MIL-OSI NGOs: New ban on Poland-Belarus Border risks blocking MSF from people in need

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Source: Médecins Sans Frontières –

  • MSF calls on the Polish authorities to urgently reconsider a ban on MSF and civil society groups accessing parts of the Eastern border zone.
  • Civil society groups need to operate independently and have unrestricted access to the border area, an imperative to delivering lifesaving assistance to people in need.

Warsaw, 11 June 2024 – MSF is concerned that the Polish Ministry of Interior’s new ban on accessing part of its Eastern border zone near the Polish-Belarusian border will risk blocking civil society access to people seeking protection, potentially leading to life-threatening consequences for those unable to receive necessary humanitarian and medical relief. 
Data collected by MSF underscores the need for medical aid beyond what the National Border Guard Search and Rescue Teams or Military Units can provide, highlighting the critical necessity for civil society access. 

Despite the postponement of the ban’s implementation for wider consultations and the reduction of the restricted area, the impending enforcement of the buffer zone ranging from 200 meters to 2 kilometres on Thursday, 13 June, raises significant concerns. 

The devastating consequences of restricted access in 2021 serve as a stark reminder of the importance of allowing humanitarian and civil society organizations to operate independently. 

MSF calls on the Polish authorities to urgently reconsider the ban and ensure that all individuals in need can access asylum/protection procedures, humanitarian assistance and medical care.