Tagarchief: Wit-Rusland

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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Poetin, de EU en de Oekraine/Van Criminelen, die Criminelen bestrijden

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

POETIN, DE EU EN DE OEKRAINE/VAN CRIMINELEN, DIE CRIMINELEN BESTRIJDEN
LEZERS!
Zie onder noot 1 mijn aan een aantal Nederlandse kranten toegezondenIngezonden Stuk over de Russische aanval op de Oekraine, de EU/VS reactieen vooral de hypocrisie van de EU!Let erop, hoe de EU goochelt met begrippen als ”in strijd met hetInternationaal Recht”, ze toepast naar eigen goeddunken EN het verschilin behandeling tussen de Oekraiense vluchtelingen en de Midden-Oostenvluchtelingen, die vorig jaar zijn gestrand in het Niemandsland tussenPolen en Belarus! [1]
”Wie durft” jaWant de mening van uw Wreker van het Onrecht gaat in tegenhet gebruikelijke mainstream gebazel van de reguliere mediaover de Oekraine Tragedie, die niet verder durft te gaan dan -terechte- fellekritiek op de Russissche aanval en weigert kritisch naar de EU en de VSte kijken.Ik wel
Omdat het mij onwaarschijnlijk lijkt, dat mijn stuk ook daadswerkelijkdoor kranteredacties wordt gepubliceerd, dit hier met u gedeeld
ENJOYEN LEZERS:Durf kritisch te zijn,
Dat is het Begin van Wijsheid

ASTRID ESSED
NOTEN

[1]
AAN DE GRENS TUSSEN POLEN EN WIT-RUSLAND/DE EUIN HAAR NAAKTE ONMENSELIJKHEIDASTRID ESSED27 NOVEMBER 2021
https://www.astridessed.nl/aan-de-grens-tussen-wit-rusland-en-polen-de-eu-in-haar-naakte-onmenselijkheid/

HUMANITAIRE CRISIS POLEN-WIT RUSLAND EN DE EUONMENSELIJKHEID/VERVOLGASTRID ESSED30 NOVEMBER 2021

POLAND-BELARUS BORDER CRISIS/LETTER TO THE EU/”EU’S HUMANOBLIGATIONS AGAINST THE REFUGEES”ASTRID ESSED4 DECEMBER 2021
https://www.astridessed.nl/poland-belarus-border-crisis-letter-to-the-eu-eus-human-obligations-against-the-refugees/

EINDE NOTEN

INGEZONDEN STUKTitel:DE RUSSISCHE AANVAL OP DE OEKRAINE EN DEHYPOCRISIE VAN DE EU
Ingezonden Stuk

Geachte Redactie,
De meeste weldenkende mensen zullen het erover eens zijn,dat de Russische aanval op Oekraine een grove schending van desoevereiniteit is en daarmee in strijd met het Internationaal Recht.Internationale veroordelingen, vooral van de kant van deEU en de Verenigde Staten, maar ook van bevriende landen [o.a. Japan, Zuid Korea] zijn dan ook op zijn plaats.
Er is echter ook een andere kant aan deze zaak.
In de eerste plaats de door de EU genomen economische sancties, die, hoebegrijpelijk ook, mij te ver gaan, omdat, naar is gebleken, nu reeds de gewoneRussische bevolking, die part noch deel heeft aan het oorlogsbesluit vanRusland’s president Poetin, hiervan de dupe dreigt te worden.
Nog gevaarlijker is het door EU landen naar de Oekraine toegezondenwapentuig van allerlei soort, omdat dit alleen maar escalerend werkt inde richting van Rusland en we zo een oorlog in gerommelddreigen te worden, met alle desastreuze gevolgen van dien.
Want de eerste reactie van Rusland op de sancties-het activeren door Poetin van de nucleaire troepen- liegt er niet om.
Verder kan Poetin ook besluiten de gaskraan dicht te draaien, waardoorde gasprijzen de lucht in zullen schieten en schaarste dreigt..De EU zou dan ook moeten stoppen met dergelijke uitdagingen richting Rusland.
Maar er is meer:
Want met alle sympathiek lijkende EU acties uit verklaarde solidariteitmet de Oekraieners, is de EU uiterst hypocriet bezig.
Want als de EU/VS zo begaan zijn met het Internationaal Recht en soevereiniteit,hoe verklaart zich dan het feit, dat dergelijke sancties nooit genomen zijntegen Israel, dat met zijn bezetting van de Palestijnse gebieden en zijnillegale nederzettingenpolitiek al jaren het Internationaal Recht schendt?
En om nog dichter bij de EU/VS te blijven:
Hoe zit het met de eigen schendingen van het Internationaal Recht,zoals destijds de door de EU gesteunde Brits-Amerikaanse aanval opIrak, die ook in strijd was met het Internationaal Recht?
Bitter is ook de vluchtelingenkwestie:
Want terwijl de EU landen de Oekraiense vluchtelingen uit allemacht helpen en van harte welkom heten [wat ook terecht is], werdenhet afgelopen jaar uit Irak en Afghanistan afkomstige vluchtelingen[ook vaak op de vlucht voor oorlog], grof door Poolse grenswachtenbij de grens tegengehouden of teruggestuurd, met de zegen van de EU,die Polen’s ”verdediging van de grenzen” toejuichte en bouwt hetzelfdePolen, dat nu de loper uitlegt voor de Oekraiense vluchtelingen, eenMuur op de grens met Belarus [Wit-Rusland] om Irakese, Afghaanse enandere Midden Oosten vluchtelingen tegen te houden.Wrang, inhumaan en ook in strijd met het Internationaal Recht.Dus prima, dat de EU/VS combinatie [verenigd in de NAVO] Oekrainesteunt en de Russische aanval veroordeelt, maar niet escaleren graagen dezelfde mensen in dezelfde omstandigheden [Oekraiense vluchtelingenversus vluchtelingen uit het Midden Oosten] gelijk behandelen.Anders zondigt de EU tegen de eigen EU Verdragen.
Astrid EssedAmsterdam

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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

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

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The Ukrainian Tragedy/Vladimir Putin and the West/A notorious Couple for the Goat’s Wagon!

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 PRESIDENTZELENSKY

THE UKRAINIAN TRAGEDY/VLADIMIR PUTIN AND THE WEST/ANOTORIOUS COUPLE FOR THE GOAT’S WAGON!
Uncensured 
[First impressions, originally written in Dutch, on 25 february 2022In Dutchhttps://www.astridessed.nl/de-oekraine-tragedie-poetin-en-het-westen-een-mooi-stel-voor-de-bokkenwagen/]

”When Elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”
African proverb
https://www.orcabook.com/When-Elephants-Fight#:~:text=When%20elephants%20fight%2C%20it%20is,the%20small%20who%20suffer%20most.

Perhaps I’ll write more about the Ukrain Tragedy, but I don’t promise anything

Although it was to be expected, yet I was shocked by that pure act ofagression, the Russian attack on the sovereign State of Ukraine.I am certainly no supporter of president Putin [1], committer of serioushuman rights violations in Russia and still worse, in Chechnya [2]like his predecessors, but that being said:The ones that condemn Putin most for his unlawful attack, namely the USA and the EU, are birds of the same feather:What about the US led attack on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? [3]Was the attack on Iraq in contrary to International Law or not! [4]Were not those countries sovereign States, like Ukraine?Are warcrimes not committed on large scale in those US led wars? [5]
Certainly I am NOT a supporter of Putin at all and I am a fervent opponentof the division of the world into international Power Blocs, as if the world werea sort of mighty Cake [Ukraine for the Ukrainian people!].

But seen from a geopolitical point of view [not mine], I do understand, thatPutin is furious about the disturbed Game of Power since the late eightiesof the 20th century, called ”Perestroika” [6] and the fall of the Sovjet Empire,from which Western Europe took advantage by practically incorporate the Eastern European countries by the EU, countries, that back in the days belonged to the Warsaw Pact, the great enemy of the US led Western European NATO [7]

Granted, membership of the EU [8] was the own will of the new European governments and their people and the former Russian occupation and oppression of Eastern Europe was not right at all, but here I am talking, not about Eastern European rights, but the INTENTION of Western Europe.And that was:To weaken what was left of the Russian Empire…..

And we’ve witnessed the desastrous consequences of a world, ruled byone Super Power, the USA.Look at the bloody wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc! [9]

EU, TWO FACED LIAR!
And the EU is a two faced liar anyway!Now, when they can use it against Russia and for their own propaganda,they welcome Ukrainian refugees ‘[10] and don’t get me wrong:I am pleased with the saving of those war-refugees!But when desperate Syrian and Iraqi refugees [in both wars US and the EU took partand committed warcrimes] fled to Poland, via Belarus, EU member Polandbuilt a Wall and pushed the refugees back, letting them freeze and starvein the wintercold…….[11]

With the ”blessing” of the EU…….[12]

HELP ME, PLEASE
I will never forget the sight of an old Ukrainian Lady,who seemed to have nobody to support here, bursting out in tearsand begging to the camera, begging to us:”HELP ME, PLEASE”
That touched me deeply:
I have no sympathy for and nothing to do with leaders of State, whether Russianor US/Western European and their deadly and sick game powers.NO, my sympathy lies with common Ukrainian people, who are thereal victims of the military adventures of powerseeking countriesand rulers:


”When Elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”

How true……..

ASTRID ESSED

SEE FOR NOTES
NOTES1 T/M 12

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De Oekraine Tragedie/Poetin en het Westen/Een Mooi Stel voor de Bokkenwagen!

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.

DE RUSSISCHE PRESIDENT POETIN EN DE OEKRAINSEPRESIDENT ZELENSKY

DE OEKRAINE TRAGEDIE/POETIN EN HET WESTEN/EEN MOOISTEL VOOR DE BOKKENWAGEN!
[Ongecensureerd en voor de vuist weg]

”Als Olifanten vechten, wordt het gras vertrapt”

Afrikaans spreekwoord

POETIN EN HET WESTEN/TWEE VOOR DE BOKKEWAGEN!

[Misschien schrijf ik hier nog meer over, dat merken jullie dan nog wel…..]


