WARSAW, Poland – The Polish government is planning to create container camps for asylum-seekers, with the interior minister saying Thursday that a similar system is working well in Hungary.
Such container camps would most likely be placed on the border with Belarus, where people from Chechnya and elsewhere — many of whom are victims of political repression — regularly try to enter Poland in hopes of seeking asylum.
The Helsinski Foundation for Human Rights in Warsaw said it would be harmful to detain people, especially families with children, under such conditions. The foundation also argued the step was unnecessary because Poland is not facing a major influx of migrants, with only about 1,200 asylum applications submitted last year.
The Gazeta Wyborcza daily reported that the plan for detaining asylum seeks involves putting them in containers behind barbed wire.
"If there is an emergency situation, we must be prepared for all scenarios," Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said Thursday on Radio Zet.
Hungary has container camps on the border with Serbia surrounded by razor-wire and high fences. It has come under sharp criticism by the European Union for its treatment of migrants, and both Poland and Hungary have faced criticism for refusing to accept any of the hundreds of thousands of migrants who arrived in Europe in 2015.
Poland remains opposed to accepting Muslims, which the government considers a threat to the nation's Catholic culture.