On EU Borders

See also: https://qarn.org.uk/channel-crossings/

Updated 17 March 2022: Guardian: Fears grow of new crisis as refugees in Belarus driven into Ukraine

Dozens from Middle East ordered at gunpoint by soldiers to choose between leaving for Poland, where soldiers have beaten them, or Ukraine

Belarusian armed forces are pushing asylum seekers from the Middle East who became trapped in the country after they were promised passage to the EU to cross the border into war-torn Ukraine, according to the testimony of people in Belarusian camps.

Dozens of asylum seekers stuck for months in a makeshift dormitory in Bruzgi, a village in Belarus less than a mile from the Polish border, were ordered by a group of Belarusian soldiers on 5 March to leave the building at gunpoint and given two options: crossing the border into Poland, where guards have beaten them back, or entering Ukraine, one of them said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/mar/14/fears-grow-of-new-crisis-as-refugees-in-belarus-driven-into-ukraine

Updated 27 February 2022: Guardian: Ukrainians fleeing war can join close relatives in UK, Johnson says

Prime minister’s announcement comes after criticism of Home Office delays in allowing refugees entry

Ukrainians fleeing the war will be able to come to the UK to join close relatives, Boris Johnson has announced, as he sought to quell a row over the bureaucracy faced by refugees from the country.

His comments are unlikely to satisfy campaigners and opposition politicians who have been angered by the failure of the Home Office to waive visa rules much more generally for Ukrainians seeking sanctuary.

“Any person settled in the UK will be able to bring their Ukrainian immediate family members to join them here,” No 10 said in a statement. “This will benefit many thousands of people who at this moment are making desperate choices about their future.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/feb/27/uk-expected-ease-visa-restrictions-ukrainians-fleeing-war

Petition urging Priti Patel to ensure safe passage for Ukrainian refugees wins huge support

The petition [ https://act.38degrees.org.uk/act/safe-passage-ukraine ] urges Priti Patel to publish an ‘urgent plan outlining how the UK will offer safe and legal passage’ to Ukrainian refugees

TENS of thousands of people have signed an open letter to the Home Secretary urging her to publish a plan outlining how the UK will ensure safe and legal passage for Ukrainian refugees.

UN agencies estimate that between one million and three million Ukrainians may try to leave the country in the coming weeks, as the nation faces Europe’s largest ground offensive since the Second World War.

Some 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed, according to the country’s health minister – while thousands more have been wounded.

As of Saturday afternoon nearly 60,000 people had signed the petition, which has a target of 100,000 signatures, on the 38 Degrees website. It came as new YouGov research showed 63% of UK residents support introducing a scheme to resettle “some” Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

Despite Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the UK Government has stopped accepting visa applications from Ukrainian citizens stuck in the country – effectively meaning there are no safe and legal routes for Ukrainians aiming to come to the UK unless they already have relatives here. 

Read more: https://www.thenational.scot/news/19955027.petition-urging-priti-patel-ensure-safe-passage-ukrainian-refugees-wins-huge-support/

Updated 9 February 2022: Guardian: In limbo: the refugees left on the Belarusian-Polish border – a photo essay

Offered a route into Europe by the Lukashenko regime in Belarus, thousands of asylum seekers are now stranded on the EU’s frontier

On 13 August last year, a villager in Ostrówka, in the east of central Poland, posted two pictures on Facebook featuring groups of men, women and children walking through the cornfields with bags on their backs.

They were families from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraqi Kurdistan, and they were among the first asylum seekers to enter the country from Belarus. The post was accompanied by the following short text: “In the heat of day through wheat, at night through corn, they sneak through, they wander, just to get to the west. Great politics and slight refugees leave their print on the fields near Ostrówka.”

Few could have imagined that those people were the prelude to a border crisis that would result in dozens of deaths.

