Poland’s Catholic bishops call for solidarity with refugees amid Belarus border standoff

Poland’s Catholic bishops have appealed for solidarity with refugees amid rising tensions at the country’s border with Belarus.

Aug 28, 2021

A group of migrants trapped at the border between Poland and Belarus, near the Polish village of Usnarz Górny./ Wojtek Radwanski/AFP via Getty Images.


WARSAW:
Poland’s Catholic bishops have appealed for solidarity with refugees amid rising tensions at the country’s border with Belarus.

In an Aug 22 recent statement, the bishops described the situation at the Poland-Belarus border as “disturbing.” “Recently, there has been a disturbing phenomenon on our eastern border, where people from various countries try to get to Poland through Belarus,” said the communique issued by the Polish bishops’ council for migration, tourism, and pilgrimages.

“These are — not infrequently politically stimulated — consequences of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and more, resulting in the exodus of many people fearing for their own safety.

We are aware of the complexity of geopolitical conditions causing current migration processes.” “We are confident that those responsible for upholding the law will fully respect international obligations towards persons seeking protection, including the right to apply for international protection.”

Poland, a central European country with a population of 38 million, has sent troops to secure the roughly 250-mile border with Belarus as a record number of people attempt to cross the frontier. More than 2,000 people have sought to make the crossing so far this month. Since Aug 8, a group of 32 migrants has been trapped in a border area near the Polish village of Usnarz Górny.

“Border Guard officers, faced with the difficult challenge of protecting the country’s borders, should be given the possibility to direct people crossing the border to centres for foreigners,” said the statement signed by Bishop Krzysztof Zadarko, chairman of the bishops’ council for migration, tourism, and pilgrimages.

“Support from the state is also required for the activities of organisations supporting refugees, which have been limited in recent years.”

The bishops’ council called on Polish Catholics to uphold the Christian tradition of welcoming the stranger in need.

“Indifference is not an authentically Christian attitude. Let us ignite in ourselves the imagination of mercy which will allow us to join in helping those who need it, thus undertaking the mission of the Good Samaritan,” it said.

“We ask people of goodwill — regardless of their religion — to show solidarity with those who come to us as war refugees, persecuted, or destitute.”

The bishops’ council noted that for centuries Poles were forced to leave their homeland because of war and occupation.

“They experienced the help of people from other cultures and religions,” it said. “To deny newcomers their fundamental rights is to turn our back on our own history and to deny our Christian heritage.”--CNA

Total Comments:0

Name
Email
Comments