IOM and UNHCR visits migrants at the Belarus-Poland boarder
15 November 2021
Bruzgi, 11 November 2021.
IOM Belarus and UNHCR Belarus were granted access to the temporary refugee camp on the Belarusian side of the borderline near Bruzgi border crossing, where nearly 2,000 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants have been staying since 8 November. There are many children and women, including pregnant ones, among them.
As part of their visit, UNHCR and IOM delivered certain emergency aid: personal hygiene products for children and women as well as food products. In the nearest possible time, more vital assistance will be provided, namely, blankets, warm clothes, gloves, hats and shoes for children, which will be delivered by the Belarusian Red Cross, the organizations' partner.
This is the emergency aid indeed, as the major priority now is to prevent deaths and to work with the authorities to convince them of the need to move people to safe places where they can get necessary help and consultation services and where solutions can be found for each specific situation and people's needs. The spontaneous camp at the border lacking appropriate housing, food, water and medical assistance as well as the temperatures below zero are rather dangerous for people and may lead to their subsequent deaths.
When visiting the camp IOM and UNHCR representatives were able to talk to the migrants and provide the trustworthy information on possible options available to them. Subject to people's personal circumstances and needs, the option for those in need of international protection is to claim asylum in Belarus. Besides, some asylum seekers and refugees may have valid reasons for moving, including for the purposes of family reunification in the EU. Another option is provided by the IOM assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programme, which enables a dignified, safe and legal return and is based on a person's free choice.
IOM and UNHCR stand ready to cooperate with the authorities of the countries to ensure the observance of human rights and safety of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.