Hoewel het er zat aan te komen, ben ik toch wel geschrokkenvan die pure daad van agressie, de Russische aanval op de soevereine StaatOekraine.Ik ben bepaald geen aanhanger van Poetin, die zich in Ruslandaan ernstige mensenrechtenschendingen heeft schuldig gemaakten en in Tsjetsjenie nog erger tekeer gegaan is, net zoals zijn voorgangers

Dat gezegd hebbende echter zijn de VS/NAVO geen haar beter:What about de aanval op Afghanistan, en vooral die op Irak, diein strijd was met het Internationaal Recht?Waren dat dan soms geen soevereine Staten?Zijn daar niet op grote schaal oorlogsmisdaden gepleegd?
Ik steun Poetin zeker niet en ben tegen de verdeling van werelddelenin machtsblokken [Oekraiene voor de Oekraieners], maar vanuit geopoliitiekstandpunt bekeken [niet het mijne natuurlijk] kan ik mij indenken,dat Poetin razend is over het sinds 1989 verstoorde machtsevenwicht inEuropa:Niet vanwege het feit, dat de Russische bezettingstroepen eninvloedssfeer teloor ging in de Oost-Europese landen-dat was volledig terecht-maar omdat de EU/Westen van de gelegenheid gebruik maakte, die landenmassaal in te lijven bij de EU [uiteraard, dat wilden die regeringen zelf ook],ondanks hun beroerde mensenrechtensituatie [toch een voorwaarde voorEU lidmaatschap, een zogenaamd correcte mensenrechtensituatie endemocratie?], waardoor de EU haar invloed ten koste van Ruslandvergrootte, wat de Russissche leiders natuurlijk in het verkeerdekeelgat schoot
En we hebben de rampzalige gevolgen gezien [Irak,Afghanistan, etc]  [2] van hetfeit, dat de wereld nog maar door een  Supermacht werd geregeerd
Maar goed, dat is een kwestie tussen twee machtsblokken [VS/EU en Ruslandmet in kielzog China] waarvoor ik geen van beiden sympathie heb
MIJN sympathie gaat uit naar de VOLKEREN, die de dupe zijnvan die walgelijke machtsspelletjes, die slechts over gas en olie enterritoriumdrift gaan
Hierin gaat mijn sympathie volledig uit naar het Oekraiense volk, dat lijdt enslachtoffer is van dat steekspel tussen Rusland en de EURusland is de agresssor ja, maar de EU, met het bloed van neo kolonialeoorlogen aan haar handen en de nare opstelling jegens vluchtelingen zijn wel de laatsten om naar Poetin als boosdoener te wijzen,want zelf zijn ze geen  haar beter! [3]

Ik zat ooit bij een progressieve organisatie, dieals leuze voerde in dat verzet tegen de kruisraketten:
”Geen nieuwe raketten, Geen oorlog, maar vrede, Weg met de NAVO enhet Warschau pact”
Ook huldig ik een oud Afrikaans spreekwoord:
”Als Olifanten vechten, wordt het gras vertrapt”

Op mijn netvlies was vandaag het beeld van een oude Oekraiense vrouw,die huilend op straat liep, met niemand aan haar zijde, dieuitriep:”Wie helpt mij!”
DAT raakte mij
Met die machthebbers heb ik niets te maken, noch met Poetin, nochde EU en hun vuile spelletjes
Maar met gewone mensen, die van hun oorlogshitserij enmilitaire avonturen slachtoffer worden
””Als Olifanten vechten, wordt het gras vertrapt”

Hoe waar is dat.

Astrid Essed

NOTEN ONDER I, II EN III
I
NOOT 1
RUSLAND EN TSJETJENIE
II

NOOT 2

HERDENKING 11 SEPTEMBER: EENZIJDIGE MORELE

VERONTWAARDIGING/GEEN HAND IN EIGEN BOEZEM

III

NOOT 3

EU MISDADEN

EINDE NOTEN

I

NOOT 1
RUSLAND EN TSJETJENIE

[1]

UITPERS.BEZELFMOORDAANSLAGEN METRO MOSKOU/REACTIEOP JARENLANGE RUSSISCHE VUILE OORLOGASTRID ESSEDMEI 2010

https://www.uitpers.be/zelfmoordaanslagen-metro-moskou-reactie-op-jarenlange-russische-vuile-oorlog/

1 Mei 2010  Astrid Essed

”Twee van zijn neven zijn vermist, twee jaar geleden opgepakt bij een van de vele controleposten van het Russische leger. ‘Bijna iedere Tsjetsjeen heeft zoiets wel meegemaakt. Het Russische leger vecht niet tegen de rebellen, maar tegen de gewone mensen. Op die manier creëren ze kamikaze-commando’s.’

Woorden van de geinterviewde Ali Denijev

Volkskrant

17-2-2002

”OORLOG IN TSJETSJENIË LAAT ZICH NIET VERHULLEN”

http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/article160188.ece/Oorlog_in_Tsjetsjenië_laat_zich_niet_verhullen

INLEIDING:

Op maandag 29-3 hadden in Moskou twee zelfmoordaanslagen plaats, een op het metrostation Loebjanka en de tweede op metrostation Park Koeltoeri.

Hierbij kwamen 40 mensen om het leven.

Evident is, dat dergelijke gerichte aanvallen op burgers de ultieme schending van het fundamentele recht op leven van ieder mens zijn.

Inmiddels is bekend geworden, dat de verantwoordelijkheid is opgeeist door de Tsjetsjeense verzetsleider Dokoe Oemarov, de zogenoemde Emir van de Kaukasus. [1]

De aanslagen zouden een vergelding zijn voor een in het dorp Archty [Ingoesjetie] door Russische troepen veroorzaakt bloedbad onder Tsjetsjeense en Ingoestjeetse burgers. [2]

Ook in het recente verleden hebben aanslagen [3] plaatsgevonden, die te herleiden waren naar het Tsjetsjeense verzet. [4]

Hoewel  vanuit humanitair en internationaalrechtelijk oogpunt geen enkele rechtvaardiging bestaat voor het plegen van aanslagen, is het opvallend, dat door de media weinig tot geen aandacht wordt besteed aan  het jarenlange Russische militaire optreden in de Noord-Kaukasus [Tsjetsjenië en buurlanden], dat inmiddels tienduizenden  burgerslachtoffers heeft geëist.

Een vuile oorlog, die tot vandaag de dag voortgang vindt

DE RUSSISCHE VUILE OORLOG IN TSJETSJENIË

ACHTERGRONDINFORMATIE:

De Tsjetsjeense bevolking is grotendeels islamitisch. Na eeuwenlange Russische overheersing, religieuze vervolging [5], degradatie tot tweederangsburgers en tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog aangedaan onrecht [6] was het Tsjetsjeense nationale gevoel alleen maar sterker geworden. Dit werd nog gestimuleerd tijdens de perestrojka onder president Gorbatsjov, die veel meer religievrijheid toestond, waardoor Moskeen herbouwd konden worden.

Al gauw ontstond dan ook de roep om onafhankelijkheid en het zal geen verbazing wekken, dat de daarop volgende strijd sterke religieus-islamitische componenten vertoonde, gezien de onderdrukking van de religieuze beleving in het verleden.

In de strijd in de negentiger jaren zou daarbij de orthodoxe Islam [de Tsjetsjenen waren door de eeuwen heen voornamelijk soefistisch], een steeds grotere rol gaan spelen [7]

TWEE TSJETSJEENSE OORLOGEN:

Nadat de voormalige Tsjetsjeense luchtmacht generaal, Doedajev [veteraan uit het Russische Rode Leger] in 1991 de onafhankelijkheid van Tsjetsjenië had uitgeroepen en drie Russische couppogingen tegen zijn bewind waren mislukt, viel de toenmalige Russische president Jelstin in 1994 Tsjetsjenië binnen.

Om propagandistische redenen werd genoemd de toenemende uiteraard verwerpelijke discriminatie en achterstelling van de etnisch-Russische inwoners, die tegen onafhankelijkheid waren en uiteindelijk grotendeels wegvluchtten tijdens de oorlog. [8]

Hiermee begon het eerste Russische militaire ingrijpen, dat tot 1996 zou duren

Rusland slaagde er niet in Tsjetsjenië te onderwerpen en in 1996 werd een staakt het vuren getekend. [9]

Uiteraard accepteerde Rusland de onafhankelijkheid van Tsjetsjenië niet en na veel onderlinge Tsjetsjeense twisten [tussen de niet-islamitische president Maschadov en de islamitische vice-president Basajev] viel Rusland in 1999 opnieuw Tsjetsjenië binnen

Directe aanleiding vormt de inval van Basajev en aanhangers in Dagestan. [10]

Ook deze in 2002 officieel beëindigde tweede Tsjetsjeense oorlog onder de toenmalige Russische president Poetin,werd gekenmerkt door grootschalige Russische mensenrechtenschendingen en oorlogsmisdaden, die grotendeels gericht waren tegen de Tsjetsjeense burgerbevolking. Het Tsjetsjeense verzet was eveneens debet aan oorlogsmisdaden als bomaanslagen op Russische burgerdoelen [11] en foltering en executie van krijgsgevangenen.

Hoewel de oorlog officieel is beëindigd, gaan de mensenrechtenschendingen tegen de burgerbevolking echter tot de dag van vandaag door, waaraan naast Russische troepen ook regeringsgezinde Veiligheidsdiensten aan schuldig maken. [12] Als reactie daarop worden de aanslagen van het Tsjetsjeense verzet op Russische burgerdoelen voortgezet, zoals de recente dd 29-3. Honderdduizenden Tsjetsjenen zijn inmiddels het land ontvlucht, grotendeels naar buurland Ingoesjetië. [13]

Vanaf de Tweede Tsjetsjeense oorlog werd door de Russische autoriteiten steeds meer een ”tsjetsjenisering” van het gezag gepromoted. Dit hield in de benoeming van pro-Russische Tsjetsjeense leiders in Staatsfuncties. Ook werd de verantwoordelijkheid voor het neerslaan van het verzet steeds meer bij Tsjetsjeense Veiligheidstroepen gelegd. [14]

In 2003 werd als president, Akhmat Kadyrov aangesteld. Nadat hij in 2004 om het leven kwam bij een bomaanslag, werd aanvankelijk Aloe Alchanov president, waarna deze in 2007 vervangen werd door de zoon van Akhmat Kadyrov, Ramza Kadyrov, tevens leider van de beruchte Veiligheidstroepen. [15]

DE RUSSISCHE VUILE OORLOGEN IN TSJETSJENIË 

INTERNATIONALE RECHTSPRINCIPES BIJ GEWAPENDE CONFLICTEN

Principe 1, Internationaal Humanitair Oorlogsrecht

Verplichting tot humane behandeling van gevangenen

1 – Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives and their moral and physical integrity. They shall in all circumstances be protected and treated humanely without any adverse distinction.


Principe 5, Internationaal Humanitair Oorlogsrecht

Verbod op collectieve straffen en foltering

”5 – Everyone shall be entitled to benefit from fundamental judicial guarantees. No one shall be held responsible for an act he has not committed. No one shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, corporal punishment or cruel or degrading treatment.”

http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/basic-rules-ihl-311288

‘Principe 7, Internationaal Humanitair Oorlogsrecht

Verbod militaire aanvallen op burgers en het verplichte onderscheid tussen combatanten [militairen en strijders] en non-combatanten [burgers].

