Baghdad to investigate Belarusian claims Polish soldiers tortured, beat Iraqi migrants
Baghdad will investigate claims by Minsk that Iraqi migrants were tortured and beaten by Polish soldiers at the Poland-Belarus border, an Iraqi official has told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site.
Iraq's foreign ministry will form a crisis cell for the investigation after a Belarusian committee handed Iraqi officials information on the killings of Iraqi migrants by Polish soldiers on the Poland-Belarus border, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported Wednesday, citing a Baghdad official.
The Belarusian committee found that at least 130 Iraqis were tortured or beaten by Polish border guards, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said.
Iraq's foreign ministry said through spokesperson Ahmed al-Sahhaf that it was "investigating the accuracy" of the reports.
The Poland-Belarus border became a flashpoint last year for thousands of refugees and migrants - mostly from Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Iraqi Kurdistan - trying to cross into the European Union member state.
The EU accused Belarus of luring the migrants to the border as revenge for sanctions against President Alexander Lukashenko's regime. Belarus has denied the claim and criticised the EU for not taking in the migrants.
Though Iraq has repatriated thousands of its citizens, some continue to try to cross the border.
Poland is still pushing refugees back across the border with Belarus, Human Rights Watch said earlier this month, and it is constructing a wall along its border with Belarus to stop refugees and migrants from entering.
On the Belarusian side, people reported violence, inhuman and degrading treatment and other forms of coercion by Belarusian border guards.
Like other European countries, Poland has been accused of double standards in its treatment of refugees from Europe versus elsewhere.
While Poland blocks the flow of Iraqi and other non-European refugees and migrants, it has welcomed millions of Ukrainians that have fled Russia's onslaught on their home country, which began in February.