Poland-Belarus Border: New ban on Eastern Border risks blocking MSF and civil society from reaching people in need

Warsaw, 11 June 2024 – MSF is concerned that the Polish Ministry of Interior’s new ban on accessing part of its Eastern border zone near the Polish-Belarusian border will risk blocking civil society access to people seeking protection, potentially leading to life-threatening consequences for those unable to receive necessary humanitarian and medical relief.

Data collected by MSF underscores the need for medical aid beyond what the National Border Guard Search and Rescue Teams or Military Units can provide, highlighting the critical necessity for civil society access.

Despite the postponement of the ban’s implementation for wider consultations and the reduction of the restricted area, the impending enforcement of the buffer zone ranging from 200 meters to 2 kilometres on Thursday, 13 June, raises significant concerns.

The devastating consequences of restricted access in 2021 serve as a stark reminder of the importance of allowing humanitarian and civil society organizations to operate independently.

MSF calls on the Polish authorities to urgently reconsider the ban and ensure that all individuals in need can access asylum/protection procedures, humanitarian assistance and medical care.

A Polish soldier in his camp, between an observation pulpit and a wooden hut. ©MSF
Electronic surveillance tower and concertina entanglements over the border river. In the background is one of the many soldiers’ wood-fired booths from the natural reserve. ©MSF

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