Berlin warns of mounting humanitarian crisis on Poland-Belarus border

Merkel’s spokesman urges Poland to treat refugees ‘in accordance with European, international law, European values’.

Berlin warns of mounting humanitarian crisis on Poland-Belarus border

Germany said on Friday it was concerned over the deteriorating humanitarian crisis along Poland's border with Belarus, as migrants from the Middle East continue to flock there in a bid to enter the EU.

Speaking to media representatives in the capital Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said: "I think the first thing you have to say again is that the Belarusian ruler, Mr (Alexander) Lukashenko, is instrumentalizing refugees and migrants and that is completely unacceptable. And at the same time, effective border protection must always respect humanity and applicable law."

"From the point of view of the federal (German) government, it is primarily important that the people who are now on the border, those seeking protection, that they quickly get the necessary support, especially now with the falling temperatures. That they can get clothes, food, necessary medicines. So humane solutions for these people have to be found quickly," he added.

International aid organizations have warned that with night frosts setting in and winter fast approaching, the conditions for migrants on the Poland-Belarus border region are becoming increasingly critical.

Meanwhile, Seibert called on Poland to treat the refugees "in accordance with European and international law and European values."

Several migrants are already known to have died in the border area in recent weeks.

Poland is presently building a fence along the 418-kilometer (260-mile) border, which is largely made up of thick forest.

On Sept. 2, a 30-day state of emergency was declared on a 3-kilometer-wide strip of the border. As a consequence, aid workers and media representatives are not permitted to enter the crisis area.

Warsaw is currently contemplating to extend the state of emergency for an additional 60 days.


Hüseyin Demir