In Poland …. the “other” refugees between the repulsion of the authorities and the struggle of the “empty intestines”

With the Ukrainian war approaching its third month, Poland continues to receive Ukrainian refugees, and is working to ensure good conditions for their stay, but Poland, and for three months as well, is still facing an open confrontation with other refugees fleeing the Belarusian border came and is still stuck there.

Ayhan, the Syrian immigrant who arrived, has been stuck at the Polish-Belarusian border for about 3 months now and fights almost daily with the Polish border guards, who try to stop him from entering the country at all costs, while the Belarusian side pushes him into the forests and encourages him to cross the border.

Ayhan is one of dozens of migrants beaten and violently beaten by Polish authorities at the border, who have decided to go on a hunger strike to draw attention to their case.

“I have been on hunger strike for about twenty days, and most of us have been on hunger strike for 25 days. We are trying to draw attention to our case and find a solution for us,” Ayhan told Mohajer News, and continues: “I came to Lebanon from Russia, and through Belarus I aspired to move to Europe, but I did not think that the Belarussian authorities would open the way for us and use us to “Pressing Europe, while we were not suffering, they brought us to the borders and left us.”

In each attempt, Ayhan and his companions are subjected to severe violence by the Polish border guards, forcing them back to the Belarusian forests, where they are left without food or care.

Refugees on the Belarusian-Polish border
Refugees on the Belarusian-Polish border

Ayhan continues to “Migrant News”: “The two throw at each other, the Belarusians and the Poles, and we are the victim, there is no detention center or anything, we are just beaten by the Poles,” and he explains to us from the Belarusian forests where he is currently: “The authorities caught me The Polish woman twice, I was beaten and violent, then they kept me in a center before taking me back to the forest on the Belarus -Russian side threw. “

While the situation on the Belarusian side was not better, the Belarusian authorities, according to Ayhan, allow them to try to cross over to Poland, but not to return to Russia via Belarus, for example. To put pressure on Europe by using refugees. “

Ayhan concludes his interview with “Mohajer News”: “We do not know when we will suspend the strike, pending relief, what we do not know when.”

A battle on another front

Away from the Polish-Belarusian border, and south of the Polish capital Warsaw, a group of Syrian asylum seekers, detained in the closed Lisnovola center, has also been on a hunger strike since 19 April 2022 to protest their abuse where they say they were treated as “criminals”.

Munther, Ghaith, Shadi, Rami and Musa started their strike in the guarded center out of frustration and hopelessness.

The letter written by Syrian refugees on hunger strike in Poland
The letter written by Syrian refugees on hunger strike in Poland

“We are sorry to do so,” the men wrote in a letter in English to the Foreigners’ Office and the director of the center when they began their hunger strike, but expressed their feelings of exile and exhaustion, “especially with … the hard experience we had in Syria and Belarus. “

The letter added that they had crossed the Polish border from Belarus “illegally” because they had no other choice, nor were they given any compelling reason to be detained at the facility, where they were staying for more than two months remained.

Hunger strike to label refugees as criminals
Hunger strike to label refugees as criminals

Not the conditions of detention

The Lisnovola Center is located in a relatively isolated area about 15 kilometers south of the Polish capital Warsaw, so since the beginning of the strike, the Polish border guards have placed clippings of the facility that make it a clean and well-equipped facility with ‘ a gym, computer rooms, prayer rooms, a library and large areas outside for exercise and relaxation.

While border guards confirmed in another tweet that EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson “positively assessed conditions at the center” during a visit in February, although Commissioner Johansson wrote that her visit to the center showed that “the possibility is around [تركيزنا] Implementing human living conditions must be accompanied by efficient and equitable asylum procedures. ”

But the striking youths assured the Polish newspaper Oka Press that their strike was not an objection to the conditions of detention, “the conditions in Lisnovola are not bad, it is about the fact that we are treated like criminals,” he said. one of the strikers added. , 39 years old, who left Syria in 2021 Because he did not want to join the army, he gave the Polish authorities all the information they requested and could not understand why he was in jail.

In turn, Grupa Granica, a network of human rights NGOs monitoring the Polish border, described the facility as a “prison”, and activists from the organization said that none of the five Syrians should be in the center , because they detain people who were tortured in closed facilities are considered In violation of Polish law, they note that the men fled a violent civil war and were pushed back when they tried to cross the border into Poland .

How did they get here?

The Polish aid group “With Bread and Salt” (Chlebem i Solą) said that last year they met two Syrian men who went on strike last year in the forest on the border with Belarus.

Lisnovola Center south of Warsaw
Lisnovola Center south of Warsaw

“We helped them apply to the European Court of Human Rights, which received a document preventing the Polish authorities from deporting them back to Belarus.” Some of them have been taken to notorious detention centers and have been in custody ever since.

While a spokesman for the border guards told “Polish Oko Press” that the Syrians were in custody “based on a court order regarding their illegal stay in our country.”

Also a few days after the start of the strike, a protest rallyed in front of the detention center condemning the detention of Syrians. On the ninth day of the strike, Polish MP Katarzyna Pekarska of the Democratic Left Alliance visited the strikers, and one of them quoted confirming that he is suffering from nervous problems and sleep problems.

The Polish legislature emphasized that courts in Poland agree with the request of border guards to detain asylum seekers in part because it is “simply easier that way”.

On the tenth day of the strike, the five strikers received a personal confirmation from the director of the Foreign Office that they would be released next week.

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