Poland passes legislation permitting migrant pushbacks at its borders

Warsaw, Poland: The Polish parliament passes a law this Thursday regarding aims to legalize migrant pushbacks across Poland’s borders on behalf of human rights advocates breach country’s commitments under international law.

Recently, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania have seen a surge in migrants from bordering countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq trying to cross their frontiers from Belarus. Brussels and Warsaw declare it as a form of hybrid warfare planned to pressurize EU over sanctions imposed by it on Minsk. Human rights activists have criticized Poland’s nationalist government over its treatment of migrants accusing it with multiple illegal claims including pushbacks. So far, Six people have been reported dead nearing the Polish border ever since the increase in migrants.

Border militants argue that they have been acting under government legislations amended in August which now require to be signed by President Andrzej Duda who is an ally of the ruling nationalists, in order to be taken under strict action.

The amendments include a proceeding by which a person caught illegally crossing the border can be ordered under the authority of the local Border Guard chief to leave the Polish territory. An appeal may be filed to the commander of the Border Guard following the issued order, but that does not necessarily suspend its execution.

In addition to this, the bills allows  chief of Office of Foreigners to dismiss an application filed by a foreigner under international security and protection purposes on being caught illegally crossing the border.

The international law permits migrants to claim asylum under and as such it is forbidden to the potential asylum-seekers back to their prior residence under the premise that their lives or well-being might be in danger.
The EU’s home affairs commissioner stated that EU countries must protect the bloc’s external frontiers, but that they also need to uphold fundamental rights and the rule of law.
Critics including the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights as well as Poland’s Human Rights Ombudsman state that the new legislation does not guarantee effective recourse for people – refugees or migrants – seeking international asylum.
ODIHR director Matteo Mecacci says, “If there are people who have a legitimate request to seek asylum, there should be a way to allow that to happen.” He also added that, “I understand there are also security concerns … but security concerns cannot completely overrun the need for international protection.”
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