Sejm passes draft amendment to border protection law

TVN24 News in English, Reuters
Sejm przyjął nowelizację ustawy o ochronie granicy
Sejm przyjął nowelizację ustawy o ochronie granicyTVN24
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TVN24Poland's lower house passes draft amendment to border protection law

The Sejm passed a draft amendment to the border protection law on Wednesday. If ratified, the legislation will allow the authorities to ban people from the border area. Such temporary bans would be issued by the interior minister, based on the opinion of the Border Guard chief.

In the vote, 245 MPs were in favour of the bill, 167 were against, while 25 abstained.

Ahead of the main vote, the parliament rejected all changes to the bill proposed by opposition parties.

The draft was submitted to the Sejm on Monday and was processed as a matter of urgency.

The amendment is to ensure the Border Guard carry out its duties with maximum effectiveness.

Furthermore, it introduces the possibility to impose temprary ban on entering the border area. The exact area and time of ban would be specified in an ordinance issued by the interior minister. The solution would not be binding only for the residents of a given area, people who work there, students, as well as people using border crossings. Permission for other people to enter such areas, especially journalists, would be issued by chiefs of local Border Guard units.

If ratified, the legislation will allow the Border Guard officers to carry backpack tear gas canisters, abolish age limit for Border Guard service candidates, and introduce a possibility to file for compensation for business owners operating in a closed area.

Now, the bill will be referred to the upper house of parliament, the Senate.

New makeshift camp at the border

Videos released by the Polish Ministry of Defence on Wednesday (November 17) showed groups of migrants camping close to the Kuznica-Bruzgi crossing.

The video footage showed migrants walking around tents while smoke was rising from campfires.

A day after a violent confrontation at the border crossing, in which Polish border guards used water cannons against migrants hurling stones, the situation appeared to have grown calmer.

Belarusian state news agency BELTA said on Tuesday evening border guards had started moving some migrants to a reception centre away from the frontier.

Belarusian and Polish border guards said on Wednesday around 2,000 migrants remained at the fence.

European countries accuse Minsk of flying in thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East, and pushing them to cross the border illegally, as a tactic to punish Europe for sanctions imposed over a Belarusian crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Belarus calls the accusation it created the crisis absurd, but says the EU must lift sanctions if it wants to resolve it.

Thousands of migrants have been camped out in the woods as winter approaches, suffering from frost and exhaustion, and barred either from entering Poland or returning into Belarus.

At least eight have died since the crisis started this summer.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24

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