La Pologne érigera une clôture en barbelés à sa frontière avec le Bélarus - Page 1

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  • La #Pologne érigera une clôture en barbelés à sa frontière avec le #Bélarus

    La Pologne a annoncé lundi qu’elle allait ériger une « solide #clôture » de barbelés, haute de 2,5 mètres, à la frontière polono-bélarusse et y augmenter ses effectifs militaires pour empêcher les migrants de pénétrer sur son sol.

    La Pologne a annoncé lundi qu’elle allait ériger une « solide clôture » de barbelés, haute de 2,5 mètres, à la frontière polono-bélarusse et y augmenter ses effectifs militaires pour empêcher les migrants de pénétrer sur son sol.

    Varsovie et les trois pays baltes (la Lituanie, la Lettonie et l’Estonie) dénoncent ensemble une « attaque hybride » organisée par le Bélarus qui, selon eux, encourage les migrants à passer illégalement sur le territoire de l’Union européenne.

    Le ministre polonais de la Défense, Mariusz Blaszczak, a précisé lundi qu’une nouvelle clôture « à l’instar de celle qui a fait ses preuves à la frontière serbo-hongroise », composée de quelques spirales superposées de fils barbelés, doublerait la première barrière à fil unique qui s’étend déjà sur environ 130 kilomètres, soit sur près d’un tiers de la longueur de la frontière entre les deux pays.

    « Les travaux commenceront dès la semaine prochaine », a déclaré M. Blaszczak à la presse.

    Le ministre a annoncé que les effectifs militaires à la frontière allaient prochainement doubler, pour atteindre environ 2.000 soldats dépêchés sur place afin de soutenir la police des frontières.

    « Nous nous opposerons à la naissance d’une nouvelle voie de trafic d’immigrés, via le territoire polonais », a-t-il insisté.

    Les quatre pays de la partie orientale de l’Union européenne ont exhorté lundi l’Organisation des Nations unies à prendre des mesures à l’encontre du Bélarus.

    Les Premiers ministres d’Estonie, de Lettonie, de Lituanie et de Pologne ont assuré dans une déclaration commune que l’afflux des migrants avait été « planifié et systématiquement organisé par le régime d’Alexandre Loukachenko ».

    Des milliers de migrants, pour la plupart originaires du Moyen-Orient, ont franchi la frontière bélarusso-européenne ces derniers mois, ce que l’Union européenne considère comme une forme de représailles du régime bélarusse face aux sanctions de plus en plus sévères que l’UE lui impose.

    « Il est grand temps de porter la question du mauvais traitement infligé aux migrants sur le territoire bélarusse à l’attention des Nations unies, notamment du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies », peut-on lire dans la déclaration.

    Les quatre pays affirment qu’ils accorderont toute la protection nécessaire aux réfugiés traversant la frontière, conformément au droit international, mais ils demandent également d’« éventuelles nouvelles mesures restrictives de la part de l’UE pour empêcher toute nouvelle immigration illégale organisée par l’Etat bélarusse ».

    Dans de nombreux cas, les autorités de Minsk repoussent les migrants vers la frontière de l’UE, ce qui a déjà conduit à des situations inextricables.

    Un groupe de migrants afghans reste ainsi bloqué depuis deux semaines sur une section de la frontière entre la Pologne et le Bélarus.

    Des organisations polonaises des droits de l’Homme et l’opposition libérale accusent le gouvernement nationaliste-conservateur polonais de refuser de secourir les personnes ayant besoin d’aide et d’ainsi violer le droit international.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/230821/la-pologne-erigera-une-cloture-en-barbeles-sa-frontiere-avec-le-belarus

    #frontières #murs #barrières_frontalières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Biélorussie #militarisation_de_la_frontière

    –-
    voir aussi la métaliste sur la situation à la frontière entre la #Pologne et la #Biélorussie (2021) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/935860

    • On the EU’s eastern border, Poland builds a fence to stop migrants

      Polish soldiers were building a fence on the border with Belarus on Thursday, as the European Union’s largest eastern member takes steps to curb illegal border crossings despite criticism that some migrants are being treated inhumanely.

      Brussels has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of using migrants as part of a “hybrid war” designed to put pressure on the bloc over sanctions it has imposed, and building the wall is part of Poland’s efforts to beef up border security on the EU’s eastern flank.

      “Almost 3 km of fencing has been erected since yesterday,” Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Twitter, adding that almost 1,800 soldiers were supporting the border guard.

