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Poland Urged To Allow Entry For Afghans Stuck At Border With Belarus

Polish soldiers and Afghan refugees near the village of Usnarz Gorny in eastern Poland.
Polish soldiers and Afghan refugees near the village of Usnarz Gorny in eastern Poland.

Amnesty International is urging Poland to allow entry and provide humanitarian assistance to a group of 32 people from Afghanistan who have been held at the border between Poland and Belarus without proper food, clean water, shelter, and medicine for two weeks.

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Amnesty International said in a statement on August 25 that it obtained reports about the use of force and threats of violence by Polish border guards when pushing the group back to Belarus.

“These people are fleeing a desperate situation in Afghanistan. By surrounding them with armed border guards, Poland is showing a callous response to their plight,” according to the London-based human rights watchdog.

Polish and Belarusian border guards have been keeping the migrants trapped in a small area on the border, as both countries avoid responsibility for them.

Belarus has been accused of funneling migrants across the European Union borders, a claim Minsk denies.

Polish officials insist that the group of migrants will not be allowed into Poland, saying it would encourage further illegal migration and would play into the Belarusian government’s hands.

In recent months thousands of migrants, many from Iraq and Afghanistan, have illegally crossed from Belarus into Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland.

European officials condemned it as a "hybrid attack" by Belarus on the bloc in retaliation for EU sanctions over authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s crackdown on the country's pro-democracy movement following a disputed presidential election in August 2020.

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