ECHR orders Poland to provide migrants at the Belarusian border with aid

Patrick Seeger/PAP/EPA

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Wednesday decided that Poland must provide food, clothing, medical care and, if possible, temporary shelter to the group of Afghan migrants currently stranded on the Polish-Belarusian border.

The same guidelines by the Court apply to Latvia. The ECHR also said in a press release that these were "temporary measures" concerning 32 Afghans near the Polish-Belarusian border and 41 Iraqi Kurds wandering along the Latvian-Belarusian border.

"The measure will apply for a period of three weeks from today until 15 September 2021 inclusive," reads the press release.

The ECHR explained that "at the same time, that this measure should not be understood as requiring that Poland or Latvia let the applicants enter their territories".

"The applicants in both cases are seeking to enter either Latvia or Poland, allegedly with a view to seeking international protection. However, they are currently unable to enter those States nor to return to Belarus (which is not a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights). They are thus stranded at the borders," the court statement explained.

The ECHR press release states that the migrants call on the articles of the Convention concerning the right to life, prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment, and "seek, among other things, legal assistance, aid to help their material conditions (in particular sustenance and sanitation), not to be returned to Belarus, and international protection in the relevant State".

The ECHR also announced that it had asked the parties involved a number of questions which must be responded to within ten days.

The Court made it clear in its statement that the "interim measures" it ordered would not prejudice any decision in this case.