      Blaszczak said on Monday that a new 2.5 metre high solid fence would be built, modelled on the one built by Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Hungary’s border with Serbia.

      On Thursday Reuters saw soldiers next the frontier stringing wire through barbed wire to hook it to posts.

      Poland has received sharp criticism over its treatment of a group of migrants who have been stuck on the Belarus border for over two weeks, living in the open air with little food and water and no access to sanitary facilities.

      On Wednesday refugee charity the Ocalenie Foundation said 12 out of 32 migrants stuck on the border were seriously ill and one was close to death.

      “No fence or wire anywhere in the world has stopped any people fleeing war and persecution,” said Marianna Wartecka from the foundation who was at the border on Thursday.

      Poland says responsibility for the migrants lies with Belarus. The prime minister said this week that a convoy of humanitarian offered by Poland had been refused by Minsk.

      Surveys show that most Poles are against accepting migrants, and Poland’s ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) made a refusal to accept refugee quotas a key plank of its election campaign when it swept to power in 2015.

      An IBRiS poll for private broadcaster Polsat on Wednesday showed that almost 55% of respondents were against accepting migrants and refugees, while over 47% were in favour of a border wall.

      “Our country cannot allow such a large group of people to break our laws,” said Emilia Krystopowicz, a 19-year-old physiotherapy student, in Krynki, a village next the border.

      Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has accused Poland and Lithuania of fuelling the migrant issue on the borders.

      https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/eus-eastern-border-poland-builds-fence-stop-migrants-2021-08-26

    • Poland to build anti-refugee wall on Belarus border

      Poland has become the latest European country to start building an anti-refugee wall, with a new fence on its border with Belarus.

      The 2.5-metre high wall would be modelled on one built by Hungary on its border with Serbia in 2015, Polish defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak said.

      “We are dealing with an attack on Poland. It is an attempt to trigger a migration crisis,” he told press at a briefing near the Belarus frontier on Monday (23 August).

      “It is [also] necessary to increase the number of soldiers [on the border] ... We will soon double the number of soldiers to 2,000,” he added.

      “We will not allow the creation of a route for the transfer of migrants via Poland to the European Union,” he said.

      The minister shared photos of a 100-km razor-wire barrier, which Poland already erected in recent weeks.

      Some 2,100 people from the Middle East and Africa tried to enter Poland via Belarus in the past few months in what Blaszczak called “a dirty game of [Belarus president Alexander] Lukashenko and the Kremlin” to hit back at EU sanctions.

      “These are not refugees, they are economic migrants brought in by the Belarusian government,” deputy foreign minister Marcin Przydacz also said on Monday.

      Some people were pushed over the border by armed Belarusian police who fired in the air behind them, according to Polish NGO Minority Rights Group.

      Others were pushed back by Polish soldiers, who should have let them file asylum claims, while another 30-or-so people have been stuck in no man’s land without food or shelter.

      “People were asking the [Polish] border guards for protection and the border guards were pushing them back,” Piotr Bystrianin from the Ocalenie Foundation, another Polish NGO, told the Reuters news agency.

      “That means they were in contact and that means they should give them the possibility to apply for protection ... It’s very simple,” he said.

      “We have been very concerned by ... people being stranded for days,” Shabia Mantoo, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, also said.

      But for its part, the Polish government had little time for moral niceties.

      “The statements and behaviour of a significant number of Polish politicians, journalists, and NGO activists show that a scenario in which a foreign country carrying out such an attack against Poland will receive support from allies in our country is very real,” Polish deputy foreign minister Paweł Jabłoński said.

      Belarus has also been pushing refugees into Lithuania and Latvia, with more than 4,000 people recently crossing into Lithuania.

      “Using immigrants to destabilise neighbouring countries constitutes a clear breach of international law and qualifies as a hybrid attack against ... Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and thus against the entire European Union,” the Baltic states and Poland said in a joint statement on Monday.

      Lithuania is building a 3-metre high, 508-km wall on its Belarus border in a €152m project for which it wants EU money.

      The wall would be completed by September 2022, Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Monday.

      “The physical barrier is vital for us to repel this hybrid attack,” she said.
      Fortress Europe

      The latest upsurge in wall-building began with Greece, which said last week it had completed a 40-km fence on its border with Turkey to keep out potential Afghan refugees.

      And Turkey has started building a 3-metre high concrete barrier on its 241-km border with Iran for the same reason.

