MONROVIA – The Polish Government says it remains firm in its condemnation of the Russian attack on Ukraine and will continue to stand with Ukraine in these times of crisis.
Poland, a next-door neighbor of Ukraine, immediately opened its borders and extended a helping hand to over two million people fleeing that country from the Russian invasion.
In a statement issued over the weekend by the Polish Embassy in Abuja, the Polish Government who described the ongoing Russian aggression as unprecedented and unprovoked, adding that the military invasion is unjustified, said although most refugees are Ukrainians, thousands of third-country nationals were welcomed and provided shelter in Poland.
“Polish authorities let in everyone irrespective of nationality, race, or creed. Many of those who crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border were African nationals, including Liberians,” the statement said.
The statement said “the government of Poland went to great lengths and undertook every effort to ensure all refugees received meaningful, effective, and comprehensive assistance. Meals were distributed at border crossings, the transport was provided to receptive points where further assistance and help were provided by local government authorities. Moreover, country legislation was amended to cater to the needs of refugees and facilitate the provision of assistance. All refugees are guaranteed free of charge medical care. Poland accepts and helps terminally ill refugees, the physically challenged and orphans. Ukrainian children are given the opportunity to resume learning in Polish primary and secondary schools. All Ukrainian citizens can apply for a Polish national identity number which entitles the holder to benefit from social welfare and medical care and many other privileges on a par with Polish citizens.”
The statement explained that not only did immense assistance come from the Polish government, but also ordinary Polish citizens contributed in a tremendous bottom-up response. Individuals, families, neighborhoods and local communities started helping on their own.”
“It is worth mentioning that Polish citizens created special assistance platforms dedicated exclusively to assisting African nationals. The support offered includes, for instance, finding accommodation, translation services and free of charge legal assistance for those wishing to remain in Poland.” It added.
Apart from the humanitarian assistance Poland continues to solidarity with Ukraine, becoming a humanitarian hub coordinating humanitarian assistance flowing via Poland to besieged Ukraine from over 30 countries worldwide.
“The Polish government has launched a robust and comprehensive system for provision of humanitarian assistance not only in Poland but also in Ukraine. Humanitarian convoys leave Poland for Ukraine on a daily basis transporting medicine, food, clothing and other necessities financed by the Polish government, NGOs and individuals. Poland has contributed 500 000 CHF for humanitarian actions conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross. All assistance sent to Ukraine is coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the Office of the Prime Minister.”
Poland and Liberia
“Although Poland has no strong historical and political ties with Liberia, as it never colonized any African nation, on a bilateral level, it has maintained friendly diplomatic relations with Liberia for many decades. Last year, the Polish government supported Liberia through its development cooperation program “Polish Aid”.
The project was focused on improving vocational education in Liberia. The Embassy of Poland equipped a computer lab at the Don Bosco Technical School in the capital of Liberia. The school provides education for students at all levels (grades 1 to 12). The uniqueness of the school compared to other institutions lies in the fact that all its students, in addition to learning the subjects provided in the curriculum, also benefit from classes that include learning technical skills, such as tailoring, technical drawing, embroidery, computer skills, etc. The school is attended by children and young people with different financial and social status, which promotes the principle of equal opportunities. Currently, 570 students study there. The project activities included the purchase of desktops with monitors, adapted to conduct training and use of professional programs for calculations and technical drawings. Computer desks and UPS units were also purchased to ensure continuity of work.
In recent years Poland and Liberia have witnessed a surge of mutual interest with a high level visit and are looking forward to many more in the near future. In September 2021, the Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor visited Poland to take part in the 30th Economic Forum in Karpacz. The Forum in Karpacz is the largest economic conference in Central and Eastern Europe, the aim of which is to promote the debate on the development of political and economic cooperation between EU Member States and non-EU countries. The Vice President took part in two discussion panels: “Challenges of the post-COVID-19 era” and “Time for women to lead-towards a world led by women”. On the sidelines of the Forum, Vice President Howard-Taylor held talks with the Chairman of the Economic Forum, Mr. Zygmunt Berdychowski, concerning cooperation with the Government of Liberia in the development of the private sector, in particular in the fields of energy, telecommunications, production and agriculture. Her Excellency J. Howard-Taylor stressed that Liberia is open to economic cooperation and that the government expects friendlier relations between Liberia and the countries of the European Union in terms of political and economic cooperation.