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Migrant stuck at Poland-Belarus border 'will soon die', says NGO

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By Euronews
A migrant is pictured after crossing the border from Belarus into the village of Usnarz Gorny in Poland.
A migrant is pictured after crossing the border from Belarus into the village of Usnarz Gorny in Poland.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Mateusz Wodziński

A migrant stuck at the border between Poland and Belarus is on the verge of death, an NGO has warned.

Around thirty refugees are trapped in a makeshift camp for two weeks between the two countries amid a political standoff over migration.

Poland has refused to let the group enter their territory, while Belarusian border guards have also prevented the refugees from returning.

On Wednesday, the refugee support organisation, Salvation Foundation, said that one of the migrants was "on the verge of death".

"A fifty-two-year-old woman is about to die in front of her five children," the NGO tweeted, "Rescue is needed NOW."

According to the organisation, 25 migrants of the group are unwell, including twelve who are "seriously ill"

"They have no water to drink. They have not received anything to eat since yesterday," the NGO added, calling on the Polish government to help.

Warsaw has said that offered to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees at the border, but that Minsk refused to accept their diplomatic note.

Poland has insisted that the migrants -- most of whom are originally from Afghanistan -- are on the Belarusian side of the border.

The EU member state has faced criticism from opposition supporters for not allowing the migrants to apply for asylum.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, have also called on Poland to take in the small group of migrants.

"The response of a member state of the Council of Europe cannot be to reject these people, to deny them access to asylum procedures, or to keep them locked up in a humanitarian emergency situation", said Commissioner Dunja Mijatović.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last week that he sympathised with the migrants, but insisted they were "a tool in the hands of Lukashenko" and vowed that Poland would not succumb to "this type of blackmail".

EU countries have accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of deliberately facilitating the illegal migration of migrants, in revenge against sanctions on Minsk.

On Monday, Poland announced plans to build a new fence along its border with Belarus and also deploy more soldiers.

Warsaw said last week that 2,100 migrants had tried to enter Poland illegally from Belarus so far in August, with around 800 placed in state-run detention centres.