      “The Afghan crisis is creating new facts in the geopolitical sphere and at the same time it is creating possibilities for migrant flows,” Greece’s citizens’ protection minister Michalis Chrisochoidis said.

      Turkey would not become Europe’s “refugee warehouse”, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.

      https://euobserver.com/world/152711

    • Comme la Lituanie, la Pologne veut sa barrière anti-migrants à la frontière biélorusse

      Varsovie et Vilnius veulent construire des barrières contre les migrants qui transitent par le Bélarus, tandis que la situation humanitaire continue de se détériorer à la frontière orientale de l’Union européenne.

      La pression augmente pour faire de l’Union une forteresse. Vendredi 8 octobre, douze pays, dont la Pologne et la Lituanie, ont réclamé d’une seule voix que l’Union européenne finance la construction de barrières à ses frontières externes. Il s’agit de l’Autriche, la Bulgarie, Chypre, la République tchèque, le Danemark, l’Estonie, la Grèce, la Hongrie, la Lituanie, la Lettonie, la Pologne et la Slovaquie.

      « Je ne suis pas contre », a répondu la commissaire aux Affaires intérieures Ylva Johansson. « Mais quant à savoir si on devrait utiliser les fonds européens qui sont limités, pour financer la construction de clôtures à la place d’autres choses tout aussi importantes, c’est une autre question ».

      La question migratoire agite particulièrement en Pologne, soumise à une pression inédite sur sa frontière orientale, avec le Bélarus. Le 7 octobre, le vice-Premier ministre Jarosław Kaczyński, qui préside aussi la commission des affaires de sécurité nationale et de défense, a confirmé la construction d’une barrière permanente le long de la frontière polono-biélorusse. Lors d’une conférence de presse tenue au siège de l’unité des gardes-frontières de Podlachie, frontalière avec la Biélorussie, il a expliqué : « Nous avons discuté des décisions déjà prises, y compris dans le domaine financier, pour construire une barrière très sérieuse. Le genre de barrière qu’il est très difficile de franchir. L’expérience européenne, l’expérience de plusieurs pays, par exemple la Hongrie et la Grèce, montre que c’est la seule méthode efficace ».

      La Pologne a débuté les travaux en août dernier et des barbelés ont déjà été tirés sur des sections sensibles de la frontière polono-biélorusse. Lorsqu’elle aura atteint son terme, la barrière fera 180 kilomètres de long et plus de deux mètres de haut.

      La Lituanie, autre pays frontalier de la Biélorussie, a elle aussi déroulé les barbelés et alloué 152 millions d’euros pour la construction d’une barrière de quatre mètres de haut, sur cinq cents kilomètres, qui doit être prête en septembre 2022.

      Le gouvernement national-conservateur du Droit et Justice (PiS) a réagi par la manière forte à la pression migratoire inédite sur ses frontières. Plusieurs milliers de soldats ont été déployés pour prêter main-forte aux gardes-frontières.

      Le Sénat a adopté le 8 octobre un amendement qui autorise l’expulsion immédiate des étrangers interpellés après avoir franchi la frontière irrégulièrement, sans examiner leur demande de protection internationale. En clair, il s’agit de passer un vernis de légalité sur la pratique dit de « pushback » qui contrevient aux règles internationales, mais utilisées ailleurs sur la frontière de l’UE, parfois très violemment, comme en témoigne la diffusion récente de vidéos à la frontière de la Croatie.
      Loukachenko accusé de trafic d’êtres humains

      Varsovie et Vilnius accusent de concert le président autocrate du Bélarus, Alexandre Loukachenko, de chercher à ouvrir une nouvelle route migratoire vers l’Europe, dans le but de se venger de leur soutien actif à l’opposition bélarusse en exil et des sanctions européennes consécutives aux élections frauduleuses d’août 2020.

      « Ce sont les immigrants économiques qui arrivent. Ils sont amenés dans le cadre d’une opération organisée par les autorités biélorusses avec l’assentiment clair de la Fédération de Russie. Les agences de sécurité biélorusses le tolèrent totalement et y sont présentes », a noté Jarosław Kaczyński. « Ces personnes sont conduites vers des endroits où elles auront une chance de traverser la frontière. Parfois, des officiers biélorusses participent personnellement au franchissement des barrières et à la coupure des fils », a-t-il ajouté.

