Climate group: 14 activists banned by conference host Poland
KATOWICE, Poland (AP) - An environmental group said Monday that at least 14 foreigners have been detained or deported by Poland's Border Guard since last week's start of the United Nations climate conference in the south of the country.
Svitlana Romanko of the group 350.org said the individuals were from Germany and from countries that are not in the European Union's Schengen visa-free travel zone - Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.
Romanko accused Polish authorities of "using repressive powers" and said the U.N. should pressure Warsaw to ensure civil society activists can take part in the meeting. Some of them were banned from entering Poland on Dec. 8, when around 3,000 protesters marched against climate change through Katowice, the conference's host city.
A top U.N. climate official called for efforts to achieve a constructive and inclusive atmosphere at the conference.
Patricia Espinoza, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said over the weekend that the matter was being worked out and expressed hope that it would be solved.
The Border Guard press office said the main reasons for denying entry to the activists was because they lacked a valid visa, documents describing the aim of their visit or proving their financial means.
In an email to The Associated Press, the press office said that between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7, 1,211 foreigners had been denied entry into Poland for various reasons. Earlier, spokeswoman Agnieszka Golias said that 161 people were banned from entering Poland on Dec. 8.
The Border Guard argued that the temporary measures allowing denials of entry were introduced due to concerns for the security of the climate talks and were in line with European Union regulations.
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