We are representative(s) of social organizations and initiatives who,since the summer of 2021, are providing humanitarian assistance to people on the move who are stranded on the Polish-Belarusian border.. In addition to providing direct support to people, we monitor and document violations of the law and human rights.

For many weeks we have been observing escalation of violence and increasing ruthlessness performed by the Border Guard and Polish Army, while applying the policy of expulsion against people who try to cross the Polish-Belarusian border.

We have documented cases of people being thrown over the border with Belarus, people who explicitly and in our presence asked for international protection, and we know of people with  serious health conditions being thrown out of military ambulances and taken back to the border directly from hospitals. Men, women with children and unaccompanied minors are being taken behind wires and the border fence.

The pushbacks are constantly accompanied by violence from Polish forces: the use of tear gas, beatings, stripping people naked, kicking, throwing to the ground, handcuffing, destroying phones and documents, taking backpacks with provisions and clean water. People on the move  tell us that with threats or physical violence they are forced to sign statements that they do not want to apply for international protection in Poland, and are then still brought behind a fence.

On the Belarusian side, people on the move are treated instrumentally by Lukashenko’s services, held for days in the woods, robbed, blackmailed. They are experiencing very brutal beatings,suffer from being electrocuted, thy are bitten by military dogs, raped.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk talks about the need to protect the borders. We do not dispute this. However, the actions of thePolish forces on the border so far have nothing to do with preparations for a potential attack from the East. Under the pretext of safeguarding the security of the border, they are beating and torturing defenseless people seeking asylum, condemning them to the mortal danger of the Belarusian sistema, a borderland fully controlled by Lukashenko’s services.

From the Polish Border Guard itself, via their statements, we know of more than 4000 people “escorted back to the border line” since the new government was sworn in on December 13th, 2023. Today we can all see what this “escort” looks like.

Footage released by the Podlasie Volunteer Humanitarian Service shows, among other things, a woman’s inert body being dragged through a gate in the border fence and dumped on the other side. These scenes, like from Agnieszka Holland’s movie “Green Border,” are precisely the “humanitarian pushbacks” announced earlier this year by  Donald Tusk’s government, carried out by “Border Guard search and rescue teams” that were supposed to help people, but in fact condemn them to mortal danger.

The effects of the continuation of the (previous) PiS government’s policies by the current ruling coalition are frightening. This year alone, by mid-May, more than 1,800 people have asked the Grupa Granica coalition for help: including 193 women, 178 children, of whom as many as 131 unaccompanied minors. The experience of violence at the hands of Polish uniformed services was reported to us by more than 1,000 people. These are only partial numbers – many people never manage to ask for help. We also do not know what happened to many of the people we did not reach.

At the same time, Prime Minister Donald Tusk praises the Polish Army and the Border Guard for their service on the border and announces plans to develop border infrastructure. In these announcements, there are no longer any references to humanitarianism, no willingness to comply with national and international law, although, after all, when Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his current coalition partners were in opposition, they did not shy away from criticizing the previous Law and Justice government for violating the Constitution, the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Criminal Code and the resulting violence against refugees and migrants at the border.

Today it appears clear that this humanitarianism and concern was only for show, to buy the votes of those citizens who hoped for the restoration of the rule of law and improvement of the situation of refugees and migrants on the Polish-Belarusian border. Since last December until today, nothing has been done to effectively secure the border from potential attack by a hostile regime, and at the same time protect human health and lives.

As civil society organizations, activists and residents of the border areas, we do not want and cannot remain silent in the face of the lawlessness and nightmare we are witnessing.

We appeal to all national and international institutions and organizations that take seriously the restoration of the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as to all citizens, to loudly oppose the violence and the pushback policy of the Donald Tusk government. This policy is claiming the lives of people.

We understand the need to ensure security from potential aggression by Russia and Belarus for those living in Poland, but we do not agree with endangering the lives of defenseless people. We do not agree with the normalization of violence and dehumanization of migrants. It is high time to put an end to the violations and suffering at the border.

We demand:

    • Restoration of the rule of law on the Polish-Belarusian border.
    • Conducting border protection policy with respect for international and domestic law.
    • Guaranteeing access to the asylum procedure, according to Geneva Convention and respecting the principle of non-refoulement.
    • Immediately stopping pushbacks.
    • Initiate administrative proceedings, as prescribed by law, for persons crossing the border.
    • Immediately stopping the violence at the border against people on the move.
    • Holding those responsible for the violence accountable.

    If you agree with our demands, please share them on your social media with the hashtag #stopborderviolence

    Grupa Granica
    Klub Inteligencji Katolickiej w Warszawie
    Stowarzyszenie Egala
    Stowarzyszenie No To Ci Pomogę
    Fundacja Polska Gościnność / Chlebem i Solą
    Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej
    Stowarzyszenie NOMADA
    Fundacja Polska Gościnność / Chlebem i Solą
    Fundacja Ocalenie
    Podlaskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Humanitarne
    Fundacja Wolno Nam
    Fundacja Międzynarodowa Inicjatywa Humanitarna
    Hope&Humanity Poland
    Helsińska Fundacja Praw Człowieka