      « Des centaines de milliers de personnes seront acheminées à notre frontière orientale », a avancé le ministre polonais de l’Intérieur Mariusz Kamiński, au mois de septembre.
      Soutien de la Commission européenne

      La Commission européenne dénonce, elle aussi, « un trafic de migrants parrainé par l’État [biélorusse] ». Le 5 octobre, Ylva Johansson, commissaire européenne chargée des affaires intérieures, a déclaré que « le régime utilise des êtres humains d’une manière sans précédent, pour faire pression sur l’Union européenne. […] Ils attirent les gens à Minsk. Qui sont ensuite transportés vers la frontière. Dans des mini-fourgonnettes banalisées. ».

      C’est aussi une manne économique pour Minsk, a détaillé Ylva Johansson. « Les gens viennent en voyages organisés par l’entreprise touristique d’État Centrkurort. Ils séjournent dans des hôtels agréés par l’état. Ils paient des dépôts de plusieurs milliers de dollars, qu’ils ne récupèrent jamais ».
      La situation humanitaire se dégrade

      L’hiver approche et les températures sont passées sous zéro degré les nuits dernières en Podlachie, la région du nord-est de la Pologne, frontalière avec la Biélorussie. Des groupes d’immigrants qui tentent de se frayer un chemin vers l’Union européenne errent dans les forêts de part et d’autre de la frontière qui est aussi celle de l’Union. « Ce [samedi] soir il fait -2 degrés en Podlachie. Des enfants dorment à même le sol, quelque part dans nos forêts. Des enfants déportés vers ces forêts sur ordre des autorités polonaises », affirme le Groupe frontalier (Grupa Granica).

      Une collecte a été lancée pour permettre à une quarantaine de médecins volontaires d’apporter des soins de première urgence aux migrants victimes d’hypothermie, de blessures, d’infections ou encore de maladies chroniques. Avec les trente mille euros levés dès la première journée (près de soixante mille euros à ce jour), trois équipes ont débuté leurs opérations de sauvetage. « Nous voulons seulement aider et empêcher les gens à la frontière de souffrir et de mourir », explique le docteur Jakub Sieczko à la radio TOK FM. Mais le ministère de l’Intérieur leur refuse l’accès à la zone où a été décrété un état d’urgence au début du mois de septembre, tenant éloignés journalistes et humanitaires de la tragédie en cours.

      Quatre personnes ont été retrouvées mortes – vraisemblablement d’hypothermie – dans l’espace frontalier, le 19 septembre, puis un adolescent irakien cinq jours plus tard. La fondation pour le Salut (Ocalenie) a accusé les gardes-frontières polonais d’avoir repoussé en Biélorussie le jeune homme en très mauvaise santé et sa famille quelques heures plus tôt.

      A ce jour, ce flux migratoire n’est en rien comparable à celui de l’année 2015 via la « Route des Balkans », mais il est dix fois supérieur aux années précédentes. Samedi, 739 tentatives de franchissement illégal de la frontière ont été empêchées par les gardes-frontières polonais, qui ont enregistré plus de 3 000 tentatives d’entrée irrégulière au mois d’août, et près de 5 000 en septembre.

      https://courrierdeuropecentrale.fr/comme-la-lituanie-la-pologne-veut-aussi-sa-barriere-anti-mig

    • EU’s job is not to build external border barriers, says Commission vice president

      Yes to security coordination and technology; no to ‘cement and stones,’ says Margaritis Schinas.

      The European Commission is ready to support member countries in strengthening the bloc’s external borders against the “hybrid threat” posed by international migrant flows but doesn’t want to pay for the construction of physical border barriers, Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said Thursday.

      Rather than defending borders with “cement and stones,” Schinas said in an interview at POLITICO’s Health Care Summit, the EU can usefully provide support in the form of security coordination and technology.

      Highlighting how divisive the issue is of the use of EU funds for physical barriers, which EU leaders discussed at length at a summit last Friday morning, Schinas’ line is different from the one expressed by his party in the European Parliament, the center-right EPP, and by his own country, Greece.

      He was responding to comments by Manfred Weber, chairman of the European Parliament’s EPP group, in support of a letter, first reported by POLITICO’s Playbook, by 12 member countries, including countries like Greece, Denmark and Hungary, to finance a physical barrier with EU money.

      Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after last week’s Council summit that no EU money would be spent to build “barbed wire and walls.”

