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UN rights chief urges ‘de-escalation’ of Poland-Belarus disaster

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Michelle Bachelet calls on Warsaw and Minsk to resolve ‘insupportable scenario’ at shared frontier, the place a whole lot of persons are stranded in freezing circumstances.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has known as on Belarus and Poland to de-escalate the “insupportable” migrant disaster on their shared border and stated these stranded on the frontier shouldn’t spend one other evening with out shelter in freezing temperatures.

Bachelet’s remarks on Wednesday got here after Warsaw stated it had moved hundreds extra troops to the border after a whole lot of individuals tried overnight to cross from Belarus into Poland.

Minsk accused Polish safety forces of illegally pushing asylum seekers again into Belarus.

A whole lot of persons are at present camped alongside the border, a fraction of the estimated 4,000 migrants and refugees gathered in areas close to the frontier, together with close by forests.

“I urge the states concerned to take quick steps to de-escalate and resolve this insupportable scenario according to their obligations underneath worldwide human rights regulation and refugee regulation,” Bachelet stated in a press release.

“These a whole lot of males, ladies and kids should not be pressured to spend one other evening in freezing climate with out satisfactory shelter, meals, water and medical care,” she stated. “Underneath worldwide regulation, nobody ought to ever be prevented from in search of safety, and particular person consideration should be given to their safety wants.”

Bachelet known as for entry for support staff, legal professionals and journalists to these stranded.

She stated that actions by each Warsaw and Minsk “together with via the elevated deployment of troops – and accompanying inflammatory rhetoric” had elevated the vulnerability and dangers confronted by the migrants.

‘Manifestation of state terrorism’

Poland and different European Union member states accuse Belarus of encouraging migrants and refugees to attempt to cross the shared border in revenge for Western sanctions on Minsk imposed within the wake of a disputed August 2020 election that handed longtime President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth time period in workplace.

The bloc’s 27 ambassadors are set to agree on Wednesday that the rising numbers of individuals flying to Belarus to succeed in the EU border quantity to “hybrid warfare” by Lukashenko – a authorized foundation for brand new penalties reportedly set to focus on dozens of Belarusian people and entities.

European Council President Charles Michel stated the bloc should act with “solidarity” over the border disaster whereas visiting Warsaw on Wednesday.

“We face a hybrid, brutal, violent and unworthy assault, and we are able to solely reply to this with firmness and unity, in accordance with our core values,” he informed reporters at a joint press convention with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who described the unfolding scenario as a “manifestation of state terrorism”.

Minsk, which is backed by Russia, denies engineering the migrant disaster and as a substitute blames European powers and the USA for the plight of these stranded.

Moscow has charged the EU with accountability for the scenario and denounced Western plans for additional sanctions on Belarus, a rustic it regards as a strategic buffer in opposition to NATO, as unacceptable.

Russia has dispatched two nuclear-capable strategic bombers to patrol Belarusian airspace in a present of assist for its ally.