Friday, July 24, 2020

Poland and International Law

The U.N. Refugee Agency urged Poland to help people fleeing war and persecution after Europe’s human rights court ruled Warsaw had broken an international convention by denying asylum procedures to refugees.

Critics of the government say it is shirking its humanitarian responsibilities, exploiting anti-migrant feeling in Europe and pandering to populist sentiment at home.

 The European Court of Human Rights, hearing lawsuits brought by a total of 13 Russians, said Poland had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by denying them the possibility of applying for international protection. States have an obligation under international law to protect those who seek asylum by permitting them access to territory and safe reception, the UNHCR refugee agency said in a statement.

“People fleeing war, violence and persecution need protection,” said Anne-Marie Deutschlander, UN Refugee Agency head for Europe. “Refusal to grant them entry at the border, without properly assessing their claims, is in dichotomy with the country’s obligations.”

“It seems that after the European refugee crisis, the Polish government decided that acting against refugees will help it in opinion polls, hence such policy was conducted,” Jacek Bialas, lawyer at Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights said.

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