A Polish opposition MEP has launched an exhibition in the European Parliament which purports to condemn Polish authorities for protecting their borders, accusing officials of inhumane treatment of migrants crossing into Europe from Belarus.
Janina Ochojska, an MEP from Poland’s opposition liberal Civic Platform (PO) and head of the humanitarian charity Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH), has initiated the exhibition titled “Pushback is illegal, helping is legal.” It is an exhibition in the European Parliament covering the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border.
The situation began in the autumn of 2021 with the Belarusian dictator Alexandr Lukashenko attempting to push migrants arriving in Belarus over the Polish border, a move that met resistance from the Polish border guards and the conservative government.
Ochojska was critical of the Polish government’s response from the outset. She persistently sought to discredit the actions of Polish border guards and demanded that the border be opened to let the migrants through and into Poland.
Patryk Jaki, MEP from the ruling conservative coalition, published photos from the exhibition and criticized Ochojska’s actions. He wrote that the exhibition “blackened Poland’s name” and was an insult to all those border guards who protected Poland against hybrid warfare. He also attacked Ochojska’s party saying that it has always supported external criticism of Poland and is “always there when there is a need to attack Poland.”
Last week, Ochojska retweeted a post by the Border Group, an organization assisting illegal migrants on the Belarusian border. The post claimed that more bodies are being found in nearby forests “caused by the dubiously legal policy of expulsion.” The group has been in dispute with Polish border guards over its attempts to help illegal migrants.
Ochojska presented the campaigners’ claims as “facts” and wrote that she was “ashamed that this is happening in Poland.” She went on to single out both Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as being responsible.