UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has called on Belarus and Poland to resolve the migrant crisis on their border, where large numbers of migrants and refugees continue to be left in a desperate situation in near-freezing temperatures.
“I urge the States involved to take immediate steps to de-escalate and resolve this intolerable situation in line with their obligations under international human rights law and refugee law,” she said, adding, “Several people have already died over the past few months – governments in the region cannot stand by and allow more lives to be lost. States have an obligation to protect the right to life.”
Thousands of migrants are trying to enter EU member Poland through Belarus, with Warsaw saying the wave threatens the security of the entire bloc.
Armed troops from both countries are deployed on the border amid escalating tensions.
Fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, migrants try to survive outdoors in poor conditions as temperatures dip toward freezing. At least 10 migrants have died in the region, according to the Polish media.
The EU has accused Belarus of orchestrating the migrant crisis in retaliation, which the country has denied.
According to a report by the German Bild daily, Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines, the Russian and Turkish flag carriers, respectively, play a major role in facilitating the travel of undocumented migrants, through which 6,000 have entered Belarus in the last six weeks.
Turkish Airlines planes fly twice a day from İstanbul to Minsk, while Aeroflot has four flights a day from Moscow to the same destination, Bild reported.