In Poland, a lawless zone under the cover of a state of emergency

It is a real lawless zone, unprecedented in the European Union: along the Polish-Belarusian border, for nearly 400 kilometers, the Polish authorities established a state of emergency on September 2 , and extended it until December. Along with the state of natural disaster and the state of war, this is one of the three states of emergency authorizing significant restrictions on freedoms and civil rights.

As soon as the migration crisis triggered by the Belarusian regime reached Poland, and the first images of tragedies on the border began to move public opinion, the measure was passed in record time. Since then, neither the media, nor NGOs, nor any other monitoring institution have access to this area, which includes 183 rural communities, creating a real informational and humanitarian black hole. Only residents and public service employees can access it.

“It’s a kind of preventive censorship exercised on the media, denounces Maciej Piasecki, journalist for the investigation site EYE. press, who spent several weeks there. The will of the government is to prevent any reliable information from leaving the area. It is impossible to verify the information or videos that reach us. “

Arte journalists arrested

And deviations from this exceptional regime can be costly. At the end of September, the journalist of the Arte channel Ulrike Dässler, her cameraman and her companion, entered the area ” inadvertently “, were arrested and taken into custody before being presented, handcuffed, before a judge. Their video material was confiscated from them, before being returned to them. The team walked away with a reprimand.

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“It’s an outlaw area, where the police do what they want, denounces Anna Dabrowska, of the Homo Faber minority aid association. It is used to hide the brutal and illegal refoulements of border guards, and prevents the access of international NGOs, in a situation of humanitarian crisis. “ Most jurists, including those of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, argue that the establishment of a state of emergency, in the current situation, is in no way justified.

Since the measure cannot be implemented for more than 150 days, the government has found a way to prevent access to the border beyond the month of December. In view of the construction of a wall along the border, a special bill specifies that this zone cannot be approached within 200 meters due to the establishment of an “infrastructure of a strategic nature”.