Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers (mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria) are stuck on the EU-Belarus borders without adequate access to services or assistance. Some have been stranded in the border areas for weeks because of ‘pushback’ policies by Polish, Lithuanian and Latvian border control and coercion by Belarusian officials to cross again.
Unfortunately, as a result of these actions, the migrants are dying of hypothermia and general exhaustion and cannot rely on the help of humanitarian organisations, which are not allowed access to them by the Polish and Lithuanian authorities. Journalists also have no free access to the Polish/Belarusian border area.
The Belarusian government created the crisis by luring migrants with false promises. But Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and the EU are ignoring human suffering.
Defending the humanist values that have shaped the European Union and starting from a position of simple human compassion, we call on the Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian and authorities to end the push-back procedure, which is inhumane, especially in these conditions.
We call on the authorities of the European Union to respect its own laws. When the Charter of Fundamental Rights and other principles are threatened, the Union should be able to enforce them. We demand that humanitarian aid be allowed to the migrants, and we demand that journalists be allowed in to give the European Union public a true picture of the situation.
While accepting that the Belarusian side is responsible for triggering the crisis, we also categorically oppose – on the basis of secular and humanist ethics – the condemnation of civilian migrants to death in the cold, without access to aid. This situation is in absolute contradiction with our moral principles.
This statement was sent to the Presidents of the European Commission, of the European Parliament and of the European Council.