Since July 2021, thousands of people have been attempting to reach the EU by crossing from Belarus into Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Following an increase in the volume of crossing attempts, Poland declared an emergency status in September, preventing people from crossing and limiting humanitarian organisations’ ability to reach people in need. The Polish Government has announced lifting the emergency status on 1 July 2022.
This report outlines the living conditions and needs of migrants and asylum seekers stranded in the Poland-Belarus border area as a result of a political crisis and migration policies. It is an update of a similar ACAPS report published in December 2021 here.
Approximately 3.5 million people have arrived in Poland from Ukraine since 24 February 2022. This number corresponds to roughly 53% of the 6.5 million people who have fled Ukraine because of the war. Although many Ukrainians choose Poland as a destination because of its cultural and linguistic proximity, the vast length of its border, and a large Ukrainian diaspora already living in the country, it is uncertain how many migrants and refugees intend to stay in Poland and how many have already moved to other locations.
Thousands of migrants have been arriving to the Belarusian border since July 2021. As at 13 November, an estimated 20,000 migrants and asylum seekers are present in Belarus. At least 5,000 people are stuck on the Poland-Belarus border without adequate access to services or assistance. Migrants and asylum seekers (mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria) intending to cross into the EU have arrived in Belarus since late July. Some have been stranded in the border areas for weeks because of ‘pushback’ policies by Polish border control and coercion by Belarusian officials to cross again.