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Poland pushes back thousands of refugees, many fleeing crackdown in Tajikistan
15 August 2016
"With the election of a right-wing government in Poland in late 2015 boasting an openly anti-migrant platform, things are looking increasingly bleak for Tajik refugees headed to Europe. While the Polish Border Guard insists that it is merely upholding Schengen regulations and “fighting illegal migration,” Polish NGOs and human rights organizations accuse the Polish authorities of engaging in illegal push-backs of Tajik asylum seekers in particular in the buffer zone between the Polish and Belarusian checkpoints, away from the eyes of UNHCR and other outside observers...
Despite the dramatic increase in their numbers, the plight of Tajik asylum seekers on the Polish border remains on the margins of the broader European refugee crisis. Poland may be witnessing an unprecedented spike in arrivals, but the Tajik influx is overshadowed by the much larger flows fleeing violence and persecution in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East. There is also little evidence to suggest that Tajik migration to Poland may turn into a broader exodus from Central Asia as the numbers of asylum seekers from neighboring countries has been close to zero. Should the type of political crackdown seen in Tajikistan emerge in other Central Asian countries, we could well see more Central Asian refugees making their way to the Polish border. For the time being, Tajik refugees are stuck in limbo between persecution from an authoritarian government at home and the unwillingness of Polish authorities to provide them the protection they are so desperately searching for."
See: The Quiet Tajik Refugee Crisis
(The Diplomat, link)
And: Polish Helsinki Foundation: Access to asylum denied in Poland
(pdf): "For the past several months we have been observing an increase in the number of reports from individuals who were denied the possibility to apply for international protection at eastern border crossing points of Poland, in particular in Brest/Terespol (a border crossing point between Belarus and Poland). The reports say that, in spite of repeated (even up to 10-15 times), clearly formulated requests, invoking the experience of persecution in the country of origin, asylum seekers are refused the right to lodge an application and enter Poland."