7 steps to restore the rule of law and respect for human rights on the Polish-Belarusian border 

11.03.2024
The rights of migrants
7 steps to restore the rule of law and respect for human rights on the Polish-Belarusian border

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights presents recommendations on actions that should be taken by the authorities of the Republic of Poland so that on the Polish-Belarusian border, and in fact on the entire territory of the Republic of Poland, the rule of law and guarantees of respect for human rights and freedoms are restored.

Taking the proposed measures, which boil down to de facto respect for domestic law and applicable standards of international law, does not threaten Poland's security, nor does it compromise public order in any way. On the contrary, it will lead to the restoration of legal order at the border and bring migratory movements under state control, while respecting the rights of migrants and without bringing the risk of loss of health or life to them. It will also end the state of chaos caused, among other things, by the Border Guard's use of the blatantly unlawful procedure of turning back to the border line (pushback), as described in § 3(2b) of the Regulation of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration of March 13, 2020 on temporary suspension or restriction of border traffic at certain border crossings (the so-called: Border Regulation).

The Foundation's proposed line of action is:

  • recognition of the jurisdiction of the Polish state in the strip of land lying between the actual border line and the border barrier,
  • respecting the right of migrants to seek international protection in Poland,
  • Immediate repeal of the unlawful Border Ordinance,
  • changing the treatment of border crossers who do not declare their intention to apply for international protection,
  • creating legal paths of entry to Poland for those seeking such protection,
  • Amending Article 303b of the Aliens Act, which establishes a simplified procedure for obliging foreigners to leave Poland, towards ensuring adequate standards of respect for human rights,
  • ratification of the UN Convention of 20 December 2006 on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The recommendations of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights were sent to the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, Professor Maciej Duszczyk, on March 5, 2024.