Europe

Poland criticized for returning asylum-seekers to Belarus

Human Rights Watch has accused Poland of endangering asylum-seekers who attempt to enter the country from Belarus by denying them the right to apply for asylum and returning them to its autocratic neighbor.

The human rights group said most of the asylum-seekers come from Chechnya but also include citizens of Tajikistan and Georgia. Up to 200-300 people tried to seek asylum in Poland each day in the spring and summer of 2016, while the numbers have fallen to 40 to 80 per day this winter.

Lydia Gall, the group's Balkans and Eastern Europe researcher, said: "Trapping families and others at the Belarus border and refusing to hear their asylum claims is no way for an EU state to behave."