A 4-year-old Iraqi immigrant girl faces the risk of dying alone

Fence on the border between Poland and Belarus.

Humanitarian organizations said that a four-year-old Iraqi migrant girl went missing in a snowy forest after being separated from her parents, in a quarrel with Polish border guards, while these organizations are pressing to enter the border area to search for her.

Poland has closed the area along its border with Belarus to foreigners as it seeks to turn away thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa who have traveled to Belarus hoping to cross into European Union territory.

The European Union accuses Belarus of bringing them by air to its territory and then pushing them into Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in response to the sanctions imposed by the bloc on Minsk for human rights violations.

Humanitarian organizations reported today, Wednesday, that the Iraqi girl, Eileen, was separated from her parents after they crossed the border into Poland on Monday night.

The organizations explained that the parents handed their daughter over to another immigrant when the Polish border guards approached them and pushed them back to Belarus, and that the girl was last seen with that immigrant near the Polish border village of Nowy Dor.

"This child is either already dead or will die very soon. The most exciting thing is that if she was a Polish child, the whole country would be looking for her," said Kasia Kosiceza of the charity Families Without Borders.

She added: "The search must start as soon as possible, the chances are dwindling, the night will come again and the temperatures will start to drop. So if we want to save her, it must happen immediately."

Anna Michalska, a spokeswoman for the Polish border guards, said that security personnel began searching for the girl as soon as they received information that she had gone missing around midday on Tuesday.

She added: "Additional patrols were directed to the area where the girl is supposed to be. We also searched from the air using helicopters, but we did not find anyone."

Activists say the authorities' efforts are insufficient.

International organizations accuse Poland's right-wing government of violating humanitarian standards by forcing some migrants back to Belarus, a charge Warsaw denies.

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