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Poland elaborates mechanism of temporary protection for people from Belarus

In Belarus mass protests continue since the 9 August presidential election. Tens of thousands of demonstrators take to the streets while media report dozens of people arrested and detained. Following the escalation of the political crisis in the neighbourhood country Poland declare willingness to provide support and reception to repressed Belarussians.   The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki introduced a 5-point aid plan "Solidarity With Belarus”. 

For the current moment arrivals from Belarus to Poland on the basis of national visas ( in order to perform  work, study or holders of Poles’s Cards)  prevail. Only few cases of asylum applications are known.  But taking under consideration continued repressions and human rights violations,  Polish authorities assume a probable scenario of intensified migration to Poland. The Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration elaborates a draft regulation that will provide the mechanism of temporary protection for people from Belarus. The project is available on the official website of the Government Legislative Center. The mechanism   of temporary protection is defined  in the art. 107 of the Law of  13 June 2003 on granting protection to foreigners within the territory of the Republic of Poland. 
According to the draft legislation, temporary protection will be guaranteed to “citizens of the Republic of Belarus and stateless persons or persons with undetermined citizenship permanently residing in the territory of that state” and will include accommodation in migrant centers, food (or cash equivalent) and medical care. The responsible institution for the realization of the project and direct assistance of people from  Belarus will be the Office For Foreigners.

The draft legislation does not specify the duration of this form of protection or  conditions  of  its  ending, but it assumes immediate implementation  -  the new regulations will enter into force on the day following the date of their publication. 

The document also does not specify the limit of people who can benefit from temporary protection (the clarification of the limit is mentioned in art. 107 Law of  13 June 2003). Although the document currently does not provide such information, implementation  of such limits seems to negate the main assumption of the mechanism of temporary protection,  exactly, to provide refuge in the situation of the mass outflow from the crisis-affected territory. 

The Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration estimated  the monthly and annual living cost for one person  as 617 euro ( PLN 2,727.50) or  7 404 euro (PLN 32,730) respectively.  All expenses related to new protection mechanism will be financed from the resources of the general reserve of the state budget. 

The temporary protection mechanism was elaborated  on the EU level in aim to provide immediate protection in case of mass arrivals of displaced persons from non-EU countries. The minimal standards  of such form of protection are defined in the  Directive on temporary protection(20 01/55/EC).  The temporary protection, as a title suggest, is conceived as an emergency measure of hopefully short duration that enable people beneficiaries  of such form  of protection  to exercise their right to return home in safety.  The mechanism  has not been implemented so far. 

Kseniya Homel 
NIEM’s National Advocacy Officer
The European and Migration Policy Programme
Institute of Public Affairs

Projekt rozporządzenia Rady Ministrów w sprawie udzielenia ochrony czasowej obywatelom Republiki Białorusi i bezpaństwowcom lub osobom o nieustalonym obywatelstwie zamieszkałym na stałe na terytorium tego państwa masowo przybywającym do Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej w wyniku rażących naruszeń praw człowieka dokonywanych w kraju pochodzenia [data of access 02.09.2020]. 

Temporary protection