Thousands of people have been perplexed at the Belarus-Poland border in recent months. They are uncertain about their future. The refugees do not know if they will ever be able to make it to Western Europe’s countries like Germany, Poland or if they will be sent back to their country of origin. Men, women and children are experiencing Europe's hard winter without adequate food, shelter, or medicine. People are suffering from a variety of diseases. More than 100 people, including those with pneumonia, have been taken to the hospital already.
They are all refugees from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Belarus has been accused by the European Commission of luring migrants to Minsk with false promises of easy entry into the EU. Mr Peter Stano, spokesman for the European Union said when they arrive, and they are pushed to the border.
A State of Emergency has been declared by each EU member along its border. In a hybrid war, Belarus has used migrants as a weapon.
Belarus is exploiting these tens of thousands of impoverished, powerless individuals as weapons against other European nations. The situation on Belarus', Poland, and Lithuania's borders is deteriorating rapidly as a result of Belarus' dictator using humans to exert political pressure on Europe. Belarus's tyrant lured thousands of refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq and dropped them in the forest near Poland's border. The Belarusian government has given them wire cutters and instructed them that if they want to survive, they must cut the boundary wires and enter Poland. Otherwise, they will perish in the forest.
Clashes with Broder Forces.
At present, the forest area around the border has temperatures between -5°C and -7°C. There was no assistance from the Belarusian government for these refugees. They were not fed properly, nor were they provided with shelter. They are just left out in the freezing cold. So far, 10 people have died due to harsh conditions.
For many refugees, the only way to survive is to enter Europe. As a result, they frequently clash with border police in Poland and Lithuania. Authorities in Belarus have also been accused of encouraging them to enter Europe by any means necessary. They were given wire cutters with which to cut the border fence. In these clashes with security personnel, a large number of individuals have been hurt.
Fate of Refugees
Many people who attempt to cross the border from Belarus to neighboring countries are detained in detention facilities for months, separated from their families. These individuals have been prevented from requesting asylum or leaving the detention facility.
Many of the refugees who entered Poland via Belarus have either been returned or are being held in detention centers. An estimated 2000 people, mostly from the Kurdish region of Iraq, are imprisoned.
Similar complaints have been received from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Those who have been confined in these facilities have complained about inhumane conditions that are affecting their mental health.
According to Polish border security authorities, 100's of Migrants have already tried entering the European Union several times. They were, however, sent back to Belarus. Five migrants were hospitalized due to exhaustion. Police said they had apprehended suspected human traffickers in the area, but since journalists are not permitted to enter the border area, this claim could not be verified.
A Gamble by Lukashenka
Lithuania and Poland have accused Belarusian authorities of orchestrating migration for several months.
Nevertheless, Belarus president Lukashenka denied these allegations and asked Europe for help with migration.
In response to the question about how to handle the thousands of refugees in Belarus, Lukashenka said that he was still waiting for an answer from the European Union. He stated that he had requested the EU, specifically Germany, to take them off our hands. Angela Markel, the outgoing German chancellor, has, however, stated that the Belarus situation must be resolved at the European level.
Covid-19 Outbreak Causes Anxiety
Coronavirus new variant Omicron has not only increased anxiety among migrants, but also put Europe on the defensive. The EU is concerned that the arrival of migrants will also add to the problem, and its prevention will be more difficult.
In the Bruzgi, near the border with Poland, there are still thousands of people who are housed in a Warehouse. Migrants' growing concerns add to the uncertainty. The Lukashenko administration says that the migrants' journey to the EU will be unhindered, causing concern throughout Europe.
Medical Care and Aid Are Urgently Needed
In November, Dr Hans Kluge, the European Union Director of the World Health Organization, paid a visit to the logistics hall turned dormitory and pledged to bring medicine and humanitarian materials. Around 100 migrants, including those suffering from Pneumonia, have already been transferred to nearby hospitals, according to authorities.
The European Union Seeks Repatriation
According to a spokesperson for the EU's foreign policy, the group is in contact with Belarus' foreign ministry to clarify why migrants cannot be deported to their home countries. Over 600 Iraqis have already returned to Iraq's northern Kurdish-controlled zone on special flights in the last several weeks. Many of them expressed dissatisfaction with their treatment in Belarus, which they described as inhumane and in which they claimed they were subjected to maltreatment by authorities.
Why are Migrants Coming to Belarus?
There are people who are fleeing Afghanistan because of life threats, as well as people from Syria and Congo looking to escape the dire situation in their countries.
These refugees began to arrive in Belarus's capital Minsk a couple of months ago. Belarus has been accused by the European Union of transferring these migrants to the European Union's borders via taxis, buses, and other vehicles.
Human traffickers have also attempted to assist them in illegally crossing the border. On social media, there are fake messages claiming that the Belarusian route is opened and that it is safe for refugees and migrants to use this path to enter Europe from Belarus.
At this point in time, it was very clear that the Belarusian government was actively encouraging these refugees to flee into the European Union. When it became difficult to do so via cars, buses and taxis, then the Belarusian government, literally, brought them in planes.
Enforcement at the Border
Poland has increased its security at the border and called for reinforcements at the border for the purpose of strictly checking the area to prevent migrants from crossing into Europe. More barbed wires were installed at the border.
Blackmailing to Lift Restrictions
President Alexander Lukashenko is using these refugees to put pressure on the European Union to lift economic sanctions against Belarus.
Lukashenko is currently in his 6th term as president of Belarus, famously known as "The Last Dictator of Europe". The Belarusian government is cracking down on opposition leaders and crushing protesters who demand democracy.
EU and US economic sanctions were imposed on the Lukashenko government for these restrictive measures. But these sanctions weren't very severe.
In May 2021, however, Raman Pratasyevich, a Belarusian blogger and activist was travelling from Greece to Lithuania on this flight.
He was a frequent critic of the Belarusian government. In order to arrest the blogger, the Belarusian authorities diverted the flight to Minsk when it flew over Belarus. When a flight between two foreign countries is diverted and forced to land in one of them, it is considered a hijacking in Europe.
Following this incident, the European Union not only banned Belarus's airline from all its airports but also from its airspace. Belarus also banned exports of petroleum products and potash to Europe. The European Investment Bank has stopped funding projects in Belarus. As a result, Belarus was economically isolated. This caused a major shock to the Belarusian economy.
As a result of this, Belarus' dictator is attempting to exert pressure on the European Union by sending refugees. So that a deal can be reached to reduce sanctions against Belarus.
In 2015, there was a refugee crisis in Europe, when huge numbers of refugees arrived, making it impossible for European governments to cope. Belarus pounced on this weakness. Because of this, Belarus openly encouraged refugees to come into the country and then dumped them at the border.
Threat of Gas Supply Cuts
Lukashenko’s government has also threatened that Belarus would cut off the Europs’s gas pipelines. Most of the gas used in Europe comes from Russia.
The pipelines that transport this gas from Russia to Europe pass through Belarus. Now Belarus is threatening to break or shut down these pipelines. If the gas can't be supplied the European economy would be impacted significantly.
People who left their conflict-ridden countries for the sake of their lives are now stuck between two warring countries, Poland and Belarus
Lukashenka claims that the European Union is violating human rights hereby not allowing these people to enter and that doing so violates the International Rules of Asylum.
The United Nations Security Council, on the other hand, claims it is a type of hybrid warfare that is being utilized against Europe.
In any case, until Belarus and the European Union strike an agreement, the fate of the refuges hand is in doubt, and now a fresh Covid outbreak in Europe has put their lives and future even more at risk.
Written By: Olivium's Staff.