Lukashenko’s government fears that the undocumented will barricade themselves in the reception center. The authorities maintain that the illegals want nothing more than to reach the EU
Given the refusal of the German Government to take charge of the 2,000 migrants who are currently in a reception center near the border with Poland, next to the city of Grodno, and the effectiveness of the Polish forces in preventing them from crossing the border , the Belarusian authorities are beginning to see the situation as a problem. They fear that the illegals will barricade themselves indefinitely in the logistics warehouse that was set up last week to save them from the cold and the lack of food.
Alexéi Begún, head of the Migration Department of the Ministry of the Interior of Belarus, acknowledged this Tuesday in statements to the press that “the people who are currently on the border between Belarus and Poland – the 2,000 confined in the reception center – have not applied to the competent authorities for refugee status or subsidiary protection ». In his words, “what these migrants want insistently is to move to the countries of the European Union (…) many of them have relatives in Germany.”
“At present, representatives of UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – are in Belarus holding meetings with government agencies to develop joint measures to resolve this migration crisis,” said Begún. In his opinion, it is a question of “returning to their places of origin those who request it or, for those who do not wish to return, finding a third country that wants to host them.”
The Belarusian official stressed that the migrants do not want to stay in Belarus and, in particular, the 2,000 from the border that President Alexander Lukashenko asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week to admit them through a “humanitarian corridor”. leave as soon as possible for Germany. Lukashenko proposed before speaking with Merkel to organize several flights from Minsk to Munich.
For now, the response from Berlin has been negative. Hence the fear of the Belarusian leadership that the migrants’ stay in the country will take forever and that their possible deportation will lead to disorder and forced expulsions. The spokeswoman for the Belarusian Presidency, Natalia Eismont, said last Thursday that there are about 7,000 migrants in the country from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, of which 5,000 will be repatriated to their countries of origin.
The first plane back to Iraq left Minsk on Thursday with some 400 migrants and a second flight is scheduled before the end of the month. Begún reported on Tuesday that 118 migrants left Belarus on Monday and a similar group of people will do so shortly.
For his part, the spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, has condemned that “the Lukashenko regime inhumanely encourages irregular migration across its borders.” Price has advanced that the new round of sanctions that is being prepared aims to make the Belarusian authorities “immediately put an end to their campaign to orchestrate migratory flows through coercion.” In his words, it is a question of holding Lukashenko “accountable for these hybrid actions, but also for his attacks on Human Rights, international norms and democracy or what remains of it within Belarus.”
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