Published: 22nd November 2021
What The FAQ: What's the Poland-Belarus border crisis all about and why are thousands seeking asylum?
The Kuznica border crossing has been the stage for several migrant crossings into Poland since the summer of 2021
It has been close to a month that thousands of migrants have been stuck at the Poland-Belarus border, hoping to cross into Poland. The Kuznica border crossing has been the stage for several migrant crossings into Poland since the summer of 2021. However, the situation worsened in November when thousands showed up at the border, created makeshift camps, seeking to cross the Polish border.
While Belarus has cleared several of the Middle-Eastern and Asian migrants to cross into Poland, the Polish have not yet cleared them for asylum. This has essentially given rise to a border crisis and here's all you need to know about it.
Why is the migrant crisis happening?
According to reports, the European Union believes that the crisis has been manufactured by the autocratic Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. While he has denied such allegations, the EU believes the migrant crisis is the response to the increased sanctions that it has imposed on the Belarusian government. The United States too imposed sanctions on the Belarusian government last week and are about to impose more, citing that the government should be held accountable for the "ongoing attacks on democracy, human rights and international norms".
Why are the migrants there?
Thousands of migrants, including women and children, are hoping to cross into one of the EU nations in search of a better life. Most of them are hoping to cross into Poland and then make their way into other EU nations, especially those in the wealthier Western and Northern parts of Europe.
However, several governments speculate that the Belarusian government has allowed migrants to enter its nation in an attempt to hit back at the EU. Flight plans show that an increased number of flights entered the Belarusian capital Minsk from Beirut, reports several media organisations. Some migrants even claim that the Belarusian government has not only given them visas but have also given the pliers to cut through the border and cross into Poland.
What is Poland doing about it?
Poland, along with neighbouring nations of Lithuania and Latvia, have increased their border security with Belarus. While the leaders of these three countries have accused Lukashenko of manufacturing the migrant crisis, Poland even adopted a Bill in October to build a wall along its border with Belarus.
In fact, the Polish President Andrzej Duda has been pushing forward his nationalist narrative. "The time has come when you need to defend your homeland. It must be done with dedication, with sleepless nights, in coldness, in hardship, in a very ungrateful situation to which we were forced by the hybrid actions of the Belarusian regime against Poland and against the European Union," Duda stated on the Polish Independence Day, while addressing the nation.
What do the migrants have to face?
The migrants, who are seeking asylum after evading countries like Lebanon, Syria and Afghanistan, have been subjected to sub-zero temperatures in their makeshift camp along the Belarusian border. They do not have enough food or medical aid to tide them over such testing conditions. The thousands include about 600 women and at least 200 children, some newborns and infants. Some migrants even claimed to have been subjected to violence when they crossed into Poland, claim media reports.
Humanitarian organisations have slammed the Polish government's stance on the issue. They say that the government should accept their asylum application and not send the migrants back to Belarus. While Poland claims what it's doing is legal, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to seek asylum in a foreign country without any persecution.