Overview of the main changes since the previous report update

Poland

Author

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

The report was previously updated in November 2015.

 

Procedure

  • Access to the procedure: Access to the procedure remains problematic in Poland. Reports say that, in spite of repeated, clearly formulated requests, invoking the experience of persecution in the country of origin, asylum seekers are refused the right to lodge an application and enter Poland. In August, representatives of the Polish Ombudsman conducted an unannounced inspection of the railway border crossing in Terespol and stated that 5 families explicitly declared their intention to apply for international protection and only one of them was admitted. During other interviews foreigners were describing situations or events which could indicate a coercive nature of their migration but again only in one case the foreigners were admitted. The representatives also noticed that the conditions of this preliminary questioning were difficult - three out of the four stands are situated at such a short distance from each other that conducted interviews may be easily overheard by third parties (e.g. other foreigners).

  • Preliminary identification mechanism: A new vulnerability assessment is carried out by an SG officer at the time of lodging an application. The officer screens the applicants to identify victims of trafficking in human beings or persons subject to torture. NGOs point out that this preliminary identification is conducted at the time of lodging asylum application, so often at the border, where the conditions are difficult. Some are of the opinion, that the questions from the application for international protection cannot be considered an early identification at all. The clear evidence that vulnerable persons are not identified correctly is that victims of violence are still placed in detention, while the law prohibits detaining such applicants. NGOs generally confirm that the system of identification envisaged in the law does not work in practice.

 

Reception conditions

  • No reception during onward appeal: In principle, during the onward appeal procedure before the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw, asylum seekers are not entitled to material reception conditions. Although in practice, when the court suspends enforcement of the contested decision of the Refugee Board for the time of the court proceedings, asylum seekers are re-granted material reception conditions to the same extent as during the administrative asylum procedure, until the ruling of the court. However, in 2016 the Court mostly refused to suspend enforcement of the negative decision on international protection for the time of the court proceedings, which leaves asylum seekers without any material reception conditions for this time.

 

Detention of asylum seekers

  • Detention of children: In 2016, 292 children were placed with their parents in a detention centres. Total of all asylum seekers was 603 persons in whole 2016. In 2016 children were placed in detention centres in Kętrzyn, Biała Podlaska and Przemyśl. Still the best interest of the child is not considered in decisions concerning detention. Generally the right to education for children in detention centres for asylum applicants is not properly implemented. Topics and activities offered to children do not meet the requirements of the general education curriculum.

  • Lack of identification vulnerable applicants: In October 2016 family with three minor children (2,4,8 years) was detained in a detention centre in Kętrzyn, after the transfer under the Dublin Regulation from Germany. Even though the family had all medical records with them which confirmed (also during their arrest in Germany, in German) that the physical and mental health state of two members of the family, was not only inadequate to make the transfer, but also certainly did not allowed them to be placed in a detention centre, they were detained in Kętrzyn. None of the medical documents was taken into consideration neither by SG when issuing a motion to the court nor by the regional court during placing them in a detention centre. The family was released after 3 weeks. In the opinion of National Prevention Mechanism representatives, being for 3 weeks in a detention centre was inadequate to their health condition and caused further traumatization.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti