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ECtHR to communicate Poland applications of refugees denied entry in Terespol

The applications have been submitted by Russian citizens of Chechen origin who many times attempted to apply for international protection at the Terespol border crossing station. During border checks, the foreigners said they had been at risk of persecution in Chechnya. However, the Border Guard denied them an opportunity to submit asylum applications and sent them back to Belarus.

In all these cases, the Court issued a decision to apply interim measures in which requested that Polish authorities refrain from returning applicants to Belarus. Notwithstanding the above, Poland has failed to adhere to the measures.

In the applications, foreigners’ attorneys alleged that Polish authorities had violated a number of the Convention provisions. They pointed to, among other things, a violation of the prohibition of collective expulsion, which took the form of returning the applicants to Belarus en masse, without considering their personal circumstances and despite the declared fear of persecution. The attorneys also argued that the Border Guard exposed the applicants to the threat of being sent back from Belarus to Chechnya, where the applicants might be subjected to torture. They emphasised that the applicants could not expect to obtain protection in Belarus, as the statistics show that no citizen of Russia has yet been given international protection in Belarus.

The attorneys also argued that the necessity of repeating ineffective pleadings for an opportunity for submitting an asylum application had constituted a degrading treatment of the applicants. Poland was also accused of depriving the applicants of an effective remedy, which would enable a speedy hearing of their case by an independent body and suspended the enforcement of the challenged decision.

The Court asked Polish authorities to present their position regarding the complaints made by the applicants.

The applicants are represented by members of the Warsaw Bar, a lawyer of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and a Belarusian human rights advocate.

The communicated cases can be viewed at the following web addresses:

M.K. v. Poland (application no. 40503/17)

M.K. and Others v. Poland (application no. 43643/17)

M.A. and Others v. Poland (application no. 43643/17)

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