”7 – Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.

http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/basic-rules-ihl-311288

Deze principes zijn eerder bekrachtigd in de Conventies van Genève en door andere Internationale Rechtsverdragen zoals het Anti-folterverdrag en de Verdragen betr de behandeling van gevangenen. Zij dienen door alle conflictpartijen te worden nageleefd

In de oorlogen in Tsjetsjenië zijn zij echter op grote schaal geschonden door de Russische troepen, met tienduizenden Tsjetsjeense en andere burgerslachtoffers ten gevolge

Ook het Tsjetsjeense verzet heeft zich aan ernstige mensenrechtenschendingen schuldig gemaakt.

A EERSTE TSETSJEENSE OORLOG:

 BOMBARDEMENTEN OP GROZNY

In de Eerste Tsjetsjeense oorlog [1994-1996] vonden grootschalige Russische bombardementen op de Tsjetsjeense hoofdstad Grozny plaats, waarbij geen sprake was van het internationaalrechtelijk verplichte onderscheid tussen combatanten [militairen en strijders] en non-combatanten. Het gevolg was, dat er duizenden Tsjetsjeense burgers om het leven kwamen. Driehonderdduizend Tsjetsjenen sloegen op de vlucht. [16]

HET RUSSISCHE WILDE WESTEN

NIETS IS ONS TE DOL

”SCHOONMAAKOPERATIES” IN TSJETSJEENSE DORPEN

Berucht waren ook de zogenaamde zatjistiki [schoonmaakoperaties], waarbij dorpen werden uitgekamd op zoek naar verzetsstrijders. Hierbij maakten zowel het ”reguliere” Russische leger als Veiligheidstroepen zich schuldig aan mishandelingen, folteringen, buitengerechtelijke executies [executies zonder vorm van proces], plundering en brandstichting. [17]

WILLEKEURIGE ARRESTATIES EN MISHANDELINGEN IN KAMPEN

DE ”STRIJDERSLEEFTIJD”

Ook kwam het regelmatig voor, dat jongens en mannen tussen 15 en 60 jaar louter en alleen vanwege hun leeftijd ‘[‘strijdersleeftijd’]’ werden gearresteerd en weggevoerd naar zogenaamde ”filtratiekampen”, waar mishandelingen, folteringen, buitengerechtelijke executies en ”verdwijningen” [18] aan de orde van de dag waren. Aangezien er geen sprake was van enige bewijsbare arrestatiegrond, was  hier sprake van ”collectieve straffen”, die in strijd zijn met artikel 33, 4e Conventie van Genève. [19]

B TWEEDE TSJETSJEENSE OORLOG

HET TREURSPEL HERHAALT ZICH

Ook bij de Tweede Tsjetsjeense oorlog maakte het Russische leger en Veiligheidstroepen zich schuldig aan een groot aantal mensenrechtenschendingen tegen de burgerbevolking

Intensieve bombardementen en artilleriebeschietingen in steden en dorpen eisten duizenden levens onder de burgerbevolking. Ook weer hier vonden de beruchte ”schoonmaakacties” in dorpen plaats en werden grote aantallen Tsjetsjeense burgers willekeurig gevangengenomen en overgebracht naar ”filtratiekampen, waar martelingen, buitengerechtelijke executies en verdwijningen plaatsvonden. Een berucht kamp, dat samen met andere kampen in een Human Rights Watch rapport beschreven wordt heette kamp Chernokozovo. [20]

Wat betreft die verdwijningen en andere mensenrechtenschendingen, die anno 2010 nog steeds aan de orde zijn in Tsjetsjenië, is Rusland een groot aantal keren gekapitteld door het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens. [21]

HUISVERBRANDINGEN ALS COLLECTIEVE STRAF

Als collectieve straffen waren reeds genoemd de willekeurige arrestaties in dorpen.

Genoemd dient echter ook de huisverbrandingen van mensen, van wie verondersteld wordt, dat hun familieleden wellicht behoren tot het Tsjetsjeens verzet. Deze praktijken hebben al een groot aantal Tsjetsjeense families dakloos gemaakt. [22]

C INGOESJETIE

Ook in Ingoesjetië, waar eenzelfde strijd woedt tussen het Russische leger/  Veiligheidstroepen en aan de andere kant het verzet, worden door Rusland dezelfde praktijken toegepast: Willekeurige arrestaties, verdwijningen, folteringen, buitengerechtelijke executies. [23]

D MENSENRECHTENSCHENDINGEN EN OORLOGSMISDADEN TSJETSJEENS VERZET

Zoals reeds bekend en door mij opgemerkt, heeft het Tsjetsjeens verzet zich in de loop der jaren eveneens schuldig gemaakt aan mensenrechtenschendingen en oorlogsmisdaden. Er is sprake van aanslagen op Russische burgerdoelen, foltering en executies van krijgsgevangenen, aanslagen op en ontvoeringen van bestuursfunctionarissen in dienst van de Tsjetsjeense regering en ontvoeringen. [24]

Hoewel dit grotendeels reactie is op de grootschalige Russische mensenrechtenschendingen, is het, afgezien van de inhumaniteit, geen rechtvaardiging.  

Burgers dienen in een conflict te allen tijde te worden ontzien en krijgsgevangenen humaan behandeld. Bovendien is het volgens het Internationaal Recht niet toegestaan, het ene onrecht te beantwoorden met het andere.

EPILOOG:

Het is evident, dat de recente aanslagen op de metro in Rusland in alle opzichten verwerpelijk zijn. Echter dient nadrukkelijk gesteld te worden, dat een en ander, hoe verwerpelijk ook, de resultante is van jarenlange Russische onderdrukking en ernstige oorlogsmisdaden, die slechts als vuile oorlog tegen de Tsjetsjeense burgerbevolking en die van haar buurlanden kan worden aangeduid.

Hiervoor is helaas veel te weinig media-aandacht.

Zolang het grootschalige Russische geweld doorgaat, zal het verzet, naast de volgens Internationaal Recht gerechtvaardigde militaire aanvallen op het Russische leger, de aanslagen op Russische burgerdoelen continueren. Het is aan de EU, op Rusland politieke druk uit te oefenen, deze vuile oorlog te beëindigen.

(Uitpers nr. 120, 11de jg., mei 2010) 

NOTEN:

[1]

WIKIPEDIA

KAUKASUS EMIRAAT

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaukasus_Emiraat

[2]

DE TIJD

29-3-2010

”EMIRAAT VAN KAUKASUS EIST AANSLAGEN MOSKOU OP”

http://www.tijd.be/nieuws/buitenland/Emiraat_van_Kaukasus_eist_aanslagen_Moskou_op.8899049-439.art

WEBSITE TJSETSJEENS VERZET

31-3-2010

”DOKKA ABU USMAN: MOSCOW METRO ATTACK IS A RETRIBUTION FOR RUSSIAN CRIMES IN THE CAUCASUS”

http://www.kavkaz.tv/eng/content/2010/03/31/11760.shtml

VRANCKX: BLOEDBAD IN INGOESJETIE

VRIJDAG 12 FEBRUARI 2010

http://www.tv-visie.be/inhoud/belgie/vranckx-bloedbad-in-ingoesjetie_35435/

http://www.tv-visie.be/inhoud/belgie/vranckx-bloedbad-in-ingoesjetie_35435/

[3]

Nadrukkelijk dient gesteld te worden, dat van aanslagen alleen sprake is bij militaire aanvallen op burgers, die verboden zijn door het Internationaal Recht

Militaire aanvallen echter op combatanten [militairen en strijders], in casu hier het Russische leger, zijn internationaalrechtelijk gelegitimeerd.

Zie ook Principe 7, Internationaal Humanitair Oorlogsrecht

”…………………………Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.”

http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/basic-rules-ihl-311288

[4]

VERKLARING KAUKASUS EMIRAAT BIJ DE AANSLAG DD 27-11-2009 OP DE NEVSKY EXPRESS

”Caucasian Mujahideen reported successful sabotage operation against the ‘Nevsky Express’

dd 2-12-2009

Bron:

http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2009/12/02/11221.shtml

NOS NIEUWS

”TREINONGELUK RUSLAND WAS AANSLAG”

27-11-2009

http://nos.nl/artikel/100105-treinongeluk-rusland-was-aanslag.html

[5]

Vernietiging van Moskeen en het doden van spirituele leiders tijdens de Sovjet-Unie

” In de tijden van de Sovjet-Unie, waar religie tegen de grondbeginselen van het socialisme inging, werd de islamitische cultuur met grof geweld bestreden. Moskeeën werden vernietigd en de spirituele leiders werden vermoord. ”

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsjetsjeni%C3%AB#De_jaren_negentig

[6]

Etnische zuiveringen in 1944 onder Stalin

De bevolking werd in 1957 gerepatrieerd onder president Chroetsjov

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikita_Chroesjtsjov]

Hun huizen en bezittingen waren echter grotendeels ingenomen door naar Tsjetsjenië verhuisde Russen en de gerepatrieerden werden slachtoffer van grove discriminatie, hetgeen leidde tot grote spanningen tussen de Russen en de autochtone Tsjetsjenen

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsjetsjeni%C3%AB#De_jaren_negentig

Zie ook:

WIKIPEDIA

TSJETJSENIE, DE JAREN NEGENTIG

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsjetsjeni%C3%AB#De_jaren_negentig

[7]

Zie

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsjetsjeni%C3%AB#De_jaren_negentig

[8]

”The non-Chechen population of Ichkeria left the republic due to criminal elements and faced with indifferent government.’

Zie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzhokhar_Dudayev#cite_note-1

”Yet the Russian authorities were not worried at all about the plight of the Russian-speakers, which was included on the list of reasons for the military operation only at the last moment, in the form of a propaganda trick. For years and years no one remembered the Russians, and only when the tanks needed to be rolled in did Moscow start talking about how bad things must be for the “compatriots” in Chechnya. ”

The Prague Watchdog

”Chechya. Forget it”

By Andrei Babitsky

5-1-2010

http://www.watchdog.cz/index.php?show=000000-000024-000004-000019&lang=1

[9]

WEBSITE TSJETSJEENS VERZET

http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/

VOLKSKRANT

25-1-1995

”TSJETSJENIË DREIGT NOORD-IERLAND VAN RUSSISCHE FEDERATIE TE WORDEN.

