Asylum Rights Thrown into a Frozen Ditch on Poland-Belarus Border

On December 1, the commission proposed emergency measures to allow Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania –the three EU countries bordering Belarus — to derogate from EU asylum rules. If approved by the European Council, the measures would systematize abuse of peoples’ rights at EU borders and risk creating a terrible precedent.

The measures would allow the three countries to detain asylum seekers, including families with children, for up to four months while they undergo an “accelerated border procedure” to assess their asylum applications. The proposals also would make it easier to quickly deport people if their application is rejected, without the benefit of automatic suspension of deportation in case of appeal.