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Top administrative court dismisses appeals against discontinuation of refusal of entry proceedings at Terespol border station

The Supreme Administrative Court has heard complaints in cassation submitted by HFHR clients – Syrian nationals who were refused entry by Border Guard officers at the border crossing station in Terespol despite declared intention of applying for international protection. Also in their case, the European Court of Human Rights issued measures, in which it ordered Polish authorities not to return them to Belarus. The Border Guard, however, they did not comply with the measure.

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw revoked the Border Guard’s decision, holding that the conversation between the foreigners and officers at the border crossing station has not been properly documented. This, argued the court, meant that it is impossible to determine if the foreigners actually requested international protection. On the other hand, the Warsaw PAC found that there is no basis for ascertaining that the foreigners declared the purposes of their arrival to Poland was an economic one, as it was claimed by the Border Guard. At the same time, PAC discontinued the proceedings.

“Since the proceedings have been discontinued, the Border Guard does not have to take any actions in this matter, despite the fact that its decision was found to be defective. In practical terms, this means that the foreigners cannot benefit from judicial protection: the next time they appear at the border, the Border Guard will most likely refuse them entry once again”, Jacek Białas, the HFHR lawyer who represented the foreigners in court proceedings.

Mr Białas’ contention seems to be confirmed by the Ministry of the Interior and Administration’s response to a statement of the Commissioner for Human Rights, written on 29 October 2018, from which it follows that authorities do not intend to comply with the legal assessment of refusals of entry expressed by administrative courts. The Ministry stated that it would not introduce obligatory records of conversations with foreigners at the border, which would also have to be signed by a foreigner and which would appropriately document the course of the conversation and a foreigner’s declared intention to apply for international protection.

In this case, proceedings are also underway before the European Court of Human Rights. To find out more, follow this link.

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