Poland Closing Refugee Centers
According to a story on the Polish television channel TVP, the Polish Office for Foreigners has decided to close three centers for asylum seekers in Poland.
Three centers for asylum seekers in the Podlaskie region of Poland will be closed, leaving only one refugee center, which is in Czerwony Bór, a village in North-eastern Poland.
According to the information, two centers in Białystok and one center in Łomża are going to be closed. The Białystok Social Services stated that around four hundred Chechen and Georgian asylum seekers live in these places. The cause behind the authorities’ decision on this issue is that providing a modest life is very expensive.
“These people will have a choice. If they want, they may move to other centers for asylum seekers in Poland or they may go to live in these cities with the financial aid that comes from us,” told Ewa Piechota, the spokeswoman of the Office for Foreigners.
In contradiction to the words of Ewa Piechota, it is known that finding a rental flat or job is nearly impossible for Chechen asylum seekers because of growing xenophobia. Earlier we published stories of the racial attacks against Chechen asylum seekers in Białystok and Łomża.
Many of the asylum seekers are already packed but most of them do not want to leave from their camps. “Our kids are going to school here, all of us had become accustomed to life here. We have many good friends among the Poles here,” said Aset Khamzatova, an asylum seeker.
Asylum seekers are not convinced that the move will improve their situation. They say that other problems await them aside from the expected adaptation problems. Actually, many of them want to move to Western countries where the social service benefits are higher and there is lower unemployment. They know, though, that if they go these countries, they will be sent back to Poland.
Ewa Sznejder, a correspondent from TVP, stated her own opinion on this issue. She wrote: “The authorities may close the centers, but refugees will not disappear. Every day, Poland welcomes new asylum seekers from other countries due to ongoing wars. Our country is not able to provide them all with either a peaceful life or a job”.
We must note that the authorities of the city of Łomża banned a multicultural event in the city center that was aimed at the integration of refugees. The event was prepared by Foundation Salvation (Fundacja Ocalenie). The foundation has organized many events in the past without any problems but this time, the city management claimed that they could not provide security. Twelve organizations, including Amnesty International and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, supported the Foundation “Ocalenie” and appealed to the authorities of Łomża to allow the foundation to operate. These organizations signed a letter which was sent to the mayor, Jerzy Brzeziński, informing him that his decisions were “an unacceptable sign of the authorities” consent for the xenophobic and discriminatory behavior of some of the townsmen towards foreigners.”
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco