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UNHCR calls on Poland to ensure access for people seeking asylum

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UNHCR calls on Poland to ensure access for people seeking asylum

24 July 2020
Poland. Chechen children mingle happily in village school
Raisa, an asylum-seeker from Chechnya, sits beside her four-year-old son Yusuf, during the first assembly of the new school year in Berezówka, Poland, September 2018.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, calls on the Government of Poland to ensure that people who wish to seek international protection have access to territory and asylum in Poland, in line with international obligations accepted by the country.

On Thursday (23 July), in the case referred to as M.K. and Others v. Poland, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that by denying access to asylum procedures Poland violated several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Taking note of the court’s ruling, UNHCR reiterates its readiness to assist the Polish authorities in meeting their EU and international obligations.

Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right, safeguarded by both EU and international refugee law, including the 1951 Refugee Convention to which Poland is a signatory.

“People fleeing war, violence and persecution need protection. Refusal to grant them entry at the border, without properly assessing their claims, is in dichotomy with the country’s obligations”, said Anne-Marie Deutschlander, UNHCR’s acting regional Director for Europe.

UNHCR has consistently reiterated the legitimate right of States to manage their borders. However, States also have an obligation under international law to protect those who seek asylum by permitting them access to territory and safe reception. Safe border management and providing safe haven for refugees are not mutually exclusive. UNHCR remains ready to assist any government in effectively combining the two.


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