The updated AIDA country report on Poland maps the latest developments in the asylum procedure, reception conditions, detention and status of persons obtaining international protection in Poland.

Asylum procedure: Access to the territory and to the asylum procedure remains problematic at the Terespol border crossing border point between Poland and Belarus. Notwithstanding several interim measures imposed by the ECHR on the Polish authorities prohibiting removal where the applicant expressed an intention to apply for asylum, this practice continued in 2018 and the Commissioner for Human Rights as well as NGOs continued to challenge this practice. A May 2018 judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court, dismissing Border Guard practice whereby only a memo instead of a full protocol is issued concerning interviews to establish the purpose of stay, is ignored by the Polish authorities on the basis that this is not required under the Schengen Borders Code.

In 2018 asylum seekers continued to face obstacles in accessing state funded free legal aid, while lack of funding for NGOs further undermined their capacity to provide legal assistance.

Detention of asylum seekers: The situation of asylum seekers in detention continues to be dire. The timely identification of victims of violence remains the main problematic issue in Polish guarded centres. The algorithm used by the Border Guard to identify victims of violence has been criticised by the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights as ineffective and incompatible with the Istanbul Protocol as it does not guarantee immediate release of victims of violence from the guarded centre. Access to mental health care continued to be flawed in some detention centres due to the lack of sufficient psychologists and lack of awareness of detention centre staff on how to ensure the presence of interpreters during consultations.

Content of international protection: In 2018 mainly beneficiaries of international protection from the Russian Federation continued to be deprived of international protection status in Poland in 2018, although cessation and withdrawal are not systematically applied to them. The withdrawal of protection status appears to be applied mainly in cases where Russian citizens visited their country of origin after obtaining such status and therefore on the basis that they have voluntarily accepted the protection of the Russian Federation. Subsidiary protection was withdrawn from Russian citizens predominantly on the basis that the reasons for granting international protection no longer existed or have changed in such a way that protection is no longer required. However, in 2018 some Russian citizens were also deprived subsidiary protection because they were considered a security threat or there were serious grounds to believe that they committed a crime.

Finally, additional conditions have been introduced for international protection beneficiaries for obtaining long-term residence in Poland, as at least B1 level knowledge of Polish is required since 12 February 2018.

*This information was first published by AIDA managed by ECRE

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.