VAL GROZNY MAAKT GEEN EINDE AAN STRIJD”

http://www.volkskrant.nl/archief_gratis/article627681.ece/Tsjetsjenië_dreigt_Noord-Ierland_van_Russische_federatie_te_worden_Val_Grozny_maakt_geen_einde_aan_strijd

VOLKSKRANT

8-2-1995

”LEGERLEIDING LIJKT VERLIES GROZNY TE AANVAARDEN”

http://www.volkskrant.nl/archief_gratis/article629257.ece/Legerleiding_Tsjetsjenië_lijkt_verlies_Grozny_te_aanvaarden

”Als Rusland in de zomer al zijn aandacht stort op de verkiezingen, zien de rebellen hun kans. Op de avond van de inauguratie van Jeltsin, na zijn verkiezingsoverwinning, voor zijn tweede ambtstermijn, verslaan de rebellen de federale troepen bij Grozny. Met het verlies van Grozny, stuurt Jeltsin de populaire generaal Aleksandr Lebed voor onderhandeling naar Chasavjoert, hier wordt een staakt-het-vuren getekend, waarmee de eerste Tsjetsjeense oorlog ten einde komt. Wat echter niet wil zeggen dat Rusland de onafhankelijkheid van Tsjetsjenië accepteert. Toch werd Tsjetsjenië de facto onafhankelijk.”

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsjetsjeni%C3%AB#De_jaren_negentig

[10]

VOLKSKRANT

17-2-2002

”OORLOG IN TSJETSJENIË LAAT ZICH NIET VERHULLEN”

Zie

http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/article160188.ece/Oorlog_in_Tsjetsjenië_laat_zich_niet_verhullen

”Aangezien Basajev de rechtstreekse confrontatie met Maschadov niet aandurft, besluit hij eerst de islamitische revolutie te ontketenen in de aangrenzende republiek Dagestan, waarna hij hoopt in Tsjetsjenië te worden ontvangen als ware volksheld. Alles loopt echter anders; Basajev en zijn aanhangers worden bij hun invasie van Dagestan in augustus 1999 genadeloos verslagen door de Russen. Niet alleen de islamitische revolutie is hiermee mislukt, maar de gevolgen blijken van grotere aard als voor de tweede keer de Russische troepen naar Tsjetsjenië worden gestuurd.”

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsjetsjeni%C3%AB#De_jaren_negentig

[11]

Aanslagen Tsjetjseens verzet:

Dubrovka Theatergijzeling in Moskou:

”Op 23 october 2002 viel een groep van zwaar bewapende Tsjetsjeense mannen en vrouwen net na de pauze van de Russische musical Nord Ost de zaal van het theater binnen. De aanwezigen dachten aanvankelijk nog dat het in de lucht schieten bij de show hoorde, maar ze werden daarop gedwongen op de grond te gaan liggen. De gijzelnemers van die Theatergijzeling in Moskou eisten de terugtrekking van de Russische troepen.”

Zie

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweede_Tsjetsjeense_Oorlog

Zie ook:

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubrovka-theatergijzeling_in_Moskou

[12]

De zogenaamde Kadyrovstsy, die officieel zijn opgeheven in 2006, maar de facto nog het land controleren en verantwoordelijk zijn voor het leeuwedeel aan mensenrechtenschendingen

Zie

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadyrovtsy

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweede_Tsjetsjeense_Oorlog

[13]

REFUGEES AND DIASPORA

MENSENRECHTENORGANISATIE CHENCHYA ADVOCACY NETWORK

Introduction:
After more than a decade of war and lawlessness, hundreds of thousands of Chechens have left Chechnya and moved to other parts of Russia, the former Soviet Union and other countries. Spontaneous outmigration peaked, not surprisingly, during the bloodiest phases of the two wars, but the overwhelming majority of these internally displaced persons or IDPs went to Ingushetia, other parts of Russia or simply safer locations within Chechnya”
 
Zie

http://www.chechnyaadvocacy.org/refugees.html

[14]

Zie voor Veiligheidstroepen, noot 12

[15]

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achmat_Kadyrov

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_Alchanov

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramzan_Kadyrov

Zie voor Veiligheidstroepen, noot 12

[16]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

TSJETSJENIË:

MENSENRECHTEN GROOTSCHALIG GESCHONDEN

http://www.amnesty.nl/wereldnieuws_artikel/4194

[17]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

TSJETSJENIË:

MENSENRECHTEN GROOTSCHALIG GESCHONDEN

http://www.amnesty.nl/wereldnieuws_artikel/4194

[18]

MENSENRECHTENENCYCLOPEDIE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

”VERDWIJNINGEN”

http://www.amnesty.nl/encyclopedie_lemma/1661

[19]

Artikel 33, 4e Conventie van Geneve

”Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d9b287a42141256739003e636b/6756482d86146898c125641e004aa3c5

[20]

Human Rights Watch

“Welcome to Hell”
Arbitrary Detention, Torture, and Extortion in Chechnya

october 2000

http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2000/russia_chechnya4/

[21]

”In almost all of the 115 rulings, the court concluded that Russia was responsible for extrajudicial executions, torture, and enforced disappearances, and that it had failed to investigate these crimes.”

Human Rights Watch

27-9-2009

”Who will tell me what happened to my son ? ”

http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/09/28/who-will-tell-me-what-happened-my-son-0

[22]

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH RAPPORT

2-7-2009

”WHAT YOUR CHILDREN DO WILL TOUCH UPON YOU”

PUNITIVE HOUSE BURNING IN CHENCHYA

http://www.hrw.org/en/node/84188/section/1

[23]

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH RAPPORT

”AS IF THEY FELL FROM THE SKY”

29-6-2008

http://www.hrw.org/en/node/62157/section/1

[24]

ABUSES BY CHENCHEN FORCES

http://www.hrw.org/legacy/backgrounder/eca/chechnya/unchr-chechnya-03.htm#P124_21535

BRON:

HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN CHECHNYA

Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper to the 59th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights
April 7, 2003

http://www.hrw.org/legacy/backgrounder/eca/chechnya/index.htm

II

NOOT 2

HERDENKING 11 SEPTEMBER: EENZIJDIGE MORELE

VERONTWAARDIGING/GEEN HAND IN EIGEN BOEZEM

[2]

UITPERS.BE

HERDENKING 11 SEPTEMBER: EENZIJDIGE MORELE

VERONTWAARDIGING/GEEN HAND IN EIGEN BOEZEM

ASTRID ESSED

OCTOBER 2010

https://www.uitpers.be/herdenking-11-september-eenzijdige-morele-verontwaardiging-geen-hand-in-eigen-boezem/
1 Oktober 2010  Astrid Essed

“De beschaving van een land valt af te meten aan de wijze, waarop met de tegenstanders wordt omgegaan”.
 
De eenzijdige morele verontwaardiging bij de 11 septemberherdenkingen is zeer stuitend.
Wel een herdenking voor 11 september, terwijl alle door Amerikaanse, Britse en andere troepen gepleegde oorlogsmisdaden in Afghanistan en Irak, waarbij  duizenden burgerslachtoffers zijn gevallen, buiten schot blijven .
 
Om bovendien een verklaring te vinden voor de uiteraard zeer verwerpelijke 11 september aanslagen, moet gekeken worden naar  de historische achtergronden van het Amerikaanse politiek-militaire optreden en het decennialang door de VS gepleegde onrecht. Dat wekt de indruk, alsof Afghaanse en Iraakse burgerslachtoffers minder worden gewogen.
 
COMMENTAAR:
 

Dit jaar, op 11 september, heeft opnieuw de jaarlijkse Amerikaanse herdenking van de 11 septemberaanslagen plaatsgevonden. Het inhumane karakter van deze aanslagen op burgerdoelen [hierbij refereer ik aan de Twin Towers] is zonder meer evident. Opvallend is echter, dat er zelden wordt ingegaan op de oorzaken, die hiertoe geleid hebben, noch zijn er  tot op heden geen harde bewijzen voor de betrokkenheid van de militante organisatie Al Qaeda bij 11 september. Ook wordt er geen onderscheid gemaakt tussen het inhumane karakter van de aanslagen als zodanig en het alleszins legitieme karakter van de doelstellingen van een organisatie als Al Qaeda

ONDERSCHEID TUSSEN GEPLEEGDE DAAD EN  DOELSTELLINGEN: 


Wanneer er sprake is van betrokkenheid van Al Qaeda, waarvan tot nu toe nog steeds de harde bewijzen ontbreken [1], dient te worden gesteld, dat haar doelstellingen niet alleen alleszins redelijk zijn, maar bovendien legitiem. Zo heeft Al Qaeda grote bezwaren tegen de Amerikaanse steun aan de op dat moment 34 jaar durende Israëlische bezetting van de Palestijnse gebieden [2] met daaraan inherent [zoals bij alle bezettingen ter wereld], onderdrukking, vernederingen en ongestraft gepleegde Israëlische schendingen van het Internationaal Humanitair Oorlogsrecht. [3]

Oorlogsmisdrijven dus.

Verder richt[te] Al Qaeda haar pijlen op de aanwezigheid van de Amerikaanse troepen in Saudi-Arabie en de Golfstaten, waardoor de respectievelijke repressieve regimes intact werden en worden gehouden.

In het verlengde van  Al Qaeda worden verzetsorganisaties als Hamas, Hezbollah, Tsjetsjeense militanten en anderen [4] ongenuanceerd als ”terroristisch” aangeduid, met voorbijgaan aan het feit, dat zij volgens het Internationaal Recht het recht hebben, zich te verzetten tegen de legers van de respectievelijke bezettingsmachten. Uiteraard is daarbij iedere aanval op burgers en/of burgerdoelen illegaal en inhumaan. Zelden echter maken de Westerse media er melding van, dat deze organisaties ook regelmatig militaire aanvallen richten tegen het Israëlische of Russische leger.

ACHTERGRONDEN 11 SEPTEMBER:

 Om licht te werpen op de aanslagen van 11 september, zonder ze uiteraard op enige wijze, te vergoelijken, dienen achtergronden bekeken te worden. En die achtergronden zijn vooral gelegen in het politiek-militaire optreden van de VS als Supermacht, vanaf het eind van de Tweede Wereldoorlog.

Inherent aan  de positie van iedere Supermacht [of deze nu de VS, de Sovjet Unie of wellicht in de toekomst China heet] is het op grote schaal domineren van de wereld, op zowel politiek, economisch als militair gebied. Gezien deze machtige positie is het echter voor de slachtoffers van een dergelijke politiek, vrijwel onmogelijk, recht te verkrijgen, wanneer er sprake is van gepleegd onrecht. 

Niet alleen roept dat terecht grote woede op, bovendien heeft iedere bevrijdingsbeweging of organisatie het recht, zich te verdedigen tegen het keer op keer straffeloos begaan onrecht.

Criterium is uiteraard, dat burgers en burgerdoelen onder geen enkele onstandigheid doelwit mogen worden van een militaire aanval. Volgens het Internationaal Humanitair Oorlogsrecht is dat immers verboden en daaraan dienen alle partijen zich aan te houden, zowel [bezettings]legers als militante verzetsorganisaties [5].

