen enkel onderscheid gemaakt worden naar ras, afkomst en status [zie preambule]. Ondanks deze door Nederland aangegane internationale verplichtingen
volhardde de Raad van State in bovengesteld standpunt, dat zij zou herhalen in haar uitspraak dd 15-0-2005.

Hierop baseerde de Zutphense rechter zich onder andere, toen hij het hoger beroep tegen de moeder van Hui Chen tegen haar detentie en die van haar zoon afwees, waarin o.a. werd gesteld, dat de bewaring van Chen niet in strijd was met het Kinderrechtenverdrag.

Zowel de Raad van State als de Zutphense rechter hebben niet alleen een gerechtsuitspraak gedaan in strijd met het non-discriminatieprincipe, door onderscheid te maken tussen in Nederland wonende kinderen met of zonder verblijfsvergunning, daarenboven verliezen zij uit het oog, dat de internationale wetten voorrang verdienen op de bestaande Nederlandse
wetgeving.
Ook is er, noch bij de Zutphense rechter, noch bij de Raad van State, sprake van enige naleving van de belangen van de betreffende kinderen, aangezien Nederland zich in het Kinderrechtenverdrag heeft verplicht tot het centraal stellen van de belangen van het Kind.

e Geen kind in de cel

Het detineren van kinderen in vreemdelingenbewaring heeft in Nederland tot protest geleid,
Reeds is genoemd de belangrijke protesten van de ouders van de Olympiaschool waarop Hui Chen gezeten had.
Eveneens dient genoemd te worden de organisatie ”Geen kind in de cel”, die een samenwerkingsverband is van verscheidene mensenrechten, kerkelijke en vluchtelingenorganisaties, die aandacht vraagt voor de humanitaire positie van deze kinderen in het byzonder en de positie van vluchtelingen en asielzoekers in het algemeen

Epiloog:

Uit bovenstaande kan mi de conclusie getrokken worden, dat de rechten van asielzoekers in het algemeen, maar met name ook van asielzoekerskinderen, die juist als kinderen, buitengewoon kwetsbaar zijn, op ernstige wijze worden geschonden.
Een en ander is eveneens het geval met de zogenaamde AMA’s [Alleenstaande
Minderjarige Asielzoekers], die onbegeleid naar Nederland komen. Ook over hun behandeling, met name ook in de asielprocedure, heeft de internationaal-gerenomeerde mensenrechtenorganisatie scherpe kritiek geuit.

Helaas kreeg Human Rights Watch ook van de toenmalige minister van Vreemdelingenzaken, de heer H. Nawijn als reactie, dat het Kinderrechtenverdrag niet van toepassing was op ”bepaalde migrantenkinderen”.
Afgezien van het discriminatoire en het apert inhumane karakter van een dergelijke uitspraak is het duidelijk:
Nederland heeft het Kinderrechtenverdrag, alsmede andere humanitaire verdragen zoals het Verdrag voor Economische, Culturele en Sociale Rechten geratificeerd en is daaraan gehouden. Wanneer Nederland werkelijk wil waarmaken, respect te hebben voor het
Internationaal Recht, dient zij het na te leven.

Een belangrijk aspect daarvan is, naast het Vluchtelingenverdrag, het Anti-Folterverdrag en de Geneefse Conventies, het Kinderrechtenverdrag. Zodat er voor asielzoekerskinderen daadwerkelijk plaats ikomt in de herberg

(Uitpers, nr. 80, 8ste jg., november 2006)


Bronnen:

Kinderrechtenverdrag:
http://www.defenceforchildren.nl/ariadne/loader.php/nl/dci/kinderrechten/kinderrechtenverdrag/

Tav het recht op basisvoorzieningen in afwachting van beroep tegen afwijzing:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/netherlands0403/nether0403-04.htm#P466_115344

Verdrag voor Economische, Sociale en Culturele Rechten. Zie:
http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/zorgvuldigbestuur/pdf/VerdragEcoSocioCultu.pdf

EU richtlijn tot vaststelling minimumnormen voor de opvang van asielzoekers
dd 11-3-2004 [goedgekeurd door de Raad van Ministers dd 27-1 2003:
http://www.fedasil.be/home/attachment/i/2524

Internationaal Verdrag inzake Economische, Sociale en Culturele Rechten
Zie:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/netherlands0403/nether0403-04.htm#P466_115344

Organisatie ”Geen kind in de cel”:
http://www.geenkindindecel.nl/

Defense for Children
Zie:
http://www.defenceforchildren.nl/ariadne/loader.php/dci/kinderrechten/

Tav AMA’s
Zie:
http://www.vluchtelingenwerk.nl/75-Amas.html

Tav de behandeling van asielzoekerskinderen tijdens de procedure
Zie:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/netherlands0403/nether0403-03.htm#P276_63703

Gerechtelijk vonnis inzake beroep moeder Hui Chen tegen haar bewaring en die
van haar zoon [waaronder uitspraak tav het Kinderrechtenverdrag]
Zie:
http://zoeken.rechtspraak.nl/resultpage.aspx?snelzoeken=true&searchtype=ljn&ljn=AY9163

Uitspraak minister Nawijn tav het Kinderrechtenverdrag
Zie:
http://www.hrw.org/press/2003/09/dutch-asylum-policy.htm

Tav de AC-procedures in het algemeen
Zie:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/netherlands0403/

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor [Gouwe Ouwe uit 2006!/Gepubliceerd door Uitpers.be]/Over asielkinderen in Nederland

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