BERLIN (dpa) – On Friday, the federal government called for a “humane” approach to migrants on the EU’s external border with Belarus.
Thousands of people from Syria, Iraq and other conflict-ridden countries have traveled to Belarus in the last few months in the hope of entering Poland. From there, many try to seek protection in other EU countries such as Germany.
The 27-nation bloc accuses Belarus of helping the migrants to put pressure on the EU, which has imposed sanctions on the government of authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Human rights groups, meanwhile, criticize Poland’s treatment of migrants who are being pushed back into Belarus despite worsening weather conditions.
A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Lukashenko had “instrumentalized refugees and migrants, and that is completely unacceptable”.
“At the same time, effective border protection must always respect humanity and applicable law,” said Steffen Seibert to reporters in Berlin.
“From the point of view of the federal government, the most important thing is that the people who are now on the border … get the support they need quickly, especially now, when the temperatures are falling,” he said. “Human solutions for these people have to be found quickly.”
Merkel discussed the issue with the Polish Prime Minister during a visit to Warsaw last month.
Follow AP’s global migration reporting at https://apnews.com/hub/migration