Poland's border guard registered 468 border crossers coming from its eastern neighbor, Belarus, over the past 24 hours, something which has been of regular magnitude lately and also illustrates the sheer pressure on the border. ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Thursday. One migrant, an Iraqi national, told the show that he had had to pay €9,000 for his family of three to make the journey from Turkey to Minsk.
The family was intercepted near the Bialowieza forest in Poland after a journey that lasted the whole night.
"There is no life in my country, things are so difficult there. You work all day and only receive $10 for that. There are no opportunities for creating a better future for your child," the individual, named Sagvan, told AK.
Sagvan said the family would like to go anywhere else except back home. "Maybe to Germany, Belgium, Sweden, the U.K. Anywhere but back to my home country," he said, adding that Poland would be fine too. "I'm here now."
Sagvan had been looking for a better life with his wife Iman, his one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Pelin and also a friend, Abdrahman. He said that the journey from Turkey to Minsk cost them $9,000, while the onward journey from Poland to Germany would cost another $1,200.
"You can't come here on your own. You need someone's help," Sagvan said.
Similar stories are common on the Poland-Belarus border, AK reported, something which the Polish border guard confirmed.
A few minutes after speaking to Sagvan, additional Polish border guards arrive, while a local activist, Magdalena, who is trying to offer legal aid to the arrivals, said that the border guard has been sending many of them back into the forest and then across the border, often forcibly.
"They are pushed back, and thrown into the forest. One man said he had been sent back at least four times already," Magdalena told AK.
Sagvan's story does not give him much hope of success in applying for asylum. However, the Polish authorities assured ERR that a fair application procedure is guaranteed for all those who apply for asylum on Polish territory.
Editor: Roberta Vaino