Tjetjenske krigsflygtninge sultestrejker i Polen
Letter of the Chechen hunger strike committee to Polish
Minister of Internal Affairs.
The escalation of warfare in Chechnya has caused a wide wave of
refugees to flee to neighbouring republics (Ingushetia, Daghestan,
Georgia and Azerbaijan). The total number of
refugees amounts 350 thousand people.
Only about 200 of them - including children - have managed to cross
hostile territory and the Polish borders.
From the moment of their arrival on Polish soil, refugees
were faced with new problems. Statistics show that nearly
all of the Chechen families were denied access to Poland on
their first attempt. This applies to all of the border crossings,
especially those of Terespol, Przemysl, and Mamonowo.
Refugees were able to enter Poland only after 2nd or 3rd attempt,
only after the intervention of TV and newspaper journalists
and the human rights commission. But the behaviour of border
police has not changed since then.
The second and most important group of problems faced by the refugees
are the conditions of life in the refugee centers in Dembak,
Podkowa-Lesna, Smoszewo and Lublin.
The refugees are anxious because of their uncertain
legal status. Despite numerous pressure actions by Polish citizens
groups, no decisions were made by the state administration.
The newcomers were simply registered and given a place
in the centers.
It needs to be stressed that the legal status of refugees
is a crucial one: without official refugee status, they are unable
to continue education, to work and to move freely.
Another thing are the conditions of life in the refugee
centers. Many of them have been given unappropriate
rooms. For example: a 9 person family has been forced to live in
a room of 15 square meters. Health care, sanitary conditions
and the food supply are far from satisfactory. Chechens are
Muslims, and they do not eat pork meat. The administration of
the Dembak center has ignored the issue despite numerous requests.
Pork meat has not been replaced with cheese and milk products.
There have been cases, when the center personel has
bathed dogs in the sinks meant for cleaning dishes, and
fed them from the same dishes used by refugees.
The security of the refugees is another question. Women and children
have been assailed in broad daylight in Lublin by local inhabitants.
One of the women was hit with a rock on her head, and was
Another woman being pregnant has been kicked in her belly.
The Chechen children who witnessed the incident
will doubtlessly be marked durably by it.
Because of the scandalous situation of the refugee centers, individual
refugees attempt to cross the border to Germany. Polish and German
border police are extremely cruel and unhumanitarian for those who
At the beginning of may, this year, Albika Akbulatova has
been imprisoned 5 days in a closed isolation cell.
Akbulatova was in a state of mental shock. After seven days, she
was transfered to a psychiatric clinic in Radom. Despite the
requests of her husband and of other arrestees, the border police
of Szczecin (the district where she was caught) have earlier denied
medical aid to Albika, under the pretense she was "simulating".
Currently Akbulatova is in a psychiatric clinic in Warsaw, on
Nowowiejska street 27.
Ignoring letters sent by parlamentarians, the district court of
have not released Albika's husband from the deportation arrest
in Leszno-Wola. The meeting with her husband
would have a beneficial effect on the suffering woman.
The small number of Chechens arrived in Poland during the
first Russian aggression on the republic have still not
been given status of political refugee. At the same time,
many citizens of other countries receive each year refugee
status in Poland.
With regard to the above mentioned facts, it needs to be stated that
the Polish state is not respecting the Geneva Convention of 1951:
"The status of refugees", and the New York Protocol of 1967.
We demand an energetic intervention of the Polish
Minister of Internal Affairs in the case of war refugees
from Chechnya, who have to suffer humiliations in a
supposedly friendly country.
We appeal to the Internal Affairs Minister, Marek Biernacki,
to open the Polish borders for the Chechen victims of war. We demand
the senseless discrimination ceases now, and that those
who managed to survive war be granted decent living conditions.
The practices of the Internal Affairs Ministry are a disgrace
to us all.
Participants of the hunger strike:
On saturday 9th june, the hunger strike has been
suspended after the 9th day, because of the bad health
of the participants. Other actions will follow,
as the Polish government has remained ignorant of the