In Poland, the refugee crisis in the east revives the migration debate

An emblematic figure of the anti-communist opposition, calling the Polish border guards a “Pack of dogs”, and causing an almost general outcry, a member of the largest opposition party trying to force a police cordon to bring food and medical equipment to the Polish-Belarusian border… Polish politicians seem to have lost all temper as the migration issue, stimulated by the crisis in the Baltic countries, is regaining a central place in the public debate.

Border guards reported more than 3,000 attempts to enter the country illegally since the beginning of August – ten times more than the total number recorded the previous years. But it is the alarming fate, although not very representative, of around thirty Afghan nationals stranded for more than two weeks between the Polish and Belarusian security forces, which crystallizes passions and focuses public attention. public.

Government officials, civil society representatives and left-wing MPs shout ” shame “. A far-right parliamentarian offers flowers to border guards, priests make donations … All profiles of the political scene have followed one another for several days around the town of Usnarz Gorny and the makeshift camp for migrants, in about thirty kilometers, across the border, from the Belarusian town of Grodno. On social media, the video of Civic Platform (PO) deputy Franciszek Sterczewski slaloming through border guards to bring basic necessities to refugees has gone viral.

From the Kuznica border post, the head of government, Mateusz Morawiecki, symbolically dressed in a khaki jacket, held to “Thank the European Commission for its actions which limit illegal immigration”. The Polish government assumes a firm attitude, joining in this Vilnius and Riga, also affected by this phenomenon, and attributing the sudden migratory pressure to the Belarusian regime of Alexander Lukashenko, accused of knowingly provoking this situation and leading a “Hybrid war” against its neighbors.

From the forest to the fortress

Despite the insistence of the Mediator and Defender of Civil Rights, Marcin Wiacek, and civil society organizations present on the ground, the authorities have constantly ignored the requests for international protection of migrants camping at its border. They opposed an end to the calls to ensure their basic needs, launched by the United Nations agency for refugees, the Council of Europe and the Polish episcopate, on the grounds that any action in this direction would appear. like an admission of weakness in the face of Minsk.

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