What is the biggest challenge to the European border since the 2015 migration where about a million migrants were allowed to cross the border?
Well, this new crisis has been manufactured by Alexander Lukashenko, the autocratic ruler of Belarus since 1994. All of this started this summer with Belarusian authorities promoting tours to Belarus by increasing connection with the Middle East, giving Belarusian visas to those who brought them, circulating fraudulent advice on social media on the rules of crossing the border to the prospective migrants. Those who arrived in Belarus were then transported to the Poland- Belarus border, where it is being alleged that the migrants were given wire cutters and axes to cut through borders and fences and enter the EU.
Those who did not manage to cross the border were forced by Belarusian authorities to stay there in freezing temperatures. But earlier in November, things caught fire when thousands of migrants tried to break into Poland and the Poland border guard fired water cannons and tear gas to quell them. Polish officials have vowed to prevent anyone from crossing the border. Poland has deployed hundreds of water cannons and troops on its border. Not only Poland but Lithuania and Latvia are facing the same problem. The three governments declared a state of emergency and announced their decisions to build border walls on their borders with Belarus.
As of now, due to the piercing cold and sparseness of food have moved from migrant camp to warehouse, and on the other hand, Iraq is trying to evacuate its citizens, almost 400 have been sent back to Iraq. While Poland and Lithuania reported a lower no. of attempts to cross their border. Only about 3000 to 4000 migrants are trying to break into borders but the situation can escalate. Till now 10 people have lost their lives because of the treacherous cold.
But, why all of sudden Belarus is creating a migrant crisis?
The answer to this question is ‘Alexander Lukashenko’.
In August 2020, Lukashenko claimed his sixth victory in the Belarusian presidential election, however, this has not been recognised in an official capacity by the United States, European Union, Canada, and their other allies. Protests erupted in Belarus as a result of this election, almost 35000 people were detained by the government. On 23 May 2021, a flight from Greece to Lithuania was intercepted while in Belarusian airspace and forced to land at Minsk National Airport where Roman Protasevich, blogger and activist, was arrested by the authorities. This incident led the European Union to ban Belarusian carriers from flying In EU airspace and imposing economic sanctions on Belarus. Not only the EU, but also the United States, the UK, and Canada issued a joint statement, announcing further sanctions against members and supporters of the Belarusian government. Belarus is a landlocked country and all these sanctions have put the country in a very compressed situation. Lukashenko lured migrants and forced them to cross the border, creating a difficult situation for the European Union.
The migrants and refugees, who have mostly come from war-torn nations, are now facing freezing conditions as they tried to survive in makeshift camps amid the dense forests at the border. It was reported that Belarus has moved many migrants to warehouses near the border and they are providing warm clothes and food to stranded refugees, it’s not clear what will happen to them next. The United Nations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement underlining that the human rights of the people at the border must be upheld under International Refugee Law, meaning that they should be allowed to try to claim asylum. But, EU and Poland authorities are resisting allowing people to cross into their territory.
Instead of solving the problem at hand, the EU and Poland are blaming the president of Belarus for using refugees and migrants as a way to antagonize them, which is true. Nobody cares about the people grinding between all this. They fled their home country, leaving behind them their people and culture, merely to be part of someone’s political agenda. Their value is nothing more than the puppet. How can political satisfaction be more than a human right?