Poland’s Catholic Church raising money for migrants at Belarus border


Eastern Europe


Humanitarian crisis along the border between Poland and Belarus. Photo AFP, Leonid Shcheglov

The Catholic Church in Poland will raise money for migrants facing deteriorating conditions on the country’s border with Belarus. So reports Catholic News Agency.

“I turn to the faithful and all people of good will with a request for a nationwide fundraising for migrants from the Belarusian-Polish border”, archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference, said in a homily at Mass at the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw last Sunday.

The archbishop added that the funds collected during the nationwide collection on Sunday, November 21, would be used to finance Caritas Poland’s aid activities in the border areas during the migration crisis and the process of long-term integration of refugees who decide to stay in Poland.

12,000 migrants

The Polish authorities estimate that there are currently between 3,000 and 4,000 migrants in the Belarusian-Polish border area – many coming from crisis areas such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. They believe that up to 12,000 migrants are in the neighbouring country.

The Polish Border Guard on Monday counted 309 attempts by migrants to cross the border illegally. The guards arrested 17 people. Thousands of additional soldiers, police officers and border guards have been stationed at the Polish border.

The situation threatens to escalate. “We expect that there may be an escalation of this type of action on the Polish border soon, which will be of an armed nature,” Polish government spokesperson Piotr Muller said.


The Polish government, the European Union, and NATO have accused Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko of helping migrants to gather at the border. He would like to take revenge for the sanctions introduced by the EU after human rights violations and the fraudulent presidential elections in Belarus last year.

Archbishop Gądecki during a Christmas Eve meal for homeless and poor people. Photo EPA, Pawel Jaskolka

Moreover, the migrants would bring Lukashenko money. Migrants pay thousands of euros to smugglers, and some of that money flows through to the regime.

“Tents of Hope”

The border crisis has also affected Latvia and Lithuania, which are EU member states neighbouring Belarus.

Caritas Poland, the country’s largest charitable organisation, has delivered packs to parishes near the border containing foil blankets, water, energy bars, and hand warmers. It is also operating a program called “Tents of Hope” in the border area.

Belarus refuses to readmit the migrants after they attempt to enter Poland, leaving them stranded. Several migrants have died of hypothermia as temperatures drop.


Refugee organisation UNHCR has expressed concerns about hundreds of migrants staying in tents near the Belarusian border with Poland. According to the UN organisation, vulnerable people should no longer be used as pawns in a political game.

UNHCR is particularly concerned about the fate of women and children. “We have repeatedly said that the use of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to achieve political goals is unacceptable and must stop,” said spokesperson Shabia Mantoo.



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