Aliens in Europe11.02.2010 | 09:30
Today, another deportation of the Georgian citizens from Poland will be realized with a special Warsaw-Tbilisi flight. 13 people are coming back home, including those whom the Polish authorities denied shelter. Several more Georgia citizens are waiting for the deportation. Despite the fact that the Georgian authorities are not expecting the mass return of their citizens from Poland, there are no less than four thousand migrants in the country at the moment. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the problems of those people with the representatives of the Georgian authorities, non-governmental organizations and political analysts.
According to the official data, most Georgian citizens arrive to Poland and move on into Europe. Besides, about one hundred Georgians make daily appeals to the Polish authorities seeking the status of a refugee at the Byelorussia-Poland border pass in Tiraspol. In 2000-2008, only 400 citizens of Georgia expressed desire to live in the Polish buffer, while within the last year this figure grew to almost three and a half thousand people.
The situation with the illegal Georgian migrants in Poland aroused passionate discussion in the local and international media after the incident that took place on December 15 when a group of the Russian citizens (the Chechen refugees) and the citizens of Georgia captured a train in Legnits that was going to Germany.
Being dissatisfied with the living conditions in the Polish refugee centers, the foreigners took the train having no tickets and stated their intention to get as far as Strasbourg and address a complaint to the European Human Rights Court. It became known later on that the Polish authorities made a decision to deport 24 Georgian natives that took part in capturing of the train. 16 more participants of the action including eight children were transferred to the closed center for displaced persons.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the problems of the Georgian migrants and the reasons that force them to go abroad with the representatives of the Georgian parliament, non-governmental organizations and political analysts.
What is your current appraisal of Poland's actions?
Elene Tevdoradze, Head of the Pardon Commission, Deputy State Minister of Georgia for Reintegration:
It is difficult to give any comments on the matter, for each state has got its own laws that should be regarded by other states, so I think it incorrect to lay any claims to the Polish government today. I believe we do not work enough with the people and we do not explain to them what will happen if they come to the country, which laws they no nothing about. The people often turn to me for help post factum, although the Georgian party can provide no assistance in such cases, for we have got no right to interfere into another country's affairs.
Arnold Stepanyan, Chairman of the Multinational Georgia public movement:
I have paid a visit to Poland and I have talked to the NGO representatives who deal with the problems of the Georgian migrants. I can say that it is very difficult to give an ambiguous appraisal of Poland's actions, for some people leave for non-political reasons, while other people are persecuted for political reasons. There are people who really can be given political asylum. On the other hand, I understand Poland, for too many people are coming from Georgia. As I saw, Poland is not ready to provide such a great number of migrants with relevant living conditions.
Archil Gegeshidze, political analyst, member of the Georgian Strategic and International Research Foundation:
I believe Poland is acting in the context of its legal and legislative standards. One should not criticize the Polish party from that point of view.
Should European Union in any way respond to the situation in the context of Tbilisi's cooperation with Brussels?
By all appearances, this issue will be the topic of the bilateral round-table talk between Georgia and European Union. A memorandum of understanding has been signed between Tbilisi and Brussels, and we often meet and discuss various issues, including the issues of national minorities and human rights. However, let me underline once again that we might also be instructed to inform our people in a more efficient way. The people leaving Georgia do so for social reasons, not for the political ones. They are looking for a way out of the situation of unemployment; yet, they are to have a clear idea of what is to become of them in the country they enter illegally.
I believe that being part of European Union, Poland does not act unknown to Brussels, for the migrants getting to other EU countries are deported directly to Poland. Thus, we see an integrated approach here.