Aan de andere kant kan die Supermacht [of over het algemeen het machtige Westen] vrijwel straffeloos [oorlogs] misdrijven plegen, zonder daarvoor daadwerkelijk ter verantwoording te worden geroepen.

Een greep uit de geschiedenis van ongestrafte Amerikaanse oorlogsmisdaden: de atoombombardementen op Hiroshima en Nagasaki, die gezamenlijk aan meer dan 300.000 burgers het leven gekost hebben. Pijnlijk is, dat de Japanse oorlogsmisdadigers wel zijn berecht voor het Tokyo Tribunaal [6] en terecht, maar de Amerikanen [als overwinnaars] buiten schot bleven.

Andere voorbeelden [de rij is lang, dus hieruit ”een keur”] zijn de massale bombardementen op Cambodja en de napalm en Agent Orange bombardementen op Vietnam, de clusterbombardementen op Irak in de Eerste Golfoorlog en de clusterbombardementen tijdens de Kosovo oorlog. Duizenden en nog eens duizenden burgerslachtoffers waren het gevolg.

Ook moet genoemd worden de militaire en politieke steun aan militaire dictaturen zoals in Zuid-Amerika [Chili, Argentinie], de Filippijnen en de steun aan repressieve regimes in de Derde Wereld en het Midden-Oosten [7].

Veel kwaad bloed heeft terecht bij de militanten in het Midden-Oosten gezet de jarenlange steun aan bezettingsmacht Israël. Hiermee zijn de VS in grote mate verantwoordelijk geworden voor het aan de bezette Palestijnse burgerbevolking aangedane leed.

TERRORISME

NIET HET KWAAD, MAAR DE REACTIE OP HET KWAAD

Uit de geschiedenis van het decennialang door de VS gepleegd onrecht, dat zich in het bijzonder toespitste op militaire betrokkenheid in het Midden-Oosten [Eerste Golfoorlog, politieke en militaire steun aan bezettingsmacht Israel, etc], valt dan ook 11 september te verklaren, zonder het in enigerlei opzicht te vergoelijken .

Het ”terrorisme” [militaire aanvallen op burgers dus!] is dan ook niet ”het Kwaad” op zich, maar de reactie op ”het Kwaad”. In casu het politiek-militaire Amerikaanse optreden. Het feit, dat de 11 september aanslagen afkomstig zijn van een of meerdere organisaties uit het Midden-Oosten, hangt uiteraard direct samen met de reeds genoemde VS betrokkenheid aldaar. 

Overigens dient bij door Supermachten gepleegde oorlogsmisdrijven en mensenrechtenschendingen, de even kwalijke rol van de voormalige Sovjet Unie niet vergeten te worden. Een rol, die door erfgenaam en opvolger de Russische Federatie wordt voortgezet in o.a. de vuile oorlog in Tsjetjsenie en buurlanden [8].

WAR ON TERROR

Gesteld kan worden, dat bij het voeren van de zogenaamde ”war on terror’ mensenrechten op grote schaal zijn geschonden, zowel met betrekking tot de door de VS gevoerde oorlogen in Afghanistan en Irak, als betreffende de behandeling van echte of vermeende terreurverdachten

Amnesty International en Human Rights Watch hebben vooral over de behandeling van terreurverdachten, de foltermethodes van de CIA, de geheime CIA gevangenissen en kampen zoals Guantanamo Bay en anderen uitgebreid gedocumenteerd [9].

AANVALLEN OP AFGHANISTAN EN IN DIENS VERLENGDE, OP IRAK:

Bij zowel de aanvallen op Afghanistan en Irak en gedurende de daarop volgende bezettingen, is er sprake geweest van ernstige mensenrechtenschendingen en oorlogsmisdaden. Ik noem de grootschalige bombardementen met clusterbommen, die duizenden burgerslachtoffers hebben gekost. Verder de liquidaties van Taliban en Al Qaeda leiders of activisten, die illegaal zijn volgens het Internationaal Recht. Het gedogen door de VS van door de Noordelijke Alliantie gepleegde oorlogsmisdaden in Afghanistan.

BEHANDELING ECHTE OF VERMEENDE TERREURVERDACHTEN

Berucht is het kamp Guantanamo Bay, waar tot op de dag van vandaag 226 gevangenen vastzitten zonder vorm van proces. Hun ”overbrenging” naar Guantanamo Bay was inhumaan en vernederend [geketend, met kappen over het gezicht], hun ”verblijf” eveneens inhumaan [in kooien en geketend, zodra zij uit hun ”kooi” kwamen]. Nu is komen vast te staan, dat de CIA zich schuldig gemaakt heeft aan een vorm van foltering, waterboarding, waarvoor officieel permissie was gegeven door de voormalige president Bush. Behalve Guantanamo Bay is ook Baghram [in Afghanistan] een berucht kamp.

ANTI-TERREURMAATREGELEN WERELDWIJD

Onder dekking van 11 september zijn onder het mom van ”terrorisme”  door een groot aantal landen anti-terreurmaatregelen genomen, die op zeer gespannen voet met de mensenrechten staan

Niet in de laatste plaats, doordat het begrip ”terroristische misdrijven” zodanig is verruimd, dat daaronder eveneens vreedzaam verzet zou kunnen ressorteren. Zie voor Nederland o.a. de tussen 2004 en de eerste helft van 2007 genomen anti-terreurmaatregelen [10]. Bij deze anti-terreurmaatregelen [zowel in Nederland als internationaal] is er sprake van ernstige beperkingen en schendingen van de rechten van de verdachte [11]. Dit kan leiden tot oneerlijke processen [12].

Daarnaast is er in de loop der tijden sprake geweest van zowel door de VS als West-Europa verrichte uitzettingen van terreurverdachten naar landen en gebieden, waar sprake is van een gerede kans op foltering [13]. Dit is verboden volgens het Anti-folterverdrag, nog los van de aperte inhumaniteit [14].

EPILOOG

Samenvattend kan gesteld worden, dat om een verklaring te vinden voor 11 september, de historische achtergronden van het Amerikaanse politiek-militaire optreden en het door de VS gepleegde onrecht, nadrukkelijk moeten worden meegenomen .

Ook de selectieve verontwaardiging is zeer stuitend. Wel een herdenking voor 11 september, terwijl alle door Amerikaanse, Britse en andere troepen gepleegde oorlogsmisdaden in Afghanistan en Irak, waarbij in het geheel duizenden burgerslachtoffers zijn gevallen, buiten schot blijven. Dat wekt, afgezien van de morele ongeloofwaardigheid, de indruk, alsof Afghaanse en Iraakse burgerslachtoffers minder worden gewogen.

Terecht zet dat kwaad bloed en verscherpt dat de tegenstellingen in deze wereld, al weet president Obama er een schoonklinkende, maar in feite niet fundamenteel andere, draai aan te geven [15]. De enige weg naar vrede is het herstel van de gerechtigheid. Naast de onmiddellijke beëindiging van de Israëlische bezetting in de Palestijnse gebieden, die nog expliciet door de VS en impliciet door de EU wordt gesteund, dient er een eind gemaakt te worden aan de Amerikaanse bezettingen in Afghanistan en Irak.

Daarnaast dienen door de VS, Groot-Brittannië en andere landen gepleegde oorlogsmisdrijven [en uiteraard ook die van militanten als de Taliban] vervolgd en berecht te worden. Problemen als uitbuiting en armoede, waarvan het Westen en de in het Midden-Oosten aanwezige elites profiteren, dienen te worden aangepakt. Uiteraard geldt dit mondiaal [voor de gehele Derde Wereld]. Gebeurt dat niet en laat men het onrecht in stand, dan zal de zaak verder escaleren en is een tweede 11 september niet uitgesloten

(Uitpers nr. 124, 12de jg., oktober 2010)

Voetnoten:

[1] ”Als directe aanleiding tot de aanval is aangevoerd de echte of vermeende betrokkenheid van Osama bin Laden bij de WTC aanslagen en de mede-betrokkenheid van de Taliban-regering in Afghanistan. Opvallend echter is het feit, dat er  tot op heden geen op harde feiten gebaseerd aantoonbaar bewijs is geleverd is voor een eventuele betrokkenheid van Osama bin Laden, laat staan de Taliban-regering.
……..
………
 
Deze indruk werd nog bevestigd door de stelselmatige weigering van de toenmalige Nederlandse premier Kok, zowel aan het Parlement als de fractievoorzitters van de grote partijen inzage te geven in het aan de NAVO-ministers overhandigde Amerikaanse bewijsmateriaal.”
 
BRON
UITPERS
ASTRID ESSED
MAART 2008
NEDERLANDSE MILITAIRE DEELNAME IN AFGHANISTAN/WEDEROPBOUWMISSIE OF BEZETTINGSMACHT
 
https://www.uitpers.be/artikel_view.php?id=1943
 
[2] ISRAELISCHE BEZETTING VAN DE PALESTIJNSE GEBIEDEN:
 
”Zoals bekend is er nu reeds sprake van een bijna 42 jaar durende bezetting van de Palestijnse gebieden [de Westelijke Jordaanoever, Oost-Jeruzalem en Gaza [5], ondanks de in 1967 aangenomen VN Veiligheidsraadsresolutie 242, die Israël opriep, zich terug te trekken uit de in de juni-oorlog veroverde gebieden, waaronder de Palestijnse.

Iedere bezetting ter wereld [dus ook de Israëlische] kent onderdrukking, vernederingen, mensenrechtenschendingen en oorlogsmisdaden. Daarop is terecht Palestijns verzet gekomen, in de vorm van internatioaalrechtelijk gelegitimeerde militaire aanvallen op het Israëlische bezettingsleger en illegale en illegale militaire [zelfmoord] aanvallen op Israëlische burgers en burgerdoelen [6].

 
UITPERS
JUNI 2009
ASTRID ESSED
DURBAN II/COMMENTAAR OP WESTERSE HOUDING NAV REDEVOERING PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD
 
https://www.uitpers.be/artikel_view.php?id=2378
 
 
[3] ”7 – Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.
 
BASIC RULES OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW IN ARMED CONFLICTS
 
http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/basic-rules-ihl-311288
 
 
[4] UITPERS
JULI-AUGUSTUS 2006
ASTRID ESSED
HAMAS, VAN ISLAMITISCHE REVEILBEWEGING TOT PALESTIJNSE REGERING
 
https://www.uitpers.be/artikel_view.php?id=1384
 
EKUDOS
ASTRID ESSED
ZELFMOORDAANSLAGEN METRO MOSKOU: VERWERPELIJK, MAAR REACTIE OP RUSSISCHE VUILE OORLOG
 
http://www.ekudos.nl/artikel/241586/zelfmoordaanslagen_metro_moskou_verwerpelijk_maar_reactie_op_russische_vuile_oorlog_
 
 [5] INTERNATIONAAL HUMANITAIR OORLOGSRECHT
 
”7 – Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to
spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the
object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.
 
