Belarus: Thousands of refugees are still waiting for help

Status: 11.11.2021 8:57 a.m.

They spent another night in freezing temperatures in makeshift camps: Thousands of refugees are still waiting on the Belarusian-Polish border. So far there is no help in sight.

Thousands of refugees are still waiting for help at the Belarusian-Polish border. State-affiliated Belarusian media published during the night, among other things, videos of children crowding around a truck with drinking water.

Independent journalists are not allowed into the border area. According to Belarusian information, other people from the interior of the country are said to have run to the makeshift tent camps.

Today, the situation on the EU’s eastern external border is preoccupying the UN Security Council. France, Estonia and Ireland requested the meeting of the most powerful UN body for the afternoon (local time) in New York, as the German press agency learned from security council circles. The council is supposed to meet behind closed doors.

Further sanctions in the works

Meanwhile, the European states are preparing further sanctions against the authoritarian-led Belarus. After consultations with US President Joe Biden on Wednesday in the White House in Washington, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke of a “hybrid attack by an authoritarian regime”. According to diplomats, a new EU sanction instrument, which could be used against airlines or tour operators, is to be formally adopted next Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a humane solution to the refugee problem on the border between Poland, Lithuania and Latvia and Belarus. You have to solve the problem in such a way “that it is humane,” she said. “Unfortunately it doesn’t do that at the moment,” she added. “On the other hand, it is also important that the EU can protect its external borders.”

In a telephone conversation she asked the Russian President Vladimir Putin to influence the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko. “Because people are being used here. They are victims of an inhumane policy. Something must be done about this.” Belarus is financially dependent on Russia and receives support from Moscow even in the current situation.

Most of the smugglers apparently live in Germany

The majority of the arrested smugglers who help migrants from Belarus to flee to the European Union apparently live in Germany. The “Welt” reports, citing an internal confidential document of the EU Commission with the title “Situation report: Migration and refugee situation”. “Most of the reported cases” concern the arrest of drivers “who enable irregular migrants (mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Yemen) to get to Germany in rented cars through Poland.”

In most cases, the drivers are from third countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria or Turkey, “who live in Germany,” reports the “Welt”, citing the EU document.

Belarusians who were in possession of a Polish Schengen visa and Syrians living in the Netherlands were also among the arrested people smugglers. According to a report by the EU Commission, Germany and Finland are the main destinations for migrants currently on the Polish EU external border.

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