Rad more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/feb/08/in-limbo-refugees-left-on-belarusian-polish-border-eu-frontier-photo-essay

Update 30 December 2021: Guardian: Trapped at Europe’s door: inside Belarus’s makeshift asylum dormitory

About 1,000 people, mostly Kurds, are waiting at a converted customs centre in Bruzgi for the chance to cross into EU

The giant warehouse towers over the Belarus countryside, less than a mile from the Polish border. In this 10,000 sq metre space patrolled by dozens of armed soldiers, 1,000 asylum seekers are crammed among countless industrial shelving units, held up on their way to Europe in the midst of a frigid winter.

“We’re trapped in this building,” says Alima Skandar, 40. “We don’t want to go back to Iraq and we can’t cross the border. Please, help us.”

What was a customs centre in the village of Bruzgi has been turned into a dormitory for asylum seekers. The EU has accused Belarus’s leader, Alexander Lukashenko, of deliberately provoking a new refugee crisis by organising the movement of people from the Middle East to Minsk and promising them a safe passage to Europe. Lukashenko’s critics say the exploitation of these people is a callous reprisal for sanctions that Brussels has imposed on his regime.

Last autumn Skandar, her husband and their four children arrived in Belarus on a flight from Iraqi Kurdistan and then camped for weeks surrounded by barbed wire that Poland had erected along its border.

Early in November, Belarusian authorities escorted thousands of asylum seekers to the Polish frontier in an escalation of the crisis. Witnesses 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. Hundreds managed to evade the Polish police by hiding in the forests. Others were caught and pushed back violently to Belarus by Poland’s border guards.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/dec/30/trapped-at-europes-door-inside-belaruss-makeshift-asylum-dormitory

Update 17 November 2021: In short, The refugees were divided into three parts Some of them remained on the Poland border Another part of them are the place of Belarusian soldiers to another place The third part has returned to Belarus and the government has provided them with a temporary place

from Lagkadikia Camqu Hama: 15 November 2021: Tonight this butterfly named Kardin Adnan, a Kurdish refugee, died in front of the European border of humanity, in front of the world because of the dark cold weather ….Yes, Kardin died in front of the Polish gate when the whole world sees Europe of human rights and humanity!?!?!

Human Rights Watch: Stuck in Limbo Between Poland and Belarus

“Die here or go to Poland.” This was the “choice” that a Kurdish man from Syria told me a Belarusian border guard had given him, as he described his horrific experiences on the Poland-Belarus border, pleading with the guard to be allowed go back to the capital, Minsk. He told me he had been pushed back from the Polish side of the border several times, sometimes violently and that his pleas for asylum were ignored by Polish border guards. He ended up, as many have, back on the Belarus side, a place many migrants described as pure hell.

Migrants described the Belarussian border as a place of brute violence, where they were forcibly kept in open spaces without shelter, food, or water for days to weeks, vulnerable to theft and other abuse, and blocked from returning to Minsk or their home countries. They told me how Belarusian border guards pushed them – exhausted and abused – to try again to enter Poland, in most cases unsuccessfully, resulting only in their forced return to Belarus and further abuse.

Read more: Lydia Gall, Human Rights Watch, https://rb.gy/r47khe

9 November 2021: Guardian: Germany urges unity as crisis worsens for migrants at Poland-Belarus border

German interior minister says Poland needs support to deal with ‘hybrid threat’ of politically organised migration

What is happening at the Polish border and who is to blame?

Germany needs to get the “whole of the democratic world” onboard to support orderly immigration to Europe, its interior minister has said, amid a worsening crisis at the Poland-Belarus border.

Horst Seehofer accused Belarus and Russia of exploiting refugees and migrants in an attempt to destabilise the west, and said EU countries must stand together in the face of a “hybrid threat” posed by “politically organised migration”.

Polish police blocked hundreds of people from entering the country on Monday after Belarusian authorities had escorted them to the border.

Poland and other EU countries have accused Belarus of trying to provoke a new refugee crisis in Europe in revenge for their criticism of Alexander Lukashenko’s brutal crackdown on domestic opposition. Minsk has reportedly issued special visas allowing migrants to fly into Belarus from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.

Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/09/poland-warns-of-armed-attempts-on-its-border-as-germany-urges-eu-to-act