Chechen refugees and the visa regime in Poland
14.Dec.03 - Currently, only about 6% of all refugees from Chechnya have received some
status. The government is mostly inclined now to rule that there is no
threat in Chechnya for these people. In reality, the Russians have a policy
of killing Chechen men, more or less indiscriminately. We saw recent video
footage from Chechnya which shows widescale evidence of torture, etc. and,
even though some photos were published in Polish Newsweek (other editions
refused to run them), and even though there is enough documentation that
Chechnya is a dangerous war zone, the government is becoming less and less
open towards helping people from this area.
Now with the new visa regime, some Chechens trying to enter Poland without a visa have been held in arrest for a couple of months, and may even be, in some circumstances, held for up to one year. Chechens who want to come to Poland are told to go to Moscow for get visas. Now the process for getting a Polish visa takes 1-3 months in Moscow, so this is outrageous. There is no reason that the government can't issue visas on the border or even waive them for Chechens, except that this is all part of the border politics.