Poland Proceeds With Barrier-Building on Border With Belarus Despite Welcoming Ukrainians

The Polish authorities continue working on building the 186-kilometre-long barrier at the border with Belarus despite the country opening its doors for Ukrainians fleeing the war.

The construction of the wall along the Polish-Belarusian border, which aims to stop the illegal movement of migrants, started in early 2022, and it is expected to be completed in June, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Human rights officials and activists are not happy about the decision to build such a barrier, as, according to them, Poland is treating migrants from third countries as undeserving of protection in Europe.

They have highly condemned the actions of Poland and other EU countries that push back and do not permit entry to migrants and who, on the other hand, have created all the necessary conditions and opportunities for nationals of Ukraine.

Nonetheless, the Polish authorities have denied the accusations of them pushing asylum seekers back. They have emphasised that most migrants do not apply for protection once in the country since they are required to stay and not leave for another Member State.

Apart from condemning the differentiations that are being made, environment activists and volunteers have also criticized the decision for the wall to be built through a protected forest and UNESCO world heritage site.

The number of migrants trying to reach Poland through Belarus has been increasing continuously. The Polish authorities revealed earlier in March that only during one day, a total of 134 persons attempted to cross the border between the two countries. This means that thousands of migrants attempted to cross the border in one month.

The Polish Border Guard revealed that those two who attempted to enter the country were mainly nationals of Iraq, Yemen, Cuba, Sudan, Nigeria, Syria, Afghanistan, India, and Turkey.

“Attempts to get to the territory of Poland took place in sections of the official responsibility of Border Guard Posts: in Kuźnica, Płaska, Leipzig, Krynki, Dubicze Cerkiewne, Michałów, Mielnik, Nowy Dwór and Narewka. The detainees are citizens of Iraq, Yemen, Cuba, Sudan, Nigeria, Syria, Afghanistan, India, and Turkey,” the Border Guard wrote in March.

While the Polish authorities claimed that they were preventing illegal movement, the Polish humanitarian group said that the migrants were brutally pushed back to Belarus.

In a more recent press release that has issued on April 15, the Polish Border Guard announced that on April 14, a total of 43 foreigners tried to illegally cross the Polish-Belarusian border. They were all detained. Among the foreigners who tried to reach the border were 18 Iraqi nationals, five Syrian nationals, four Yemen nationals, two Nigerian nationals, and a Turkish national.

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