BASIC RULES OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW IN ARMED CONFLICTS
 
http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/basic-rules-ihl-311288
 
[6] WIKIPEDIA
 
HET TOKYO TRIBUNAAL
 
”The defense argued that Allied Powers’ violations of international law, including the atomic bombings of Japan, should be examined. The tribunal ignored this argument and thus left the door open for later criticism that the trials had merely carried out “victors’ justice.”
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Military_Tribunal_for_the_Far_East
 
Zie ook:

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proces_van_Tokio
 
 
[7] 11 september/Oorzaken
”In die positie heeft de VS evenals de voormalige Sovjet-Unie zich schuldig gemaakt aan ernstige mensenrechtenschendingen en oorlogsmisdaden, o.a. in de Korea- en Vietnam-oorlog, de massale bombardementen op Cambodja in 1970, de bombardementen op Servië dd 1999 en de twee Golfoorlogen en de oorlog met Afghanistan, met als gevolg tienduizenden burgerdoden. [3]

Een ander ernstig aan de VS te verwijten aspect is de structurele voormalige steun aan Zuid-Amerikaanse dictaturen zoals o.a. het voormalige Cuba onder dictator Batista, het Argentijnse regime onder Videla, gekenmerkt door de vele verdwijningen, en Nicaragua onder dictator Somoza. Ook heeft de VS reeds voor WO II een reputatie opgebouwd in militaire interventies ten gunste van plaatselijke dictatoren in Zuid-Amerika. ”

UITPERS
JULI-AUGUSTUS 2009
ASTRID ESSED
OBAMA REDEVOERING IN CAIRO/SCHOONKLINKEND, MAAR GEBREK AAN FUNDAMENTEEL RESPECT VOOR HET INTERNATIONAAL RECHT EN HUMANITAIRE WAARDEN
 
https://www.uitpers.be/artikel_view.php?id=2433

[8] EKUDOS
ASTRID ESSED
ZELFMOORDAANSLAGEN METRO MOSKOU: VERWERPELIJK, MAAR REACTIE OP RUSSISCHE VUILE OORLOG
 
http://www.ekudos.nl/artikel/241586/zelfmoordaanslagen_metro_moskou_verwerpelijk_maar_reactie_op_russische_vuile_oorlog_
 
 
[9] ZIE VOOR DOCUMENTATIE OVER WAR ON TERROR EN ANTI-TERRORPOLICY
 
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH [COUNTERTERRORISM]
 
http://www.hrw.org/en/category/topic/counterterrorism
 
US
CIA REPORT SHOWS NEED FOR INVESTIGATION OF TORTURE AND ABUSE
 
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/08/24/us-cia-report-shows-need-investigation-torture-and-abuse
 
USA
INVESTIGATE THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR AUTHORIZING TORTURE
 
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/04/16/us-investigate-those-responsible-authorizing-torture
 
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR TORTURE
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
 
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/05/13/accountability-torture
 
GHOST PRISONER
TWO YEARS IN SECRET CIA DETENTION
 
http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2007/02/26/ghost-prisoner
 
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
 
http://www.amnesty.org/en/campaigns/counter-terror-with-justice
 
[10] EJURE
ANTI-TERREURMAATREGELEN NEDERLANDSE OVERHEID VANAF 2004 T/M EERSTE HELFT 2007
ASTRID ESSED
 
http://www.ejure.nl/page=5/articles/dossier_id=69/id=256/show.html
 
 
[11] EJURE
ANTI-TERREURMAATREGELEN NEDERLANDSE OVERHEID VANAF 2004 T/M EERSTE HELFT 2007
ASTRID ESSED
 
http://www.ejure.nl/page=5/articles/dossier_id=69/id=256/show.html
 
B BOHLER: CRISIS IN DE RECHTSSTAAT. UITGEVERIJ DE ARBEIDERSPERS
AMSTERDAM 2004
 
[12] UITPERS
JANUARI 2007
ASTRID ESSED
HET PIRANHA PROCES TAV SAMIR A EN MEDEVERDACHTEN
 
https://www.uitpers.be/artikel_view.php?id=1539
 
[13] UITZETTING TERREURVERDACHTEN NAAR LANDEN OF GEBIEDEN MET EEN FOLTERINGSRISICO
 
RAPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
”STILL AT RISK”
 
http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2005/04/14/still-risk
 
[14] ARTIKEL 3, ANTI FOLTERVERDRAG
 
Article 3
1. No State Party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
 
 
http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/h2catoc.htm
 
[15] UITPERS
JULI-AUGUSTUS 2009
ASTRID ESSED
OBAMA REDEVOERING IN CAIRO/SCHOONKLINKEND, MAAR GEBREK AAN FUNDAMENTEEL RESPECT VOOR HET INTERNATIONAAL RECHT EN HUMANITAIRE WAARDEN
 
https://www.uitpers.be/artikel_view.php?id=2433

EINDE ARTIKEL

III

NOOT 3

EU MISDADEN

[3]

AAN DE GRENS TUSSEN WIT-RUSLAND EN

POLEN/DE EU IN HAAR NAAKTE ONMENSELIJKHEID

ASTRID ESSED

27 NOVEMBER 2021

ZIE OOK

HUMANITAIRE CRISIS POLEN/WIT RUSLAND EN DE

EU ONMENSELIJKHEID/VERVOLG

ASTRID ESSED

30 NOVEMBER 2020

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor De Oekraine Tragedie/Poetin en het Westen/Een Mooi Stel voor de Bokkenwagen!

Opgeslagen onder Divers

[Artikel Peter Storm]/Tegen Russische agressie en imperialistische oorlog, voor solidaire vrijheid wereldwijd

TEGEN RUSSISCHE AGRESSIE EN IMPERIALISTISCHE OORLOG,VOOR SOLIDAIRE VRIJHEID WERELDWIJD
WEBSITE PETER STORM
https://www.peterstormt.nl/2022/02/24/tegen-russische-agressie-en-imperialistische-oorlog-voor-solidaire-vrijheid-wereldwijd/

donderdag 24 februari 2022

Het is duidelijk: de Russische president Poetin heeft een aanvalsoorlog gelanceerd tegen Oekraïne. Hij verpakt het als een militaire operatie in Donbass, het gebied waarin de twee eerder deze week door Rusland erkende republieken Donets en Loekansk liggen. Explosies in Kiev en Kharkov suggereren iets voor omvangrijkers. Komende uren zal meer duidelijk worden. Maar met enkele observaties, in haast ingetikt, wil ik niet langer meer wachten.

Dit is een agressie-oorlog, een aanval die totaal, volledig en zonder voorbehoud dient te worden afgewezen. Wat ook de context is, Poetin, zijn militaire apparaat en zijn veiligheidsfunctionarissen kozen hiervoor. Er zijn verklaringen voor zijn keus. Maar er is geen enkele rechtvaardiging of excuus voor. Hoezeer ik als anarchist de Oekraïense staat, het Westerse NAVO-bondgenootschap en de VS als imperialistische chef van dat bondgenootschap en de Nederlandse rol als lid van dat bondgenootschap en als wapenleverancier ook net zozeer afwijs als de Russische staat, het verandert niets aan deze zaak. Rusland lanceert een aanvalsoorlog, en dat is een misdaad. Die hoort niet onbeantwoord te blijven. De vraag is alleen hoe, en door wie.

Officiële Westerse kritiek op die aanvalsoorlog is natuurlijk hypocrisie. De VS als kampioen aanvalsoorlogen – Libië, tweemaal Irak, Afghanistan, om een paar recente te noemen – heeft geen enkel recht van spreken. Als VS-president Biden klaagt over Poetin die zomaar grenzen in Europa wijzigt, foet toch, dan grinnik ik cynisch. VS-luchtaanvallen dwongen in 1999 een grenswijziging af toen Kosovo zich onafhankelijk verklaarde van Joegoslavië en daarmee een landgrens trok waar die niet bestond. De huidige kritiek op Poetins misdaden is uit monden van vergelijkbare criminelen op geen enkele manier geloofwaardig.

Poetin rechtvaardigt zijn agressie door te wijzen op de uitbreiding van de NAVO tot dicht bij de Russische grenzen. En inderdaad. In 1990 liep de grens van het bondgenootschap dwars door Duitsland. Inmiddels zijn Polen, Roemenië, Bulgarije, Tsjechië, Slowakije, Litouwen, Letland en Estland – allemaal landen die aan de vroegere Sovjet-Unie grensden of er zelfs deel van uitmaakten – NAVO lid. Daarmee is niet de vrede en de democratie gediend, maar vooral de machtspositie van de VS, en tevens de Amerikaanse wapenindustrie, want die nieuwe NAVO-landen werden vervolgens kersverse klanten van die industrie. De uitbreiding van de NAVO was en is een verwerpelijk imperialistisch project.

Maar voordat we Poetin op dit punt gelijk geven, even een vraag. Waarom waren al deze landen zo bereid om NAVO-lid te worden? Waarom dromen mensen in Oekraïne – en zeker niet alleen cynische generaals en rechts-liberale politici en zakenlieden in dat land – ervan dat ook dat land ooit NAVO-lid te worden? Zou dat misschien te maken hebben met een door Russische overheersing vele decennia lang aangewakkerde angst voor Rusland, en behoefte aan bescherming tegen die imperialistische mogendheid? Ik wijs het imperialistische project van NAVO-uitbreiding, geregisseerd door vooral de presidentschappen van Clinton en Obama,volledig af. Maar ik snap wel heel goed dat NAVO-lidmaatschap er, in de ogen van regeringen maar vooral ook bevolkingen van Oost-Europese landen, uitzag als een bescherming tegen een Rusland dat haar hegemonie over die landen met tegenzin had prijsgegeven en in die landen helemaal niet werd vertrouwd.

Ook is de timing een beetje merkwaardig. Polen werd al in 1999 NAVO-lid, net als Tsjechië en Hongarije. Roemenië, Bulgarije, Slowakije en de Baltische staten volgden in 2004.(1) Dat waren de laatste aan Rusland of de vroegere Sovjet-Unie grenzende landen die toetraden. Oekraïne zou wel willen, maar voor dat land is lidmaatschap op korte termijn niet aan de orde. Het oprukken van de NAVO-omvang in Oostwaartse richting ligt sinds 2004 zo goed als stil. Die NAVO-uitbreiding zelf – verwerpelijk als die is – is een excuus voor Russische agressie. Niet de reden, en al helemaal niet de actuele aanleiding. Anders had Poetin niet 18 jaar gewacht.

