The migration crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus has prompted the Polish authorities to begin construction of a dividing fence to block the passage of migrants considered illegal. The barrier is budgeted at around 340 million euros and is expected to be completed in June.
A 5.5 meter high wall will now be part of the landscape on the border between Poland and Belarus. The barrier will extend along 186 of the 399 kilometers of the common border between both nations, where there is already an extensive network of barbed wire and a military presence 24 hours a day.
Poland’s decision to erect a border wall was made in November 2021, when the migration crisis was at its worst, as thousands of people tried to cross without documents into the European Union through Polish territory, passing through Belarus.
At the time, Warsaw called the situation a “hybrid war” by Minsk, so it began protecting its border with more than 15,000 police and military officers. In addition, the Polish government tightened immigration laws to allow “hot” expulsions and deny asylum requests.
In three months (October 2021 to January 2022), there were more than 40,000 failed undocumented infiltration attempts from Belarus and at least 12 people lost their lives. The authorities present at the border were the biggest obstacle for the migrants, but also the low temperatures, respiratory diseases and dehydration.
The wall that worries human rights defenders
Border guard spokeswoman Polish captain Krystyna Jakimik-Jarosz told the AFP news agency that the nearly 186 kilometers of metal barrier will be equipped with cameras and motion detectors to help border guards prevent illegal crossings. .
“The temporary fence (of barbed wire) has already helped us a lot, because it gave us time to prepare ourselves while a group of migrants was preparing to attack, to open a passage, the time to mobilize sufficient means and personnel to avoid it,” said the military.
For her part, Lieutenant Anna Michalska told Polish media that, as of this Tuesday, January 25, the vehicles of the contractors who will build the wall will be allowed access to the area.
Currently, any non-resident person is prohibited from accessing the border perimeter, including journalists and humanitarian organizations, which has raised concern from human rights activists, as they fear that migrants will not be able to apply for asylum.
The new wall will be 5.5 meters high and will extend along 186 of the 399 kilometers of the common border between Poland and Belarus. The cost is about 340 million euros, of which about 24 million correspond to the installation of security cameras and motion sensors.
With AFP and EFE