Human rights defenders threatened at Poland-Belarus border

“I’m receiving a number of experiences of harassments from human rights defenders who help migrants and doc human rights violations in opposition to them, on the Polish-Belarusian border, and I’m deeply involved at this follow”, stated Mary Lawlor, Particular Rapporteur on the scenario of human rights defenders. 

Ms. Lawlor and Irene Khan, Particular Rapporteur on the suitable to freedom of opinion and expression, underscored that Poland should examine all harassment allegations and grant border entry to journalists and humanitarian staff to allow them to do their jobs freely and safely. 

Interpreters intimidated 

One instance, is the case of Jakub Sypiański, a volunteer interpreter helping migrants and asylum-seekers, who was reportedly stopped by armed troopers whereas driving dwelling final November.  

The troopers, who have been in an unmarked automobile, didn’t establish themselves nor clarify their actions.  

They compelled open the automotive door, took the keys out of the ignition and tried to drag Mr. Sypiański out by his legs.  

“Many of the migrants on the border don’t converse Polish”, stated Mary Lawlor. “Interpreters play an important position in guaranteeing their human rights are protected each on the border and in immigration detention centres.”   

‘Appalling’ behaviour 

In the identical time interval, armed troopers reportedly harassed journalists protecting the arrival of migrants and asylum seekers.  

Outdoors a navy camp, troopers – who didn’t establish themselves – stopped, searched, and handcuffed photojournalists Maciej Moskwa and Maciej Nabrdalik.  

The navy males then searched their tools, scrutinized their pictures, and documented their telephone messages and incoming calls. 

In the meantime, journalists Olivia Kortas and Christoph Kürbel, together with two native Polish residents, have been allegedly harassed by troopers whereas filming a documentary concerning the human rights scenario of migrants on the border. 

“Stories that these journalists are being persecuted for documenting such human rights violations are appalling”, stated Ms. Khan.  

Rapporteurs converse up  

The professional on the suitable to freedom of opinion defined that if they aren’t allowed to do their job, “there are very critical penalties for the human rights of migrants”.  

“Their work is essential for everybody’s entry to details about the scenario unfolding on the border”, she stated.  

Ms. Lawlor reminded that in response to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, interpreters, journalists, medics, legal professionals and others who peacefully work for the safety of human rights or who present humanitarian assist, are human rights defenders. 

“Poland ought to bear this in thoughts and make sure that they’re able to perform their legit work in a protected and enabling atmosphere and with full entry to the border space”, she said. 

Professional endorsements 

The specialists are involved with the Polish authorities on the matter. 

Their name to finish the human rights infringements was endorsed by Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants Felipe González Morales and, and the Working Group on arbitrary detention, comprised of Elina Steinerte (Chair-Rapporteur), Miriam Estrada-Castillo (Vice-Chair), Leigh Toomey, Mumba Malila, and Priya Gopalan,  

Particular Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to look at and report again on a selected human rights theme or a rustic scenario. The positions are honorary they usually paid for his or her work. 


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