Migrants wait in an area between the borders of Belarus and Poland near the village of Usnarz Gorny, Poland, on Friday Aug. 20, 2021. AP
The European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday told Poland and Latvia to provide aid and care for dozens of Afghan and Iraqi migrants stranded on the border with Belarus.
The group has been stuck on the EU's eastern frontier for two weeks with Polish forces preventing them from entering to make asylum claims.
Thousands of migrants -- mostly from the Middle East -- have crossed the border from Belarus into the eastern EU states of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in recent months.
Brussels believes the regime in Minsk has deliberately engineered the influx in retaliation against EU sanctions -- an accusation that Belarus denies.
Poland has called it a "hybrid attack" on the bloc and has ruled out allowing them entry, saying they are still in Belarus and it should intervene.
The Strasbourg-based court, whose judgements are binding, demanded that Polish and Latvian authorities "supply all those who ask with food, water, clothing, adequate medical care and if possible temporary shelter" until September 15.
The judges specified that neither country was being told to let the group of migrants in.
Forty-one Iraqi Kurds and 32 Afghans sought the court's help to enter either Latvia or Poland and ask for international protection, a court statement said.
The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner Dunja Mijatovic on Wednesday joined calls for Poland to take in the migrants, a day after the UN refugee agency made a similar plea.
Around 30 migrants have set up a makeshift encampment just inside Belarus near the Polish village of Usnarz Gorny between lines of Belarusian and Polish military personnel.
The Polish government has announced plans to build a high barbed wire fence along a third of its border to prevent further arrivals.