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Amnesty: Reception of large numbers of refugees in Lithuania

Migrants in a newly built refugee camp in Lithuania, near the border with Belarus, in August 2021. Photo gallery.
Migrants in a newly built refugee camp in Lithuania, near the border with Belarus, in August 2021. Photo gallery.

Refugees and migrants arriving in Lithuania are subject to detention, ill-treatment and forced to live in inhumane conditions.

Amnesty International writes in a new report.

According to the report, thousands of people who arrived in Lithuania have been arbitrarily placed in facilities reminiscent of army camps, where they are said to live in miserable conditions. Some of them were also said to have been beaten in a torture-like manner.

“This treatment is in stark contrast to the kindness with which people who have fled Ukraine were received in the European Union,” the human rights organization wrote.

The grim, painted portrait is based on interviews with dozens of people from Cameroon, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria, among others. Many of them claim to have been beaten, humiliated and racially abused.

– In Iraq, we heard about human rights and women in Europe. But there are no rights here, says a Yazidi woman who was detained in a facility near the Belarusian border with Amnesty International.

In July last year, Lithuania introduced new legislation after the number of people crossing the border from Belarus increased sharply. Under the new law, anyone entering Lithuania without going through the usual procedures should be automatically detained.

According to Amnesty International, in practice this has led to the prolonged detention of many people. A large number of them have not yet been tried in their asylum cases, while thousands of others have been forced to return to Belarus, where they have not had the opportunity to seek protection.

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