Wednesday, December 8

Water cannons, grenades, flashbacks and fence breaking as tensions rise on the Belarusian-Polish border


Tensions that have been building along the Polish-Belarusian border for weeks turned into violence on Tuesday. Polish border guards used water cannons against the migrants on the Belarusian side of the border. Warsaw says the people were armed with gas grenades supplied by Belarus, which they threw over the fences towards the Polish guards. Stones and rocks were also fired during a tense standoff at the checkpoint. Belarus has accused Poland of setbacks and of not allowing people to apply for asylum in the EU. But Warsaw says Minsk is involved in a hybrid attack on the country.

Jack Parrock, a Euronews reporter in Brussels, says the situation at the border is of great concern to the EU, particularly when it comes to defending people’s right to seek asylum.

“These people have been on that border for several days, now it is very cold and it seems that this kind of boiling point has been reached. This is a great concern for the European Union.”

There are also questions about the security of that border, but the big question as well, and this is probably something that has perhaps not been talked about enough during this crisis, is that once those people arrive in Poland, they have the right to apply for asylum.

Niccolò A. Figà-Talamanca, general secretary of No Peace Without Justice, a non-profit organization, explained that what Poland is doing contravenes international law:

“The conditions under which someone arrives have no impact on the rights that people have under international law under Article 3.1 of the Refugee Convention to seek asylum in a country. Often, asylum seekers are they are forced to arrive or enter a territory without authorization because they are fleeing in search of persecution. “

The refugee convention is clear

Figà-Talamanca continued: “Poland passed legislation last month that allows migrants to be turned away at the border. Therefore, from the Polish point of view, from the Polish legal point of view, the authorities are complying with the law. Polish. But Polish law is simply illegal under international law. The refugee convention is clear. “

Poland simply insists that it is protecting the EU’s external border. We have seen the European Union agree to sanction Belarus more for this migration issue. “Four rounds of sanctions against the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko have not really changed anything, but now we know that this is a situation that is becoming increasingly difficult, as we have seen with this, with this violence on the border.” , Figà-Talamanca concludes

On Tuesday, Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, said he is concerned about the situation in Belarus, but also said he supports NATO’s position in solidarity with Poland and other affected allies.

Poland has yet to invoke Article 4 of the NATO treaties, which is when serious consultations on military cooperation go into effect if a country feels it may be being threatened. Poland has not done that.

The Polish government feels that it actually has control of that border in general. The military presence there is very strong, but there is also another angle. Ukraine has said there are 100,000 Russian soldiers on its border. Obviously, that is also a concern for nature. So this eastern border within Europe of the European Union is becoming a bit of a big problem.

See the full Euronews report in the player above.


www.euronews.com

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