A 23-year-old Syrian migrant was shot by a Polish soldier while trying to cross the border from Belarus, according to what non-governmental organizations in the region announced, amid human rights accusations against Polish border guards of “racism” and “aggression” toward migrants.
On Sunday, November 5, the Polish Prosecutor’s Office confirmed opening an investigation into the incident.
The migrant, who was admitted to the hospital, narrated that “while he was crossing the forest with a group of other migrants, an incomprehensible scream was heard behind them, followed immediately by gunfire that hit him in the back,” according to what Aleksandra Chrzanowska, a member of the Association for Legal Intervention and the Grupa Granica, reported.
Chrzanowska said: The Syrian young man, who is awaiting surgery, “said he wanted to request international protection,” according to the “InfoMigrants” website.
Public Prosecutor Radoslaw Wiszenko, a member of the Prosecutor’s Office in Białystok (northeast), confirmed to the Polish Bab News Agency that “the military police have opened an investigation.”
Wiszenko added: “According to my information, it was an accident that occurred when the soldier stumbled” on the road.
The Polish government built a five-meter-high fence along its border with Belarus in 2022, and reinforced army personnel and border patrols to prevent migrants coming through Belarus from entering. According to a spokesman for “Grupa Granica,” the wall is “a tool of violence and torture that makes crossing the border more dangerous.”
Both the Polish and Belarusian army and border guards commit violations against migrants, according to testimonies of migrants and organizations.
Poland deliberately “repels” migrants in various ways and prevents them from seeking asylum there. An activist who helps migrants lost in the Polish forest said that border guards are “aggressive, racist, and armed to the core.”