      “The Commission position is very clear. We are facing a new kind of threat on our external border. This is a hybrid threat,” said Schinas. “The obvious thing for the European Union to do is to make sure that those who seek to attack Europe by weaponizing human misery know that we will defend the border … I think that, so far, we have managed to do it.”

      “At the same time we do have resources that will allow us to help member states to organize their defences — not of course by financing the cement and the stones and the physical obstacles of walls,” he added.

      “But we have the capacity to assist and finance member states for the broader ecosystem of border management at the European Union external border,” said Schinas, referring to setting up command centers and deploying equipment such as thermal cameras. “This is how we will do it. If there is one lesson that this situation has taught us [it] is that migration is a common problem. It cannot be delegated to our member states.”

      Eastern member states have accused authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko of flying thousands of people into Belarus and then sending them on hazardous journeys into EU territory. Polish lawmakers approved €350 million in spending last week to build a wall along the country’s border with Belarus.

      https://www.politico.eu/article/eus-job-is-not-to-build-external-border-barriers-says-commission-vice-presi

    • Poland Begins Constructing Border Walls To Deter Asylum-Seeking Refugees

      Poland has begun the construction of a new border wall, estimated to cost $400 million and likely to be completed by June 2022. The wall will stand 5.5 meters high (six yards) and will have a final length of 186 km (115 miles).

      “Our intention is for the damage to be as small as possible,” border guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska assured Poland’s PAP news agency on January 25th. “Tree felling will be limited to the minimum required. The wall itself will be built along the border road.”

      While the Polish border forces are taking extra precautions not to disrupt the nature surrounding the border, there have been concerns about the human rights of asylum-seeking refugees. Over the past decade, there has been a rise in Middle Eastern and African refugees entering European Union countries, primarily through Eastern European territories. Standards set by the United Nations state that it is not illegal to seek refugee status in another country if an individual is in danger within their home country; however, Poland has sent numerous troops to its borders to deter asylum seekers trying to enter the nation on foot from Belarus. Poland has accused Belarus of encouraging asylum seekers to use the state as a passage into E.U. countries that may be a more favorable residency. The Belarusian government has denied these accusations, stating that Poland’s current attempts to restrict the number of refugees allowed in its country are inhumane and a human rights issue. Poland has since claimed that the “easy journey” allowed by Belarus’s government, and potentially supported by its ally Russia, is a non-militant attack against not only Poland, but the rest of the E.U.

      As the two countries continue in their conflict, the asylum seekers – individuals from around the world in need of safety and shelter – are being caught in the crossfire.

      Over the past months, Poland has increased border security, built a razor-wire fence along a large majority of the border, closed off border territories from the media and advocacy groups, and approved a new law allowing the border guard to force asylum seekers back into Belarus. Due to the recent changes, the number of refugees entering Poland has decreased, but this does not mean that the number of asylum seekers in need of aid from E.U. countries has decreased. Numerous groups still try to cross the treacherous border; the Polish border guard estimates that there are seventeen crossings just in the span of 24 hours. Al Jazeera reported on the 25th that Polish border security caught a group of fourteen asylum seekers, the majority of them fleeing Middle Eastern countries, cutting through a portion of the wire fence. These individuals, like many asylum seekers discovered along the border, have been “detained” until the Polish government decides whether to grant them refugee status or force them to return to Belarus.

      While Poland’s frustration with the uneven distribution of asylum seekers entering their country compared to others within the E.U. is understandable, its poor treatment of those in need of aid and protection is unacceptable. Rather than raising arms and security, Poland and the European Union must explore options of refugee resettlement that appease Polish desires for an equal dispersal of refugees throughout Europe without turning away people who need real government assistance. No matter its attitude towards Belarus, Poland must not turn its punishment towards those in need of refuge.

      https://theowp.org/poland-begins-constructing-border-walls-to-deter-asylum-seeking-refugees

    • "The Iron Forest" - building the walls to scar the nature

      If I could bring one thing from my hometown, it would be the fresh air of the conifers from “my” forest. This is the statement my friends have heard me say many times, in particular when I feel nostalgic about my hometown.

      Augustów, where I am from, lies in the midst of Augustów Primeval Forest, in the North-East of Poland — a region referred to as the “green lungs” of Poland. It is an enormous virgin forest complex stretching across the border with Lithuania and connecting with other forests in the region.

      When I was 10, I went on a school trip to a neighbouring Bialowieza forest — a UNESCO heritage site with its largest European bison population. I still remember the tranquillity and magnificence of its landscape including stoic bison. I never would have thought that some years later, the serenity of this place will face being destroyed by the wall built on the Polish and Belarusian border, following the recent events of the refugee crisis.