Poetin presenteert Oekraïne als een kunstmatig land dat eigenlijk gewoon bij Rusland hoort, maar waar nu Oekraïense nationalisten waaronder neonazi’s de dienst uit maken, de samenleving terroriseren en een extreem anti-Russische houding propageren en praktiseren. Het Oekraïense nationalisme is een feit, en dat nationalisme kent een nare, gewapende en vreeswekkend invloedrijke nazi-vleugel. Dat klopt. Maar voor we Poetin gelijk geven in zijn kruistocht tegen dit nationalisme en fascisme, eventjes een historische observatie, geformuleerd als vraag.

Waarom zou het zijn dat mensen in Oekraïne een zo fel nationaal zelfbewustzijn hebben ontwikkeld dat zich tegen Rusland – en helaas ook vaak tegen Russen – keert? Zou dat misschien in de hand gewerkt zijn door het feit dat Oekraïne in het Russische Tsarenrijk voor 1917 als kolonie werd behandeld en zeer scherp werd onderdrukt? Zou het misschien te maken kunnen hebben met het feit dat die koloniale onderdrukking door het als Sovjet-Unie gereïncarneerde Russische rijk is hervat, waarbij de Stalinistische orde met terreur en met kunstmatig opgewekte hongersnood in de jaren dertig, bekend geworden als de Holomodor, is afgedwongen? Kernmotivatie achter het Oekraïense nationalisme is anti-koloniaal besef! Dat mensen in Oekraïne Russische heerschappij afwezen en afwijzen, was en is volstrekt legitiem, ook als we datgene wat er na de ondergang van de Sovjet-Unie in 1991 voor in de plaats kwam – een Oekraïense staat gedomineerd door corrupte zakenlieden, geregeerd door hard rechtse politici en met een griezelige invloed van gewapende fascisten – terecht verafschuwen.

Dat dit Oekraïne nationalisme vaak zo’n extreem-rechtse draai kreeg, heeft te maken met het feit dat de koloniale onderdrukker zich als links, als communistisch, presenteerde. Wie tegen dat imperialisme in roodgevlagde hamer-en-sikkel-verpakking opkwam, zal des te makkelijker bij anticommunistisch rechts uitkomen – tenzij er een authentiek links te vinden is dat voor zelfbeschikking en tegen kolonialisme – het Westerse en het Russische – opkwam. De stalinistische machthebbers en hun voorlopers Lenin en Trotski hadden aan dat soort links hardhandig een eind gemaakt, al ontbraken in de begintijd van de revolutie welluidende frasen over zelfbeschikking niet in de retoriek van vooral Lenin. Die meende hij vast, maar de opbouw van de centrale staat had wel voorrang, en daarvoor moest bij hem wel alles wijken.

Dat sommige Oekraïense nationalisten in de jaren veertig van de twintigste eeuw zelfs Hitler als bondgenoot begroetten tegen Stalin – andere bondgenoten vielen vooral op door onzichtbaarheid – , is een misdadige keus, maar is tegen deze achtergrond verklaarbaar. Het Oekraïense nationalisme en haar vaak extreem-rechtse uitdrukking verdient geen enkele erkenning of steun. De er onder liggende drang om vrij te zijn van Russische koloniale overheersing verdient die steun wel degelijk. Alleen wie die aandrang erkent als legitiem, maakt enige kans om mensen ervan te overtuigen dat er betere wegen zijn richting antikoloniale vrijheid dan het pad naar nationale haat van Oekraïners tegen Russen. Een nationale haat die nu, met de Russische invasie, weer hoger zal oplaaien, maar dat heeft Poetin dan vooral aan zichzelf te wijten.

Als Poetin zijn huidige agressie presenteert als antifascistische strijd, dan berust dat op manipulatie van de geschiedenis waarvan ik hierboven enkele kernpunten schetste. Als Poetin zijn huidige aanval presenteert als antwoord op NAVO-agressie, dan manipuleert hij de boel dus ook. Maar achter al die manipulatie gaat zijn echte angst schuil: de angst voor machtsverlies. Poetin is bang de macht kwijt te raken, niet aan een oprukkend Westers bondgenootschap en ook niet aan nazi-horden in Kiev. Hij vreest boven alles de Russische bevolking zelf. De reden dat hij de greep over aan Rusland grenzende landen terug wil – en de NAVO er dus uit – ligt vooral daar. In veel van die landen heerst een stuk meer vrijheid dan in Rusland. Veel van die vrijheid is tot stand gekomen via protestbewegingen, opstanden en – in beperkte zijn – zelfs revoluties. In Oekraïne zelf verdreef een maandenlange protestbeweging in 2013-2014 ene pro-Russische en autoritair besturende president. In Belarus ging het in 2020 maandenlang diezelfde kant op nadat Loekasjenko de presidentsverkiezingen via bedrog en repressie naar zich toetrok. In Rusland zelf vonden in 2011 grote protesten plaats tegen Poetin en diens frauduleuze verkiezingswinst.

Russische heersers zijn als de dood voor dit soort bewegingen. Ze schrijven die toe aan Westerse geheime diensten en noemen het ‘kleurenrevoluties’ of doodgewoon staatsgrepen. Ze kunnen en willen niet erkennen dat die opstanden gedragen worden door authentiek boze mensen die geen corruptie willen, meer vrijheid en een dagelijks leven waarin boodschappen een beetje te betalen zijn. En ja, veel van deze mensen kijken naar het Westen en hebben de indruk dat het leven daar minder akelig is, en vrijer. Of die indruk klopt, doet er hier niet toe: het is wat mensen geloven, en wat hun pro-Westerse sympathieën in de hand werkt. Zo ontstonden dus revoluties van mensen maar al te vaak – en ten onrechte! – die Westerse regeringen, EU en zelfs NAVO als vrienden beschouwden. Dit type van omwentelingen was aanstekelijk, en Poetin zag de bui hangen dat de besmetting over zou slaan naar Rusland zelf. Ja, de Oekraïense staat is corrupt en biedt fascisten veel te veel speelruimte. De Oekraïense staat is echter ook liberaal-democratisch van opzet, en bestuurt een maatschappij met veel ruimere politieke en culturele vrijheden dan de Russische staat tolereert. Die vrijheden zijn overigens niet aan die staat te danken, maar bevochten door mensen zelf. Voor veel andere Oost-Europese landen geldt iets dergelijks: ze steken qua vrijheid bepaald gunstig af bij het Rusland van Poetin. De Russische president heeft goede reden om van die vrijheid niets goeds te verwachten, vooral niet als de drang naar die vrijheid in Rusland zelf weer eens op zich heen grijpt.

De oorlog die Poetin nu tegen Oekraïne lanceert is, naast een rancuneuze strafexpeditie tegen een land dat gene orders uit Moskou aanvaardt, ook een strijd tegen precies dat soort vrijheid, een preventieve contrarevolutionaire oorlog dus. Mensen in Oekraïne die zich van een wapen voorzien en zich op de strijd tegen de Russische invasie voorbereiden, doen dat deels uit verwerpelijk nationalisme en uit loyaliteit aan Oekraïne als staat en natie. Zo’n loyaliteit is inherent contrarevolutionair en verkeerd: staat en natie zijn vijand van vrijheid en van grensdoorbrekende solidariteit. Maar deze mensen vechten tegelijk ook tegen Rusland omdat ze weten dat een succesvolle bezetting door Poetins gewapende macht, het beetje vrijheid dat er in Oekraïne bestaat gewelddadig dreigt af te schaffen. Oekraïens verzet tegen de Russische invasie heeft dan ook een dimensie van een werkelijke vrijheidsstrijd.

De tragiek is dat dit niet de enige dimensie is. Waar de strijd tegen de Russische inval geleid en aangestuurd wordt door de Oekraïense staat, daar is de vrijheidsstrijd bij voorbaat ingekapseld in een nationalistisch en autoritair project. Elk succes van de strijd komt dan niet de vrijheid, maar die staat en haar heersers ten goede. En we weten hoe staten zich gedragen als ze oorlogen voeren: die behandelen kritiek als verraad, treffen zelfstandige geluiden met censuur, disciplineren de bevolking en militariseren de maatschappij, in dienst van de staat en de machthebbers. Zelfs als ze de Russische inval dan afslaat, dan zal er van de vrijheid al snel zo goed als niets meer over zijn. Een werkelijk vrijheidslievend gewapend verzet tegen de Russische invasie heeft slechts perspectief als partizanenstrijd, niet ondergeschikt aan het Oekraïense militaire apparaat maar autonoom, en in verbondenheid met andere strijdvormen, van staking tot en met sabotage. Je kunt de Russische inval bestrijden zonder tegelijk automatisch de Oekraïense staat te versterken en te verdedigen. Het gaat dan niet om Oekraïne. Het gaat om vrijheid en vrijheid en een solidariteit die van geen enkele staat iets goeds heeft te verwachten.

In de vrijheidsstrijd is Rusland de directe tegenstander, maar de Oekraïense staat dus geen bondgenoot. Evenmin bondgenoten zijn de NAVO-staten, de VS voorop. Elke bemoeienis met de Oekraïense oorlog uit die hoek is funest. Oorlogsdeelname zal het bloedvergieten eerder uitbreiden dan stoppen. En zelfs als Oekraïne met NAVO-hulp Rusland zou weten te verslaan, dan nog zou daar niet de bevolking, maar de Oekraïense machthebbers daar de vruchten van plukken – en de Westerse multinationals die van een door de NAVO uitgebreide Westerse invloedssfeer maar wat graag zullen willen profiteren. Oekraïne via een NAVO-oorlog overhevelen naar Westerse invloedssferen, betekent Oekraïne behandelen als wingewest en leverancier van goedkope arbeid. Elk pleidooi aan Westerse regeringen om ‘iets te doen’ tegen de Russische agressie, is een bijdrage aan precies dit koloniale project, waarmee Oekraïense mensen in feite gewoon van de ene opperheer verlost worden om aan een andere opperheer te worden uitgeleverd.

