Lithuania extends state of emergency on Belarusian border



The state of emergency on the border with Belarus and the migrant camps there has been extended until January 15; the Lithuanian parliament decided this week.

Such a measure came into effect in November when hundreds of migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan and the African continent, via Belarus, set up their camps on the border with the latter.

Under state of emergency, Lithuanian governments allow border guards to use “mental coercion” and “proportional physical violence” to prevent them from entering the Baltic country, reports .

In addition, border guards on the border with Belarus are authorized to prohibit travel within ten kilometers and may confiscate mobile phones from migrants and prohibit private gatherings through the camps.

Strict border control would be effective as Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte earlier revealed that detections of illegal crossings to Lithuania have declined.

However, last week, the Lithuanian Interior Ministry recalled that around 10,000 illegal migrants are still in Belarus, implying that until they return to their country of origin, the risk of increasing Migration rate in Lithuania is evident.

At the same meeting, the Lithuanian parliament revoked its proposal to declare a state of emergency on the border with Poland due to lawmakers calling the measure excessive.

At present, the eastern border is facing a migration crisis, as thousands of third country nationals have come to Belarus on their way to the western European region. Moreover, such crises have been exacerbated by the conflict in Afghanistan, which was captured by Taliban forces earlier this year, as the majority of migrants flee death-threatening situations in their countries of origin.

Frontex, the EU’s border agency, previously revealed that the migration crisis at the eastern border makes this route the most affected by irregular migration, as a 1,444% increase has been seen in the region since 2020.

In addition, the Polish government intends to build a wall to prevent migrants from entering the country. Although many detections are evident in Poland and Lithuania, most migrants are heading to other countries, such as Germany and France.

Previously, the European Commission allocated a fund of 29.6 million euros to Lithuania to deal with migration management.

“The Commission_EU is now granting 36.7 million euros in emergency aid to Lithuania to deal with the situation on the Belarusian border, where people continue to be used as political instruments. The EU is against such actions ”, said the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas.

From January to October 2021, Lithuania admitted more than 4,124 cases of irregular migration, which notes a clear increase from the 74 migrants who entered the country in 2020.

>> COVID-19: everything you need to know before Traveling in Lithuania this winter

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