      Today, I am a mental health scientist with a background in Psychology and Psychological Medicine. I am also a Pole from the North-East of Poland. Embracing both identities, in this blog, I would like to talk about “building walls” and what it means from a psychological perspective.
      Building Walls and Social Identity

      Following the humanitarian crisis which recently took place on the border between Belarus and Poland, we are now witnessing Poland building a wall which would prevent asylum seekers from Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan and Afghanistan, to cross the border.

      The concept of building a wall to separate nations isn’t new. I am sure you have heard about the Berlin wall separating East and West Germany, the Israeli West Bank Barrier between Israel and Palestine, or more recently the wall between Mexico and the US. In fact, according to Elisabeth Vallet, a professor at the University of Quebec-Montreal, since World War II the number of border walls jumped from 7 to at least 70! So, how can we explain this need to separate?

      In her article for the New Yorker on “Do walls change how we think”, Jessica Wapner talks about the three main purposes of the walls which are “establishing peace, preventing smuggling, and terrorism”. It is based on the premises of keeping “the others” away, the others that are threatening to “us”, our safety, integrity and identity. These motivations form the basis for the political agenda of nationalism.

      Using the words of the famous psychologist, Elliot Aronson, humans are social animals, and we all have the need to belong to a group. This has been well described by the Social Identity Theory which claims that positive evaluation of the group we belong to helps us to maintain positive self-image and self-esteem. Negative evaluation of the “the other,” or the outgroup, further reaffirms the positive image of your own group — the intergroup bias. As such, strong social identity helps us feel safe and secure psychologically, which is handy in difficult times such as perceived threat posed by another nation or any other crisis. However, it often creates a “psychological illusion” as in attempt to seek that comfort, we distort the reality placing ourselves and our group in a more favourable light. This, in turn, only worsens the crisis, as described by Vamik Volkan, a psychiatrist and the president of the International Society of Political Psychology, in the article by Jessica Wapner.

      The disillusionment of walls

      In reality, history shows consistently that building walls have only, and many, negative consequences. The positive ones, well, are an illusion: based on the false sense of psychological protection.

      In 1973, a German psychiatrist #Dietfried_Müller-Hegemann, published a book, “#Wall_disease”, in which he talked about the surge of mental illness in people living “in the shadow” of the wall. Those who lived in the proximity of the Berlin wall showed higher rates of paranoia, psychosis, depression, alcoholism and other mental health difficulties. And the psychological consequences of the Iron Curtain lingered long after the actual wall was gone: in 2005, a group of scientists were interested in the mental representation of the distances between the cities in Germany among the German population. They demonstrated systematic overestimations of distances between German cities that were situated across the former Iron Curtain, compared with the estimated difference between cities all within the East or the West Germany. For example, people overestimated the distance between Dusseldorf and Magdeburg, but not between Dusseldorf and Hannover, or between Magdeburg and Leipzig.

      What was even more interesting is that this discrepancy was stronger in those who had a negative attitude towards the reintegration! These findings show that even when the physical separation is no longer present, the psychological distance persists.

      Building walls is a perfect strategy to prevent dialogue and cooperation and to turn the blind eye to what is happening on the other side — if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

      It embodies two different ideologies that could not find the way to compromise and resorted to “sweeping the problem under the carpet”. From a psychoanalytical point of view, it refers to denial — a defence mechanism individuals experience and apply when struggling to cope with the demands of reality. It is important and comes to the rescue when we truly struggle, but, inevitably, it needs to be addressed for recovery to be possible. Perhaps this analogy applies to societies too.

      It goes without saying that the atmosphere created by putting the walls up is that of fear of “the other” and hostility. Jessica Wapner describes it very well in her article for the New Yorker, as she talks about the dystopian atmosphere of the looming surveillance and the mental illness that goes with it.

      And lastly, I wouldn’t want to miss a very important point related to the wall of interest in this blog — the Poland-Belarus wall. In this particular case, we will not only deal with the partition between people, but also between animals and within the ecosystem of the forest, which is likely to have a devastating effect on the environment and the local society.

