Home World Belarus clears migrant camp at the border. One year old child dies in the forest where he had been staying with his parents for a month

Belarus clears migrant camp at the border. One year old child dies in the forest where he had been staying with his parents for a month

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A one-year-old boy who died in the cold and hardship in the forest on the border between Belarus and Poland, after a month and a half spent with his Syrian parents in extreme conditions in the hope of arriving in Europe.

While political and diplomatic efforts are multiplied to overcome the crisis on the eastern route, with the evacuation of the camp at the border and a first flight of repatriation to Iraq, the tragic end of the little migrant brings the humanitarian tragedy back to the fore. “It is heartbreaking to see a child die of cold at the gates of Europe. The exploitation of migrants and asylum seekers must stop, inhumanity must stop ”, tweeted the president of the EU Parliament, David Sassoli.

The drama of the Syrian child emerged during the night, when the operators of the Polish Center for International Aid carried out an intervention in freezing temperatures following an emergency signal. In the forest, rescuers said they found a couple of injured Syrians – the man with an arm injury, the woman with a knife cut to the leg – and their now lifeless son.

On the spot, adds the NGO, a young man in conditions of dehydration and malnutrition was also treated. So far, at least 11 victims have been reported at the border by doctors and activists. But just in these hours from Minsk there are signs of openness towards the EU request for a de-escalation.

The Belarusian authorities reported that they had cleared the camp in the border area between the Belarusian village of Bruzgi and the Polish village of Kuznica, where about two thousand people had been camping in makeshift tents for days. The migrants, the Polish border guards confirmed, were transferred to a facility a few hundred meters away.

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A first turning point came after the pressing of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who twice this week heard from President Alexander Lukashenko, amidst criticism from Warsaw for fears of legitimization of the Minsk regime. After the Berlin intervention, the repatriation to Iraq of a first group of 431 migrants arrived today with an Iraqi Airways flight that made a stopover first in Erbil, in Kurdistan from which most of them came, and then in Baghdad : a return that for the Kurdish-Iraqi authorities would have taken place on a voluntary basis.

Before the eviction, it had been another tense night at the border. The Warsaw Defense Ministry reported the arrest of another 200 migrants, accused of having entered the country illegally by exploiting the diversion created by a stone throwing at Polish border guards. According to Belarus, there are around 7,000 migrants on its territory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin used harsh words, whipping the West and accusing it of using the emergency “to put pressure on Minsk”, an ally of Moscow, “but forgetting his humanitarian obligations”.

From Germany, the German Interior Minister, Ernst Seehofer, denied the Belarusian presidency according to which Germany would be ready to welcome two thousand migrants blocked on the border for a couple of weeks.

And from Brussels, the EU pointed out that there is no question of negotiations with Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarusian regime, but only technical talks “to facilitate repatriation”.

Meanwhile, humanitarian works are moving where the tragedy of the exiles is taking place. Polish Caritas has set up a center on the border with Belarus to help migrants. In seven parishes of the archdiocese of Białystok, the “Tents of Hope” have been built. They collect food, clothing, blankets, that is, the most necessary things that can support migrants. The value of the aid provided by Caritas in support of migrants in Poland has exceeded one million złoty, the Polish Bishops’ Conference announced.

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Caritas Polska stressed that its activity on the Polish-Belarusian border is aimed at helping not only migrants who have entered Poland and are in need of support. “For as long as the crisis lasts we will be close to all those in need. In the activities of Caritas we try to keep in mind all the groups affected by this crisis: migrants, refugees, the inhabitants of those territories and the police “, said the director of Caritas Polska who also recalled that next Sunday in the churches from all over Poland fundraising will be held in favor of migrants and refugees.

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