The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply concerned by the dire conditions that migrants are facing at the European Union-Belarus border.
Reports of cross-border pushbacks of migrants, including families and children, lack of adequate access to asylum for those seeking international protection as well as shelter and assistance are particularly alarming. The Organization is monitoring the situation closely and emphasizes that migrants should not be instrumentalized. Their protection and respect of human rights must be at the heart of any State response.
Border management – while a sovereign prerogative of States – must be aligned with States’ obligations under international and regional law. We call on all States to ensure that rule of law is upheld and applied at the borders, at any given time, and human rights and freedoms of all migrants are respected, regardless of immigration status.
Many migrants have been stranded at the EU-Belarus border in extremely harsh conditions, with limited access to drinking water and food, medical assistance, sanitation facilities and shelter for several weeks. Prolonging this unacceptable situation poses a grievous threat to the migrants’ lives and health. IOM urges States to ensure people’s well-being, and human rights, including dignity and humane treatment, and to allow humanitarian access to all migrants in need of assistance.
IOM further appeals for restraint, dialogue, and international cooperation, and stands ready to support concerned States with any necessary actions to ensure the effective management of migration, that can reduce vulnerabilities and ensure that the vital needs of migrants are met.