      Bringing this blog to conclusion, I hope that we can take a step back and reflect on what history and psychology tell us about the needs and motivations to “build walls”, both physically and metaphorically, and the disillusionment and devastating consequences it might have: for people, for society, and for nature.

      https://www.inspirethemind.org/blog/the-iron-forest-building-the-walls-to-scar-the-nature
      #santé_mentale

    • Poland’s border wall to cut through Europe’s last old-growth forest

      Work has begun on a 116-mile long fence on the Polish-Belarusian border. Scientists call it an environmental “disaster.”

      The border between Poland and Belarus is a land of forests, rolling hills, river valleys, and wetlands. But this once peaceful countryside has become a militarized zone. Prompted by concerns about an influx of primarily Middle Eastern migrants from Belarus, the Polish government has begun construction on a massive wall across its eastern border.

      Human rights organizations and conservation groups have decried the move. The wall will be up to 18 feet tall (5.5 meters) and stretch for 116 miles (186 kilometers) along Poland’s eastern border, according to the Polish Border Guard, despite laws in place that the barrier seems to violate. It’s slated to plow through fragile ecosystems, including Białowieża Forest, the continent’s last lowland old-growth woodland.

      If completed within the next few months as planned, the wall would block migration routes for many animal species, such as wolves, lynx, red deer, recovering populations of brown bears, and the largest remaining population of European bison, says Katarzyna Nowak, a researcher at the Białowieża Geobotanical Station, part of the University of Warsaw. This could have wide-ranging impacts, since the Polish-Belarus border is one of the most important corridors for wildlife movement between Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and animal species depend on connected populations to stay genetically healthy.

      Border fences are rising around the world, the U.S.-Mexico wall being one of the most infamous. A tragic irony of such walls is that while they do reliably stop the movement of wildlife, they do not entirely prevent human migration; they generally only delay or reroute it. And they don’t address its root causes. Migrants often find ways to breach walls, by going over, under, or through them.

      Nevertheless, time after time, the specter of migrants crossing borders has caused governments to ignore laws meant to protect the environment, says John Linnell, a biologist with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

      Polish border wall construction will entail heavy traffic, noise, and light in pristine borderland forests, and the work could also include logging and road building.

      “In my opinion, this is a disaster,” says Bogdan Jaroszewicz, director of the Białowieża Geobotanical Station.
      Fomenting a crisis

      The humanitarian crisis at the border began in summer 2021, as thousands of migrants began entering Belarus, often with promises by the Belarusian government of assistance in reaching other locations within Europe. But upon arrival in Belarus, many were not granted legal entry, and thousands have tried to cross into Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Migrants have often been intercepted by Polish authorities and forced back to Belarus. At least a dozen migrants have died of hypothermia, malnourishment, or other causes.

      Conflict between Belarus and the EU flared when Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in the August 2020 presidential election, despite documented claims the election results were falsified. Mass protests and crackdowns followed, along with several rounds of EU sanctions. Poland and other governments have accused Belarus of fomenting the current border crisis as a sort of punishment for the sanctions.

      In response, the Polish government declared a state of emergency on the second of September, which remains in place. Many Polish border towns near the Belarusian border are only open to citizens and travel is severely restricted; tourists, aid workers, journalists, and anybody who doesn’t live or permanently work in the area cannot generally visit or even move through.

      That has made life difficult for the diverse array of people who live in this multi-ethnic, historic border region. Hotels and inns have gone out of business. Researchers trying to do work in the forest have been approached by soldiers at gunpoint demanding to know what they are doing there, says Michał Żmihorski, an ecologist who directs the Mammal Research Institute, part of the Polish Academy of Sciences, based in Białowieża.

      The Polish government has already built a razor-wire fence, about seven feet tall, along the border through the Białowieża Forest and much of the surrounding border areas. Reports suggest this fence has already entrapped and killed animals, including bison and moose. The new wall will start at the north edge of the Polish-Belarusian border, abutting Lithuania, and stretch south to the Bug River, the banks of which are already lined with a razor-wire fence.

      “I assume that it already has had a negative impact on many animals,” Żmihorski says. Further wall construction would “more or less cut the forest in half.”

      Some scientists are circulating an open letter to the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, to try to halt the wall’s construction.

      Primeval forest

      Much of the Białowieża Forest has been protected since the 1400s, and the area contains the last large expanse of virgin lowland forest, of the kind that once covered Europe from the Ural Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. “It’s the crown jewel of Europe,” Nowak says.

