A delegation from the Committee on Foreign Affairs visited Lithuania to discuss the migration situation.
Migrant Situation The Lithuanian-Belarusian border has calmed down. At the same time, however, a humanitarian crisis near the border may threaten with the onset of winter, according to representatives of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, who visited Lithuania on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The number of entrants has now calmed down. In the past, about 300 people came overnight, now there were 50-100 people, ”says the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mika Niikko (ps) with reference to information received from local authorities.
According to Niiko, the situation near the border is still difficult.
According to estimates from the visit, there may be thousands of migrants in the forests and villages near the border, especially on the Belarusian side, whose situation is unclear, he says.
“There is a very likely humanitarian crisis unfolding there if Belarus does not take care of the people who have come. But no signs suggest that [Valko-Venäjän presidentti] Lukashenko such assistance would be offered to them. “
The MP also attended the visit Kimmo Kiljunen (sd) is concerned about the humanitarian situation in the border region, provided that the information received in Lithuania is correct.
“A significant proportion of these people are in various migratory situations, even in the woods. I do not know what action the Belarussian regime has taken. However, I assume that the capacity to deal with such a humanitarian crisis is even worse there than in Lithuania, ”he says.
“It has a very big crisis situation.”
Niikko, Kiljunen and Member of Parliament Katri Kulmuni During their two-day visit, (Central) met with, inter alia, members of the Lithuanian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and the Foreign Minister. Gabrielius Landsbergisin as well as visited the Padvarionys border station.
Situation in an EU country The Lithuanian-Belarusian border peaked earlier in the summer. Belarus began to allow migrants across the border after the EU adopted additional sanctions against Belarus.
Lithuania has accused Belarus of sending migrants to Lithuania and using them as a political weapon to put pressure on the EU. There has been a similar movement as well Latvian and At the Polish border.
EU interior ministers condemned earlier in August Actions in Belarus.
In the summer, the EU’s border authority, Frontex, sent aid to Lithuania and Latvia to calm the border situation. Finnish border guards are also participating in the operation.
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Niikko believes that the situation has now calmed down in part because flights for migrants arriving from Iraq to Minsk in Belarus have been suspended. The EU has been active in this. For his part, he believes that the word may also have been rushed that pursuing Lithuania is not worthwhile.
According to data from the Lithuanian Ministry of the Interior on 12 August, more than 4,100 migrants had entered the country this year, compared to 74 in 2020. The largest single country of origin was Iraq.
To Lithuania the situation has been difficult as there have been many newcomers in relation to the size of the country. According to MPs, Lithuania still seems to have coped well with the pressure.
“Lithuania will certainly try to arrange minimum conditions. There is barracks and hot food three times a day and basic needs are taken care of. But yes, these people probably know that their standard of living there in the barracks village is much worse than in the country of origin they come from, ”Kulmuni says.
According to Kulmun, the local authorities estimated that about 90 percent of those who entered the country would not meet the criteria for asylum.
Lithuania is sought to prevent new entrants from entering the country, inter alia, by starting the construction of a border fence and according to news agency data also by turning at borders those who are considered to be entering the country illegally.
Among other things The Red Cross has criticized contrary to international agreements.
Niikko says that it is very difficult for him to blame Lithuania for its actions in a situation where a hybrid war is being waged against them.
“The European Union’s common immigration policy should be reformed to take account of the fact that people can be used as a tool for hybrid advocacy. In such situations, Member States should have a direct right to close their borders to those asylum seekers. “
Kiljunen states that for Lithuania the problem at the border has been genuine, and he does not comment on the extent to which the border has been handled correctly.
“But I ask a question at this point. That there is a risk that international agreements will be stepped on or misused. ”
Kiljunen also says that the current international agreements do not recognize the situations that have now found themselves on the Lithuanian border.
“We received a very strong message from Lithuanian politicians that they will at least push hard for the treaty arrangements to be looked at from that angle again.”