Seebrücke activists want to pick up refugees in Poland

Since Belarus stopped blocking their way, more and more migrants have come to Poland. Now activists want to bring refugees from the Polish-Belarusian border directly to Germany.

Berlin – Activists from Germany want to take migrants and refugees from Poland to Germany by bus next week.

The bus from the Seebrücke Deutschland and LeaveNoOneBehind initiatives will also bring relief supplies for refugees near the Polish-Belarusian border on Monday, as the organizers announced on Friday.

“The Ministry of the Interior is asked that the bus be given permission on the return journey to bring refugees safely to Germany as a sign of European solidarity,” said the Seebrücke initiative, which is committed to rescuing boat refugees in the Mediterranean . The activists reported that a request was sent to the Federal Ministry of the Interior on Thursday.

“Consequences under criminal law”

“Unauthorized transport and any unauthorized entry can result in criminal prosecution,” said the ministry spokesman, Steve Alter, when asked whether the activists could count on a permit. “The announcement of such a procedure does not change anything,” he told the German press agency. In addition, there are no considerations for a reception program for people from Belarus. The federal government is also interested in observing the Dublin rules, which determine in which EU member state a person seeking protection has to apply for asylum.

Responding to EU sanctions

In response to EU sanctions, the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko announced in the spring that he would no longer stop migrants heading for the European Union. The EU accuses him of literally smuggling people from crisis areas. Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are strengthening their external borders with Belarus. Nevertheless, many of them now make it to Germany.

In October, the federal police registered 5,285 unauthorized entries related to Belarus in the border area. According to the Federal Police, 572 further unauthorized entries by foreigners who had traveled via Belarus were found in the first four days of November.

There are actually no controls at the EU’s internal borders. However, there are exceptions that Germany and some other countries make use of. For example, the German police have been checking the border with Austria since autumn 2015, but not nationwide. At the German-Austrian border, despite stationary controls, significantly fewer unauthorized entries were noticed than in the border area with Poland.

The majority of those entering via Belarus and Poland are from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Iran. The Polish border area with Belarus has been declared a restricted zone. Journalists and helpers are not allowed. dpa

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