Voor vrijheidslievende mensen in Oekraïne, voor anarchisten aldaar, is de situatie nu beklemmend en complex. Strijden tegen de Russische invasie, maar zonder daarbij zich te verbinden tegen nationalisten en een staatsmacht die ook tegen die invasie vecht maar waar anarchisten tegelijk maar beter maximale afstand van kunnen houden, want het zijn net zo goed vijanden van de vrijheid als de Russische bezetters in aantocht. Voor anarchisten in Rusland zelf ligt het minder ingewikkeld, maar niet perse minder riskant. Daar is de keus helder: tegen de agressie die door ‘eigen’ land wordt bedreven.(2) Iets dergelijks geldt in Belarus, een staat vanwaar Russische troepen, met goedvinden van de Belarussische heersers, klaarstaan om Oekraïne aan te vallen: nee tegen die Russische troepen, en tegend e medewerking die Belarus aan de agressie verleent!(3)

En wat is de rol van vrijheidslievende mensen, van anarchisten, in een land als Nederland? In de eerste plaats: steun betuigen en ruchtbaarheid geven aan mensen in Rusland, Oekraïne, Belarus die tegen de stroom van oorlog en nationalisme in gaan en een strijd tegen oorlog en bezetting proberen te voeren zonder zich daarbij op nationalisme, militarisme en staatsmacht te beroepen. In de tweede plaats: de hypocrisie hekelen van de ‘eigen’ regering met haar praatjes over non-agressie en democratie. In de derde plaats: elke stap naar verdere escalatie, elke oorlogsdeelname, zo hinderlijk mogelijk voor de voeten lopen. Als Nederland aan de oorlog zou deelnemen, doet het dat voor geldelijk gewin, om haar plekje in de imperialistische rangorde te bewaken, uit prestige-overwegingen, en altijd in dienst van kapitaal en staat, en daarmee van de vijand die dagelijks tegenover ons staat. De vrijheid van mensen daar in Oekraïne is niet gediend met oorlogsdeelname door een Nederlandse regering die onder vrijheid vooral ondernemersvrijheid verstaat en over de grenzen heen vooral als zaakwaarnemer voor die ondernemers optreedt. Een echte vrijheidsstrijd ziet ook Nederlandse regeerders en ondernemers als de vijanden van werkelijke vrijheid in solidariteit die het zijn.

Protest en vrijheidsstrijd tegen Russische bezetters? Ja! Oorlog onder het mom van zo’n vrijheidsstrijd? Nee. De enige oorlog die het verdient om gevochten te worden, is de strijd tegen staat en kapitaal, antinationaal en universeel. Als onderdeel van die oorlog heeft de Oekraïense vrijheidsstrijd perspectief. Als onderdeel van een imperialistische strijd tussen kapitalistische machtsblokken en imperialistische mogendheden is die vrijheidsstrijd een kansloos bloedig aanhangsel. Weg met de Russische inval en bezetting! Maar ook: weg met de roep op een Westers militair of anderszins machtspolitiek antwoord! Oorlog tegen de oorlogen van staat en kapitaal! En: laten we ons voorbereiden om de vluchtelingen te verwelkomen die voor deze oorlog de wijk nemen. Dat is de solidariteit die we nu nodig hebben.

Noten:

1 ‘The Ukraine-Russia crisis explained: a compete visual guide’, The Guardian, 23 februari 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/23/the-ukraine-russia-crisis-explained-a-complete-visual-guide

2 Zie bijvoorbeeld: “Against Annexations and Imperial a Aggression – A Statement from Russian Anarchistst against Russian Aggression in Ukraine’, CrimethInc., 22 februari 2022, https://nl.crimethinc.com/2022/02/22/against-annexations-and-imperial-aggression-a-statement-from-russian-anarchists-against-russian-aggression-in-ukraine

3 Zie ‘Soldier – the enemy is in Minsk, not Kiev!’ Pramen, 21 februari 2022, https://pramen.io/en/2022/02/soldier-the-enemy-is-in-minsk-not-kiev/

Peter Storm

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor [Artikel Peter Storm]/Tegen Russische agressie en imperialistische oorlog, voor solidaire vrijheid wereldwijd

Opgeslagen onder Divers

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

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Refugees in Borderland/December 2021

Magi voederbak blauwe silhouet Stockvector

Magi voederbak blau

Magi voederbak blau

REFUGEES IN BORDERLAND/DECEMBER 2021
NIGHT OF HORROR, NIGHT OF HOPE

In this Night they leave, in search for a Safe Place,not knowing where the journey ends.For they are threathened by death by a merciless dictator,while they only wanted to spread Love and Peace.Which dictators don’t like.

The journey is heavy, through cold and heat, with only a donkey toaccompany them and to ride onWith a precious Newborn Child and  another on the way.
They are lucky to find a Safe Place.And when the Danger is over, they return to their country, in safety……It was heavy, but they are Safe.
And in the Horror, they discovered, how strong they were
They were lucky, it all went well

But not everybody is so lucky……
We saw it, this year.Caught between the sick Games of politicians, a group ofpeople ended up in the borderland between Belarus [White Russia]and Poland, and neither Belarus, nor Poland-EU did care a damnedthing about those people, using them for Power Games. 
Some of them got sick, many died.Yet the Belarus dictator Loeasjenko showed more humanitythen Poland/EU. offering them some warm shelter for whoeverwanted to make use of it.
The only thing Poland and EU offered was more military, pushbacks,fences and laws that made it easy for Poland to refuse asylum….
BUT THERE WAS A LIGHT!NOT from politicians, but common people
People like you and me…..
They kept it out of the news, but there were common Polish people,who wanted to help!
So there was an old Polish woman, who made soup for the refugees!And unknown Polish people, who put a candle for their window to showthe refugees a Light in the Darkness.
Those people are not mentioned by the media, but they exist!They are not mentioned by history, but I know them.THE REFUGEES know them!
I don’t know how the refugees fare now, in this Christmas Night, but thisNight I think of them!

While centuries ago, Jozef and Maria, were helped byhospitable Egyptians, when a cruel king dictator wanted to kill the Child, those refugees get a Sign of Hope and Light fromcommon Polish people, people like you and me, who have no Powerin this World, but do something which is worth more than allthe screaming and criminal politicians, who treat the refugees like Dirt

They give Hope to people in need!

HOW FARE THOSE TRAPPED REFUGEES NOW, IN THE BITTER COLD?I don’t know.
I can’t do anything for them, but I can think of them and write about them.It will not reach them, but I believe that everything that is written, and every thought comes somewhere.Meets someone.
If there is only ONE PERSON, who, by reading this, thinks of those people,then I have reached my goal.
Let’s realize that Christmas is not the Feast of Eating and presents[however jolly that is, I enjoy it too], but to give Light in the Darkness
By thinking of those refugees and all the refugees in this world,you give them Hope.
Thank you
I wish you a Very Happy and Blessed Christmas and Health and Happiness in 2022!

ASTRID ESSED


ASTRID ESSED

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Vluchtelingen in een Grensgebied/December 2021

Magi voederbak blauwe silhouet StockvectorMagi voederbak blau

VLUCHTELINGEN IN EEN GRENSGEBIED/DECEMBER 2021

Vannacht gaan ze weer op reis, op zoek naar een veilige Plek,onzeker waar ze zullen belandenWant ze worden met de dood bedreigd door een dictator, terwijl ze alleenmaar een Boodschap van Licht, Vrede en Gelijkheid wilden brengen.Maar ja, daar houden dictatoren niet van
De tocht is zwaar, door kou, door hitte, op gebrekkige vervoersmiddelen,met een Kind en misschien een onderweg.Ze hebben geluk.Ze vinden een Heenkomen
En als het Gevaar geweken is, gaan ze terug.
Het is een heftige Reis, niet alleen op weg naar veiligheid, maar ookeen Zielereis.Want wie moet vluchten, laat een stuk van zichzelf achter, moet aannieuwe zekerheden en onzekerheden wennen en leert dan pas zichzelfkennen in kracht en zwakte.
Ze hebben nog geluk, dat hun vlucht succesvol was, dat ze na een paar jaren inveiligheid kunnen terugkeren.
Niet iedereen heeft dat ”geluk”We hebben het gezien, dit jaar
Ten gevolge van nare machtsspelletjes tussen machthebbers belanddeeen groep mensen in het Grensgebied tussen Wit Rusland en Polen ennoch Wit Rusland, maar al helemaal niet Polen-EU, kon hetook maar iets schelen, wat er met hen gebeurde.Een aantal werden ernstig ziek, een aantal stierven.
De Wit Russische dictator was nog menselijker dan de EU, want diebood nog een verwarmde loods voor wie daarvan gebruik wilde makenPolen en de EU boden meer prikkeldraad, meer militairen en EU verordeningenom het voor Polen NOG makkelijker te maken, deze mensen asiel te weigeren.
En ze hielden het uit het Nieuws, maar er waren wel degelijk gewone Poolseburgers, die wilden helpen.Zoals die oude Poolse vrouw, die soep voor de vluchtelingen klaarmaakte.En die anonieme Poolse mensen, die een Licht voor het raam zettenom de vluchtelingen de weg door de Duisternis te wijzen.

Deze Mensen komen niet in het Nieuws, niet in een geschiedenisboek, maar wel in MIJN geschiedenisboek.En in de harten van alle vluchtelingen, die dit zagen en door dit Tekenvan Licht verwarmd werden.
Ik weet niet, hoe het nu met die vluchtelingen gaat, daar in het Grensgebied.Maar aan hen denk ik vannacht, Kerstnacht.
Waar eeuwen geleden, Jozef en Maria werden geholpen door gastvrijeEgyptenaren, na hun succesvolle Vlucht naar Egypte, omdat een Koning-dictator het Kind wilde doden, krijgen deze vluchtelingen nu een Tekenvan Hoop en Licht van gewone, anonieme Polen, mensen zoalsu en ik, die op het Wereldtoneel niets te vertellen hebben, maar iets doen watwaardevoller is dan het Gebral van vaak misdadige politici.
HOOP GEVEN
Hoe gaat het nu met die vluchtelingen in het Grensgebied daar, indie meedogenloze kou?
Ik weet het niet.Veel kan ik niet voor hen doen
Niets eigenlijkMaar ik kan aan hen denken en over hen schrijven

Het bereikt ze niet, maar alles wat wordt geschreven, iedere gedachte,komt ergens terug
Al is er maar EEN IEMAND, die door dit  te lezen, nog eens aan hendenkt
Laten we ons dan realiseren, dat Kerstmis niet het Feest van het Eten is,maar van het hoop geven aan hopelozen, Licht aan hen, die inhet Donker zitten
Aan vluchtelingen in een Grensgebied, aan Wij Zijn Hier vluchtelingen
Aan al die Vluchtelingen, die als Oud Vuil worden behandeld doorde Herodessen van Onze Tijd.
EEN kommetje Soep, Een Licht voor het Raam
En de Wereld is beter geworden
DENK AAN AL DIE VLUCHTELINGEN TIJDENS HET KERSTDINER
Iedereen  Vrolijke, Gezonde en Gelukkige Kerstdagenen voor 2022 een Gezond, Vrolijk en Strijdbaar 2022 toegewenst
Laten de Wapens van de Strijd doorgaan, de Pennen en de Zwaarden


ASTRID ESSED

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