A 16-year-old Syrian suffering from epilepsy, who, according to volunteers, has already been returned to Belarus twice, went to the University Children’s Teaching Hospital in Białystok on Friday. As reported by a TVN24 reporter, the teenager was taken from there by Border Guard officers to the facility in Bobrowniki. According to the border guards, procedures are to be initiated to ensure the boy’s international protection in Poland. The case of the 16-year-old is monitored by the Office of the Human Rights Defender.
Obadah, a 16-year-old Syrian, as reported on Friday at 20.30 TVN24 reporter Piotr Czaban, has behind him two so-called pushbacks, i.e. deportations towards Belarus. On December 23, he was to cross illegally from Belarus to Poland for the first time together with his brother, one year older. According to Czaban’s account, a day later the group that included the 16-year-old was turned back by the Border Guard to Belarus.
As the TVN24 reporter said, his older brother and companion, who was also in the migrant group, managed to get to Germany.
The 16-year-old made another attempt to get to Poland on December 29. Czaban reported that the teenager was arrested in Białystok by the city police and handed over to the Border Guard.
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Border Guard announcement
On Friday, the Border Guard confirmed on its Twitter profile that on December 29 the teenager was taken from Poland to Belarus.
The announcement announced that “on December 29, Border Guard officers carried out activities against a group of five Syrian citizens, including a teenager (he will turn 17 in January 2022). “The teenager traveled with a guardian – a family member. The detained persons were transported by car by a Georgian citizen, the organizer of the illegal border crossing. The man was supposed to take foreigners to Germany” – added.
“During the several-hour-long activities carried out by Border Guard officers, none of the citizens of Syria declared their willingness to apply for international protection in Poland. They constantly expressed their willingness to reach Germany. he did not require medical assistance and no one asked for it. On the basis of the regulations in force, these persons received orders to leave the territory of our country and were brought to the border line “- we read in a press release by the Border Guard.
Activists question the statements in the Border Guard’s communiqué
According to the report of TVN24 reporter Piotr Czaban, the activists who deal with the 16-year-old’s case are in constant contact with the boy’s family and claim that the family denies that any family member should accompany the boy on this trip.
As the reporter said, the two brothers were to set off towards Germany with the consent of the family. There, their aunt and uncle are to be waiting for them, who are to have the powers of attorney given by the boys’ parents.
16-year-old Syrian found by activists in the forest
On Friday, the Syrian was once again found by volunteers from the Granica Group in a Polish forest. As reported by the TVN24 reporter, the dispatcher from the emergency number 112 directed the activists to the hospital in Sokółka, where the Border Guard also came. However, there is no neurological department in this hospital.
Piotr Czaban said that after a few hours it was decided to transport the 16-year-old to a hospital in Białystok. In the ambulance he was accompanied by a representative of the Salvation Foundation and border guards.
– He was very tired, exhausted, he was probably in hypothermia because he had very strong shivers. We had to help him get to the hospital because he was not able to come on his own. But he slept a bit in the hospital in Sokółka. He also got a hot meal. He must have been a little stressed out, so he felt better – said Marianna Wartecka from the Ocrzenie Foundation on TVN24.
She added, when the teenager went to the ambulance that brought him to Białystok, “he has already passed it on his own”.
The TVN24 reporter reported that the boy suffers from epilepsy, which was confirmed by a neurologist from Białystok, who wrote him a prescription for the same drugs that the Syrian was supposed to take before. He added that Polish border guards stopped by a pharmacy in Białystok and filled this prescription.
As Piotr Czaban reported around 20.30, a 16-year-old Syrian was on his way from the hospital to the Border Guard post in Bobrowniki. One of the border guards was to convey that the boy would not be pushed to Belarus, and procedures would be initiated at the Border Guard post to ensure him international protection in Poland.
Commissioner for the Human Rights Defender: we are monitoring the case of a 16-year-old Syrian
The case of the 16-year-old Syrian became interested in the Office of the Human Rights Defender. – We monitor the case, that is, we appeal to the Border Guard, we ask what actions are, were and will be undertaken in relation to the boy. We would like to point out that this is an unaccompanied minor and we would like to point out that it requires special attention – Marcin Sośniak from the Office of the Human Rights Defender told TVN24.
– This interest, at least from the Ombudsman, activists and activists, is also received, so there is hope that appropriate procedures will be taken towards him and that he will be able to stay in Poland and apply for international protection, because such information also reaches us, that he wants to apply for such protection in Poland – he added.
The situation on the Polish-Belarusian border
Since the beginning of the year, the Border Guard has recorded nearly 40,000 attempts to illegally cross the Polish-Belarusian border. In November there were 8.9 thousand attempts to illegally cross the border, in October – 17.5 thousand, September – 7.7 thousand, in August – 3.5 thousand.
From December 1 to March 1, it is forbidden to stay in the strip near the border with Belarus, from which, inter alia, residents or local entrepreneurs. Pursuant to the amendment to the law, which made it possible to introduce this prohibition, for a specified period and on specific terms, the commanding officer of the Border Guard may allow other persons, in particular journalists, to stay in this area. In this situation, media representatives must apply for accreditation in order to be able to work at the border with Belarus. Journalists’ visits are organized and take place under the supervision of the Border Guard.
The ban was introduced in 183 localities in the Podlaskie and Lubelskie voivodships adjacent to the border with Belarus. Previously, a state of emergency was in force in the same area.
The restrictions in the border area are a response to the crisis caused by the regime of Belarus on its borders with the European Union.
Main photo source: TVN24