Since August 2021, a few thousand refugees coming on the premise of false information according to which it would be easy to cross the border between Belarus towards the Shengen area, via Poland, have been trapped at the border. These people are mistreated on both sides of the border. On the Belarusian side, the refugees are attacked, and on the Polish side the right to asylum is violated. Refugees are indeed being turned back, in violation of the principle of non-refoulement. This principle is clear: the authorities must not forcibly return an individual to another country or territory where they risk being the victim of acts of torture or, more generally, mistreatment.
In Poland, the authorities have done everything to limit access to their territory by declaring a state of emergency. Barbed concertina wire (razor blades) has been deployed to keep them out.
It is in this context that we were contacted by Mateusz R., a Pole in charge of an independent humanitarian project, who lives near the border between Poland and Belarus. He has been helping refugees for over a year. Although he faces a wave of criticism, many people support him.
At the border, he helps injured people, because
whatever the season, the distress of the refugees is enormous: they are hypothermic in winter and dehydrated in summer. They drink non-potable water, and injure themselves trying to cross the barbed wire.
We sent Mateusz 40 survival packs composed of waterproof backpacks, socks, sleeping bags, survival blankets, hats, waterproof and cold-resistant shoes, headlamps, antiseptic products and adhesive sutures.
This set cost 2000€, financed by material donations by PSF and TSPF. Supporting a volunteer in their action is one of our possibilities for action with an immediate impact. If we managed to raise more funds, we could finance other interventions of this type all along the Belarusian border. Thanks for your help !
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