Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Polish parliament denies unlimited media access at Belarus border

Poland’s president signed legislation on Tuesday that would limit access to aid donations and journalists to its border with Belarus as the country grapples with a raging migrant crisis.

The law is a setback for opposition parties who advocated for unlimited media access, an amendment approved by the upper house of parliament on Friday but rejected by the lower house.

Under a state of emergency declared in the border area in September and ending at midnight, media and aid donations were completely banned. The opposition said the ban was intended to cover up rights abuses and sought unfettered access.

The government said the restrictions were necessary for security reasons.

Under the new rules, the interior minister can limit access to the border area after consultation with the head of the border area. However, journalists and NGOs may be able to enter at the discretion of local border guard chiefs.

Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said Tuesday night he would order a temporary ban on entry into areas around the border.

The EU accused Minsk of engineering the migrant crisis to hit back at the sanctions. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko accused the EU of deliberately provoking a humanitarian crisis.

Poland’s Human Rights Ombudsman has criticized the new law, saying it empowers the interior minister to limit freedom of movement and access information about what is happening at the border indefinitely.

While the situation on the border has calmed down since mid-November, when Polish security forces fired water cannons at migrants throwing rocks, it was still night by groups to force their way through barbed wire fences on the border. Efforts are being made.

The Polish border guard said Monday it had made 134 attempts to cross the border with Belarus.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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