A Polish lawyer has launched a plan to provide support to migrants crossing the border towards his country from the side of Belarus illegally.
Camille Cieler called on citizens in the border area to turn on green lights to signal to the migrants their intention to provide them with shelter and food.
Posts in English, Polish and Arabic are posted on the Facebook page of the project, which Sealer runs, to draw the migrants’ attention to the signs.
Poland has recently witnessed a huge wave of immigrants entering its territory from Belarus.
Celer, who lives 5 kilometers from the border, said many migrants put themselves at risk by staying in the forests in icy temperatures rather than seeking help from local residents, because they were frightened that they could be sent back to Belarus.
At least six migrants have died near the border in recent weeks due to sub-zero temperatures.
“The migrants who knock on the doors in the border area will be given food, clothes, first aid and the ability to charge their phones,” Seller said in an interview with the Polish newspaper Wiborcza. He criticized the position of the Polish government on the issue.
“The authorities of our country, which have enacted harsh laws, which will soon come into force to return migrants, know that some will die because of this. We, the people of the border areas, will not allow their death. We will preserve our humanity,” he added.
Seller realizes that the green light on the rooftops can also draw the attention of the authorities, facilitating the arrest of migrants. He says he realizes that some will lure migrants with green lights and then hand them over to the authorities, who will in turn send them back to Belarus.
The authorities in Poland, Latvia and Lithuania reported a significant increase in the number of refugees from countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, crossing the border through Belarus.
Poland and the European Union accuse Belarus of encouraging migrants to cross its territory into the European Union, in retaliation for the European Union’s imposition of sanctions on it after its authorities forced a Ryanair plane to land there in May to arrest an anti-government activist.
This week, the Polish parliament passed a new bill allowing border guards to immediately return migrants if they cross the border illegally. The guards will be given powers to refuse asylum claims without examining them.
Human rights groups say international law requires Poland to provide assistance to anyone seeking asylum, even if they cross the border illegally.