      Oaks, ash, and linden trees, hundreds of years old, tower over a dense, unmanaged understory—where trees fall and rot undisturbed, explains Eunice Blavascunas, an anthropologist who wrote a book about the region. The forest is home to a wide diversity of fungi and invertebrates—over 16,000 species, between the two groups—in addition to 59 mammalian and 250 bird species.

      In the Polish side of the forest, around 700 European bison can be found grazing in low valleys and forest clearings, a precious population that took a century to replenish. There are also wolves, otters, red deer, and an imperiled population of about a dozen lynx. Normally these animals move back and forth across the border with Belarus. In 2021, a brown bear was reported to have crossed over from Belarus.

      Reports suggest the Polish government may enlarge a clearing through Białowieża and other borderland forests. Besides the impact on wildlife, researchers worry about noise and light pollution, and that the construction could introduce invasive plants that would wreak havoc, fast-growing weedy species such as goldenrod and golden root, Jaroszewicz adds.

      But it’s not just about this forest. Blocking the eastern border of Poland will isolate European wildlife populations from the wider expanse of Eurasia. It’s a problem of continental scale, Linnell says, “a critical issue that this [border] is going to be walled off.”

      Walls cause severe habitat fragmentation; prevent animals from finding mates, food, and water; and in the long term can lead to regional extinctions by severing gene flow, Linnell says.
      Against the law?

      The wall construction runs afoul of several national environment laws, but also important binding international agreements, legal experts say.

      For one, Białowieża Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a rare designation that draws international prestige and tourists. As part of the deal, Poland is supposed to abide by the strictures of the World Heritage Convention—which oblige the country to protect species such as bison—and to avoid harming the environment of the Belarusian part of the forest, explains Arie Trouwborst, an expert in environmental law at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

      It’s conceivable that construction of the wall could lead UNESCO to revoke the forest’s World Heritage status, which would be a huge blow to the country and the region, Trouwborst adds; A natural heritage site has only been removed from the UNESCO list once in history.

      The Polish part of the Białowieża site has also been designated a Natura 2000 protected area under the European Union Habitats Directive, as are a handful of other borderlands forests. The new wall would “seem to sit uneasily with Poland’s obligations under EU law in this regard, which require it to avoid and remedy activities and projects that may be harmful for the species for which the site was designated, [including] European bison, lynx, and wolf,” Trouwborst says.

      EU law is binding, and it can be enforced within Poland or by the EU Court of Justice, which can impose heavy fines, Trouwborst says. A reasonable interpretation of the law suggests that the Polish government, by building a razor-wire fence through Białowieża Forest, is already in breach of the Habitats Directive. The law dictates that potentially harmful projects may in principle only be authorized “where no reasonable scientific doubt remains as to the absence” of adverse impacts. And further wall construction carries obvious environmental harms.

      “One way or another, building a fence or wall along the border without making it permeable to protected wildlife would seem to be against the law,” Trouwborst says.

      The EU Court of Justice has already shown itself capable of ruling on activity in the Białowieża Forest. The Polish government logged parts of the forest from 2016 to 2018 to remove trees infected by bark beetles. But in April 2018, the Court of Justice ruled that the logging was illegal, and the government stopped cutting down trees. Nevertheless, the Polish government this year resumed logging in the outskirts of Białowieża.
      Walls going up

      Poland is not alone. The global trend toward more border walls threatens to undo decades of progress in environmental protections, especially in transboundary, cooperative approaches to conservation, Linnell says.

      Some of the more prominent areas where walls have recently been constructed include the U.S.-Mexico border; the Slovenian-Croatian boundary; and the entire circumference of Mongolia. Much of the European Union is now fenced off as well, Linnell adds. (Learn more: An endangered wolf went in search of a mate. The border wall blocked him.)

      The large uptick in wall-building seems to have taken many conservationists by surprise, after nearly a century of progress in building connections and cooperation between countries—something especially important in Europe, for example, where no country is big enough to achieve all its conservation goals by itself, since populations of plants and animals stretch across borders.

      This rush to build such walls represents “an unprecedented degree of habitat fragmentation,” Linnell says. It also reveals “a breakdown in international cooperation. You see this return to nationalism, countries trying to fix problems internally... without thought to the environmental cost,” he adds.

      “It shows that external forces can threaten to undo the progress we’ve made in conservation... and how fragile our gains have been.”

      https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/polish-belarusian-border-wall-environmental-disaster
      #nature #faune #forêt #flore

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      voir aussi ce fil de discussion sur les effets sur la faune de la construction de barrières frontalières :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/515608